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Council Post: 16 Comms Pros Share Soft Skills Possessed By The Most Masterful Communicators

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Council Post: 16 Comms Pros Share Soft Skills Possessed By The Most Masterful Communicators

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As communications pros know, there are as many different ways to communicate a message as there are perspectives of the people who will receive it. Whether you’re writing up a proposal to convince venture capitalists to invest or filming an interview with the CEO of your company, communication is a two-way street—and having the soft skills to persuade others to help achieve your objectives is key in this field.

Below, members of Forbes Communications Council share the critical soft skills that the most masterful expert communicators they know possess. Read on to learn about 16 of the most valuable qualities and skills comms pros can cultivate in themselves, as well as why they should if they hope to become master communicators.

1. Kindness

One word: kindness. After a frustrating call where, admittedly, I was upset with some colleagues, my co-worker reminded me of the importance of always being kind. Too often, we excuse things by saying, “It’s just business,” or we excuse being short with someone as a matter of efficiency. However, consistent kindness creates a more inclusive atmosphere, disarms challenging teammates and invites better collaboration. – Jonathan Bacon, SureCall

2. Making People Feel Comfortable

I vividly remember encountering a prominent billionaire media expert 11 years ago who had an extraordinary knack for making the studio feel comfortable and relaxed before transitioning to a live television broadcast. This exceptional ability left an enduring impression on me and significantly elevated the atmosphere, amplifying the quality and efficacy of the communication taking place. – Marie O’Riordan, EML

3. Finding Clarity In Complexity

The most critical soft skill a master communicator has is the ability to find clarity in complexity. In a rush to communicate, intersections with strategy, team member sentiment or shareholder concerns can be overlooked. A master communicator sifts through copious amounts of information to create a narrative that threads people and perspectives together in a way that most effectively hits the mark. – Camille Weleschuk, ATB Financial

4. Storytelling

Using a story to put information into context is critical to audience understanding and retention. Master communicators take information and surround it with a story that brings the content to life and sets it in context, which helps the audience comprehend the information. The story also allows the audience to see how the material impacts their situation. – Mike Tippets, Hughes

5. Tailoring A Message

One of the skills that I admire is the ability to tailor a message and really connect with the audience members both on an individual level and as a group. This skill is so important to driving the desired behavior or action. – Jyoti Khan, Bricks & Clicks


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6. Mirroring

Mirroring is one of the most effective, unsung soft skills of a great communicator. It does so many things at once. It’s active listening, attunement, validation and demonstrative care all rolled into one. Whether physical (matching cadence, for example) or verbal (repeating back phrases), it puts the listener at ease, establishes a common ground and creates a connection that builds trust. – Ellen Sluder, smrtPhone

7. Smiling

The expert communicator I am thinking of has a golden smile. And when they smile, the entire room lights up. It’s so important because it makes you feel warm and as if you are in a trusted environment. – Jeanniey Walden, Liftoff Enterprises

8. Bringing Subjects To Life

One of the best communicators I know is a great storyteller. He weaves in relevant stories that are compelling, interesting and very relevant to the topic and the audience. Throwing in an appropriate joke helps, but the story is always the most captivating aspect of the talk. It makes the subject come alive and draws the audience into the subject matter in a more tangible way. – Alexi Lambert Leimbach, Xcellimark

9. Trustworthy Leadership

The best communicators are also known as trustworthy leaders and earn the trust of their audience. They can affirmatively answer these questions: When I say something, is it perceived as credible? When I say I’ll do something, do others believe it? Do I have the kind of relationship with others where I’m comfortable being vulnerable? Am I genuinely interested in others, or focused on my agenda? – Rekha Thomas, Seismic

10. Connecting The Mind With The Voice

Expert communicators can connect their mind with their instrument (their voice) to help others feel the story they are telling. Masterful communication is much more than simply the words that are spoken. An expert communicator will share in a way that allows the listener to connect through their tone, cadence and inflection—it’s a skill that only comes through practice. – Kurt Uhlir, eXp World Holdings

11. The Ability To Ground An Audience

The best soft skill I’ve seen is the ability to communicate, “We’ve got this.” This demonstrates a lack of reactiveness, a degree of thoughtfulness and an expectation of competence. For an audience, it’s very grounding and lets others show up as their best selves. – Sarah Falcon, Object Edge

12. Charisma

At the end of the day, a communicator should be able to command attention, and to do that, you need to be charismatic. The people who are able to step into the limelight, have the crowd hang on their every word and drive behavioral change—those are the people we define as “charismatic leaders,” and what is a charismatic leader but a superb communicator? – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap

13. Empathy

Empathy is one of the most important skills for communicators. The ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective is vital for writers to create communications that actually resonate with their target audience. – Roshni Wijayasinha, Prosh Marketing

14. Active Listening

One critical soft skill an expert communicator I know possesses is active listening. This skill is vital, as it shows genuine interest, builds trust and fosters understanding. By hearing others’ viewpoints, you can respond effectively, tailoring your message for better connection and collaboration. Active listening is key to successful communication, bridging gaps and nurturing relationships. – Jonathan Shroyer, Arise Gaming

15. Nonverbal Communication

Someone once gave me this advice: “Nonverbal communication is more than 80% of the work.” It is fundamental that you prepare your speech and gestures—where you look, how you move your hands—in order to deliver a compelling presentation and be perceived as trustworthy. – Santiago Vicaria, Ontop

16. Formulating Discovery Questions

The ability to regularly formulate and ask questions that help a person or team realize what they should do next is the most powerful form of communication I have experienced. When a leader can help someone discover what they should do, they are more inspired, and they take more ownership of the follow-up. – Bob Pearson, The Bliss Group

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