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Warren Buffett Says Building This One Skill Is the Easiest Way Increase Your Worth By At Least 50%
December 11, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

Warren Buffett is like that old E.F. Hutton commercial (and I’m dating myself here)–when he talks, people listen. And they listen because he talks and writes, quite well. Which brings us to his latest gem of advice.

“Invest in yourself. One easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills. If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark, nothing happens. You can have all the brain power in the world but you’ve got to be able to transmit it.”

It’s almost like Buffett consulted me first before answering (which I can assure you he did not). In my over 25 years of corporate experience, without question, the most common trait I saw among those leaders who performed the best and rose the fastest through the ranks was that they had superior communication skills.

Buffett has even said that he doesn’t hang his college or graduate school diplomas on his office walls, but he hangs his certificate from when he completed the Dale Carnegie communication course– because it changed his life. Before overtly working on his communication skills, Buffett said, “I was terrified of public speaking when I was in high school and college. I couldn’t do it. I mean I would throw up and everything.”

So how can you be included in the group of fast-rising, non-vomitous leaders?

In case you’re not ready to sign up for a full-on course, here are two powerful ways you can get started immediately:

Make “clear and concise” your mantra.

When I was doing research for my first book, Make It Matter, a survey of over 1,000 executives revealed the No. 1 problem in communication is a lack of clarity and precision. I offer an acronym to help you cut to the chase and keep your communications SHARP:

  • Start by thinking, not talking. “I think out loud” is the enemy of clear and concise.
  • Hone in on the main idea quickly. Don’t wander, or they’ll wonder what your point is.
  • Add details sparingly. Don’t over-explain. Give just as much context as is necessary.
  • Relate to the audience. Think through who you are talking to and why, and tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Prepare. “Winging it” and clarity are like the snake and the mongoose (mortal enemies).

Be a non-verbal ninja.

So much of our communication is unspoken. It’s critical to be tuned into non-verbal communication–which you can practice. I use this reminder to keep non-verbal cues top of mind and avoid letting poor non-verbal skills FESTER:

  • Facial expressions–watch for them.
  • Eye contact–maintain it (without being creepy).
  • Space–keep the appropriate amount between you and others.
  • Tones–listen carefully for the tone in someone’s voice.
  • Expressive motions–be alert for cues like fist pounding or fingers excitedly wagging.
  • Real frame of mind–as seen in their posture.

So whether your goal is to raise your net worth or just your relatability, make 2019 the year you brought your communication skills to the next level. Maybe eye level. Like the diplomas on my office wall.

Published on: Dec 11, 2018

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