Communication is a critical aspect of success in any part of life, whether it be relationships with your friends, lovers, family, yourself, or with your colleagues and business partners. Your ability to cultivate your communication skills will drastically improve every aspect of your life.
In this article, I’m going to show you 2 easy steps you can begin doing right now to start getting better at communicating with people.
When I came to the United States from the Philippines at 10 years old, I had a thick accent, and I had it all the way until I joined in the Air Force. I was very shy with speaking with people and never became very good at communicating.
I’ve now spoken in front of hundreds of people, have trained sales teams, and have coached men on dating and relationships wherein the key was becoming a good communicator of ideas, persuasion, and connection.
First, it’s important to recognize that everything is communication, whether you’re communicating it through your voice, your tonality, or your body language. There isn’t a moment that you aren’t communicating. The most important aspect of communication, because it makes up for 70% of what the person’s listening is receiving, is the aspect of your communication that is non-verbal (tonality and body expression).
The interesting thing about this non-verbal aspect of communication is that it isn’t what you’re consciously going to be thinking about. You’re mostly going to be focusing on “what to say.” You must realize that this type of communication is the most important and which mostly affects the person you’re communicating with (90% of it is non-verbal).
So how do you develop this non-verbal aspect of your communication? You must become a competent communicator. A lot of people worry about being confident. The truth is, you can’t become confident about something you aren’t competent with. The kind of bolstered confidence that is made up from a lack of competence will communicate itself in a negative way through the non-verbal aspect of your communication! In these 2 steps, I’m going to uncover for you how to become a good communicator; you’ll become competent and therefore confident!
1. Competence of communication.
Begin to communicate more as a practice in the sense that it is deliberately a practice—rather than just practicing. If this is one of the most important skills in your life, it goes without saying that it should be taken more seriously.
Begin to communicate more. First, start speaking more openly with the people closest to you (i.e., your close friends and family). Just by deliberately noticing how you speak will make you better. By noticing the things we do that we can ‘”fix,” it’s easy to get better at it—as opposed to not noticing the right and wrong things we do, and thus not knowing what to fix. You see, we don’t see ourselves communicating. In my coaching, I tell my clients to record themselves speaking. It is the fastest and best way to begin correcting those little minute changes in non-verbal communication.
If in the beginning you don’t know what to say, I suggest you speak openly and honestly about how you feel about that person. If it’s your friend, openly tell them about how you feel about them and specifically for which reasons that you appreciate them. You see, by talking about yourself, not many people would want to listen to you. People absolutely love talking about themselves. Not only will you be getting better at communicating, but you’re now getting better at connecting with people and being authentic, genuine, and honest.
2. Increase your vocabulary.
There is more than one way to see. If you’re able to say something to someone that has opened their mind to a new awareness, they’ll say, “I see!” I equate someones vocabulary to this metaphor:
When you explain something to someone and they say, “I can’t see what you’re saying…” it is because they are looking through a little hole. That little hole is their vocabulary. When you don’t have a representing symbol for a concept or idea, it’s like looking through a small hole and you can’t see much because you can’t understand much. As you increase your vocabulary, you’ll be able to look through a bigger hole and have a much larger view, a much larger perspective, because you’ve now got a much larger understanding.
There are a few ways of increasing your vocabulary. One of my favorites and one I’ve used and continually use to this day is reading books. I have a set goal of reading 10 pages of a good book every day. I read mostly non-fiction but there are some great fiction books that drive profound concepts and ideas through their stories.
Read it out loud. This trains your tongue (becoming more competent in voice delivery). Play with how you deliver the sound, the rate of speed, and the range of your tonality. It’s especially beneficial for some people who don’t get enough opportunities to communicate with people with their voice.
Go ahead and begin doing this now and notice, in the coming days, how much differently you’ll be speaking.
Featured photo credit: Fox Searchlight via ch2289.wordpress.com