How To Improve Communication Skills

How To Improve Communication Skills

Communication…

 

I want to give you 5 million dollars!!…What?

I have 5 MILLION DOLLARRRSS WAITING HERE FOR YOU TO TAKEWhat did you say I don’t understand.
Okay, lets try this another way because I don’t think we are communicating properly.

This person just missed out on 5 Million dollars because we could not communicate properly, don’t let this happen to you. LOL, keep reading to make sure it never does.

Let’s improve our communication skills.

How To Improve Communication Skills

Communication Defined

 

Like most of my posts, I like to start with building a good foundation for you to stand on. Lets start with defining communication in the most basic dictionary definition.

1. The act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated

2. The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs

3. Something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.

4. A document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.

5. Passage, or an opportunity or means of passage, between places.

6. communications.

A) Means of sending messages, orders, etc., including telephone, telegraph, radio, and television.

B) Routes and transportation for moving troops and supplies from a base to an area of operations.

7. Biology.

A) Activity by one organism that changes or has the potential to change the behavior of other organisms.

B) Transfer of information from one cell or molecule to another, as by chemical or electrical signals.

courtesy of: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/communication

Types Of Communication

  • Verbal: Type of communication where language, signs or sounds are the vehicle of transmission. Talking, laughing, singing, whistling, coughing, yawning, crying, if it makes a sound that comes from your mouth, its verbal communication. Everyone who can make a sound uses verbal communication. Adults, kids, babies, even pets and animals use verbal communication as a means to express a need or desire.
  • Non-Verbal: Type of communication where body movement or facial expressions are the vehicle of transmission. Winking, wrinkling of the forehead, smiling, frowning, hand gestures, bowing, handshakes, and even dancing are all forms of non-verbal communication. Anyone and anything can participate in non-verbal communication. Even a rock can participate in non-verbal communication, by not doing anything and just being still it communicates steadiness, contentedness, and power all while doing nothing. This is non-verbal communication.
  • Written: Type of communication where written language in text or symbols (yes emojis count too! lol) are the vehicle of transmission. Typing, writing and, texting are all examples of written communication. Even art, such as drawings and paintings are forms of written communication.

 

 

Why Are Some People Bad Communicators?

 

Most “bad communicators”, don’t even know they are. They ask, “why is no one listening to me?” or “Is what have to say not important?” Of course what you have to say is important!

Everyone’s input is important, the “unconventional” ways of thinking become conventional, by listening to and making valid the voices others deem irrelevant. Stupid people will always tell you that things you say make no sense, the truth is some of the smartest ideas ever have sprouted from searching to make the abstract more understandable.

Smart people know that they know nothing, and are more than willing to listen to what we have to say.

What You Have To Say Is Important…They Just Don’t Know It Yet!

What you have to say IS important, the problem is not everyone in the world understands that every piece of information is important and valid. For those who don’t look at things the way we do, we have to spell it out for them!

Use the tactics explained below to let every one know what you have to say is important.

 

What Good Communication Looks Like

 

1. Be A Good Listener

I chose this one first because I think it is the most overlooked facet of communication. When we think of communication we usually say, “great, what message do I want to convey?” the only problem with that is it only takes account for your feelings, and what you want to express.

Communication is not a one way street, it is the transfer of information and the conformation that the information has been received the way we intended​ it to be.

If you are on the receiving end of the transaction, guess what! You actually have more leverage than the person conveying the information.

You have the opportunity to frame the whole conversation/debate/argument, they have had their chance and made the first move, now the ball is on your side of the tennis court and you have the opportunity to place the ball in any spot on their side of the court.

It’s a problem if you have not been listening well enough (paid enough attention to what angle the ball is coming from, and where your opponent is on the other side of the court) you will not know how to take advantage of the opportunity (place the ball in a spot on the other side of the court that is difficult to counter back).

I am not saying that you should manipulate people, but I am saying: you should take advantage of the opportunity you have been presented with, as the other party has had their turn to frame the conversation/debate/argument. And, by not listening you put your self at a great disadvantage.

As most people will almost flat out tell you how they can be won over with their verbal and non-verbal cues. If you don’t know what to look for, or don’t listen well enough you will not see your opening to counter.

now that we understand how important it is, lets look at how we can improve our listening skills.

 How To Improve Communication Skills

A) Listen With Your Ears & Your Eyes

How the heck can someone listen with their eyes? Well your eyes don’t help you listen better, but they do help the person talking see and verify you are engaged and are processing what they are saying.

Keep your head up, don’t constantly look at the floor, show them your interested. They will in turn give you respect for giving it to them first, and more actively listen to what you have to say when it’s your turn to talk.

 

B) Do Not Interrupt Them

First it’s just disrespectful and second, how can we expect ourselves to understand what is being said if we are too busy talking while they are talking.

 

C) Sit up straight!

I am sure that you have heard first hand or on TV, a mom telling their child: “Sit up straight!!” the truth is it’s very important, it is one of those non-verbal signs we hold up, most times unknowingly.

The sign say “hey can you hurry up” or “your wasting my time” or ” this is so boring and not important to me”.

 

D) Ask Questions

Ask clarifying questions in regard to what they have just said, they might give you more information and help you to understand them more.

For example:

“So your telling me you really like animals, and you would like to become a Veterinarian some day?”

“What I’m hearing is that you like animals and would like to become a Vet some day? Is that right?

“It sounds like your saying…..” or “What do you mean when you say…..”   It’s easy, right!?

 

E) Listen With Your Right Ear

I know both of your ears are the “right” ears to listen with, but I mean the ear on the right hand side of your head LOL. It sounds stupid but it’s really smart; the left side of our brain is where our processing centers for speech, emotion and overall comprehension reside. And our right ear connects to that side of our brain, so listen with your right ear.

 

2. Just Be Yourself!

There is nothing worse than some one who is using a script to talk to you. Every thing they say to initiate conversation, and to reply is just read from a piece of paper.

And, the worst part is we can tell it’s not them speaking, they are just puppets. Do not sound like a puppet or a robot, just be yourself!

I am all about faking it until you make it. But, that should only last for a short time until you find your own voice.

You can say the things that others say, but let it be in your own words. Don’t try to sound like someone else, don’t use words your not familiar with. Use words and phrases that come natural.

When your not genuine, people can see right trough it…But when you are and you don’t hide your true self, people will respect and admire you for it, if nothing else.

Tip: I like to follow this rule too, don’t anything you would not feel comfortable saying to you grandmother, at least until you know them better. Try do not to use 4 letter words at all, they are just filler words used by people who aren’t creative enough to express themselves.

 

3. Be Empathetic

To be empathetic is to…

A) Put aside your viewpoint; and try looking at things from the other person’s point of view.

B) Validate the other person’s perspective; show them what they care about matters to you.

C) Examine your attitude; Are you being unreasonable, and difficult for no reason.

D) Touch them; Okay I’m not trying to get anyone in trouble, and I really don’t want to get myself in trouble, so please don’t take this the wrong way. When I say touch, I mean show your humanity with a hand on the shoulder or hug if it is appropriate.

Please, Please, PLEASE DO NOT go touching people you don’t have that kind of relationship with, and definitely DO NOT say I told you to do it…Please.

 

4. Use Non-Verbal Communication To Your Advantage

Are your clothes all over the place, can the other person tell you are paying attention to them. We can learn more about a person by just watching their movements then they could tell us with a thousand words…But lets not start just not listening to them again, that would be counter productive.

Facial expressions, body movements, eye contact, posture, tense muscles, the tone of your voice and even breathing patters are all types of non-verbal communication.

The ability to read non-verbal communication can be a useful tool to connect with others, and convey your true feelings when words become incompetent. Relationships at work and home are easier to build, with a good understanding of non-verbal cues.

 

A) What are they telling us Non-verbally?

Don’t read too much into a single gesture or nonverbal cue, look at the nonverbal signals you receive as a group.  For example; eye contact, tone of voice, and body language like fidgeting, sweaty palms or excessive blinking.

Again, people are not robots and If you have read any of my other articles you may know, I don’t trust robots lol…but seriously everyone sends a bad signal every now and then.  I.E briefly crossing their arms without meaning to, or breaking eye contact to ponder a response.

Measure the signals as a whole to get a better “read” on the person in front of you.

 

B) Stay away from negative body language

Use your body language to give off good vibes, even when your not really liking the situation. You can use your own body language to tell a whole story without saying a word.

Implant a thought or feeling into a crowd of individuals minds as if it were there own, Some real life “Inception”, ninja stuff…huh?

If your a little antsy about a first date…you don’t have to show it, you can use positive body language to convey a relaxed, or confident state of mind.

If you walk into a room of people smiling and giving everyone access to your eye contact, with your shoulders back, and walking tall, you will feel more confident, and you will be and seem more confident to your audience.

Your the movie, they are just watching…and you are okay with them watching. I know it sounds a little self absorbed but sometimes we have to reprogram ourselves just a little. Be careful not to turn into the jerk in the room, as nobody really likes “that guy”. Too much of those self absorbed thoughts can be bad, but just a little won’t hurt.

 

: ) In Closing ( :

Improving your communication skills can help all facets of your life improve.  Communication with your co-workers, family, friends, strangers, and potential love interests becomes so much easier.

When you understand how to use verbal, non-verbal, and written forms of communication; that interview you have been worrying about, or telling your family about that tattoo you have been hiding for 2 months! or finally asking that girl or boy in your math class out for a date is not so tough. Give it a shot, really…what’s the worst that can happen!?

 

Don’t forget to comment below and thanks for reading.

NEVER STOP LEARNING…Levelup!

 

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4 thoughts on “How To Improve Communication Skills

  1. Dave

    Hallo there,

    I have to agree with you on the listening facet of communication. Most people tend to listen for the sake of answering, not to understand the topic of discussion first before they answer.

    That’s why you will find most people lacking enough content to talk about or simply going off topic amd annoying folks.

    It happened to me for many years until someone “kind enough” shouted at me “Do you every pay attention?! Don’t you know you have to listen atttentively so that you know what you are talking about?”

    It was a bit brutal but thinking deeply about it, I found out that the person was right. And I have seen all that you have said in this post happen.

    Thank you very much for reminding me the lessons. 🙂

    1. Danny

      That is what I want to do, we know the answers to most of our problems, but a lot of times we just don’t know how to apply the information. The solution is usually a simple one, where if we can just take a few steps back to asses the issue, we can see that we make simple problems very complicated.

  2. lynnsamuelson

    Some people are naturally great communicators and that is a gift. Most of us need to work on becoming more skilled at it and you offer some excellent suggestions. Being a great listener is one that I think many of us don’t think about but any type of communication is a two-way street. Knowing that someone really gets what you’re saying is huge. Were you born with an inherent knack to communicate or is this a skill you’ve learned to develop? Just curious.

    1. Danny

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate your input! Your words honor, and encourage me to continue sharing my thoughts. I think some of it is just a knack that I have (said in a modest tone), but I like to think reading and engaging in conversations with individuals like yourself has helped me to improve my communication skills.

      Again I am flattered by your complements, and Thank you. 

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