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2 Easy Steps to Start Becoming Good at Communicating

2 Easy Steps to Start Becoming Good at Communicating

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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