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How to use charm as part of key communication skills for women

Communication skills for women are vital when you think through how to use charm in your networking. But let’s be clear – charm isn’t about sex appeal! 

These types of communication skills for women are about helping the other person get to know you. This can easily happens if you share a bit more of your ‘human side’ than they may expect. Even more importantly, it’s about asking more about the other person – often with single statement backed up by an engaging question.

Eileen Brown, who I interviewed for my first book Beyond the Boys’ Club,  owed much of her success in engaging others with charm to just ‘having that extra sentence’. When thinking about communications skills for women, I was keen to meet Brown. Brown has been a long-time leader in technology, and at the time I interviewed her, was the senior most technical woman at Microsoft.

1. Go beyond ‘How are you?’

Thinking about communication skills for women, I then asked what her extra sentence or comment was. She explained that it was the comment you made after being asked ‘how are you?’ that gives the other person ‘a hook’ and something to comment on. Brown, now an in-demand digital marketing consultant suggested: ‘It’s not about being overbearing, but just having a good response to, ‘Hello, how are you?’ It allows you to engage with them, and if they’re not interested they can back off — but it makes you approachable.’

She gave an example of how she used the charm offensive as part of her communication skills: ‘It works the same way for compliments. Women love a compliment on their bags, shoes, or earrings. If I see something a woman is wearing and I like it, I will tell her.

Brown laughed as she continued: ‘And then she reciprocates by being humble and innocently claiming: ‘This old thing?’ Or perhaps she smiles and tells me she got it as a knock-off in the market. From that, we have bonded and both feel easier in each other’s company, which is the best way you can start.

2. What’s your extra question’?

Brown laughed as she continued: ‘And then she reciprocates by being humble and innocently claiming: ‘This old thing?’ Or perhaps she smiles and tells me she got it as a knock-off in the market. From that, we have bonded and both feel easier in each other’s company, which is the best way you can start.

Like Eileen, as part of the communication skills for women I use I’ve gotten further with my colleagues or potential contacts by giving a bit more of myself personally.  In the industries where I speak to audiences, the personal connection goes a long way for my clients. It then can lead to a far better and more memorable conversation for you both.

That’s key to making the other person want to continue to get to know you. Indeed, there may be occasions where the person backs off, when you go deeper. However, even that is a time-saver as you probably wouldn’t have aligned well that that person anyway.

3. Go beyond: ‘how are you?’

  • ‘I’ve become totally addicted to X! Did you get up to anything new this weekend?’
  • ‘It may be my guilty pleasure, but I’m loving Y! What are you enjoying at the moment?’
  • ‘I was cooking at the weekend, making my Z which I love – what’s your go-to dish?’

Let me know the questions that have moved your conversations forward!

If this resonated, check out: ‘How to Work a Micro-Question’ or ‘How to use effective open questions.’

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