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10 Things People With Effective Communication Skills Have In Common

10 Things People With Effective Communication Skills Have In Common

Whether you’re ordering pizza delivery or dialing 911 for emergency care, effective communication can carry you through all aspects of life. It’s important, it’s essential and it’s not too hard to master.

While some excellent communication skills are inherent, those not naturally gifted with these traits can certainly practice to perfection.

As entrepreneur Brian Tracy said, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”

In order to be the best communicator that you can be, look at the list below. The 10 following attributes belong to true communication experts:

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1. They Listen

“We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally,” says Susan Cain author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Excellent listening is an essential skill in effective communicating. Being able to absorb what others say allows one to come up with appropriate responses. Great communicators don’t create one-sided conversations, because what’s the point of that?

They never try to think of responses as others are still speaking, because they don’t want to risk losing track of what is being said. By holding on to every word in the conversation, good communicators know just what fits when it comes time to speak.

2. They Can Relate to Others

As they listen intently, people with effective communication skills gain an understanding of their audience. Be it a room full of people, a group of online subscribers or just one other person, they can tailor their message for the specific listeners at hand.

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It’s absolutely necessary to have some insight regarding your crowd, because without that understanding, your words will fall flat. You wouldn’t want to praise burgers and pork chops to a group of PETA members while trying to win them over, would you? The understanding is beneficial for all members of the dialogue, as the messages are clear and all parties feel understood.

3. They Simplify the Complex

Some messages can be complicated, confusing or absolutely muddled. The good communicator, though, can take these messages and make them clear and concrete for his audience. Think of a teacher describing a new concept to an algebra class – if he can’t make the complicated understandable, his lesson will never get across to the students. By breaking down or rephrasing content, great communicators make the message more digestible to more people.

4. They Know When to Speak Up

Understanding when dialogue is required will always be helpful in good communication. Say, for example, an employee at work is slacking off or failing to understand a concept. A boss that recognizes the need for a conversation will be much better off than a boss that wordlessly sweeps the issue under the rug. They know when to speak up, and when it will do them good versus the instances in which it’s best to be quiet.

5. They Are Available

Whenever you need the excellent communicator, they make themselves available. They give you answers and don’t leave you hanging. They’re not the boyfriend that disappears and doesn’t text back for hours on end; they’re not the boss that has no time to explain assignments. Good communicators lead complete discussions, with which all parties are satisfied.

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6. They Practice Confidence

A good communicator knows she is a good communicator. She doesn’t hide behind vague language and she speaks loud and clear. Her air of confidence earns the trust of the audience, as she demonstrates that she knows what she’s talking about.

7. They Are Specific

If you’re going to get your message across, you’re not going to beat around the bush. Good communicators have a clear, concise point and there is no mistaking just what that is. She’ll give detailed instructions or ask targeted questions – she’ll leave no room for confusion.

Why, asks the communicator, would she waste time trying to sugarcoat her message with vague language? She’d much rather share it in a straightforward manner and avoid confusing the listener.

8. They Focus on Their Interactions

A big part of communicating well and respectfully is eliminating distractions from interactions. No one likes to be mid-conversation to have the other party start texting or shoving food in its face. By ridding his environment of these things, the good communicator is focused solely on the message and audience.

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9. They Ask Questions

Again, in an effort to best understand the audience, a good communicator uses questions – ones that are filled with specifics – amply. They fill any gaps of confusions with answers, not assumptions. Any knowledge gained through questioning helps to better fulfill the audience as well as to better get the communicator’s message across.

10. They Recognize Non-Verbal Cues

When chatting face-to-face, body language can be just as important as the words being spoken. Recognizing frustration, nervousness or excitement via non-verbal signals – like posture, facial expression and eye contact – helps the great communicator to understand her audience. In turn, she can better tailor her message to match the attitude of said audience.

Practicing these skills and improving your ability to communicate is worth your time and effort. As successful businessman Paul J. Meyer said, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”

Featured photo credit: Anna Levinzon via flickr.com

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Kayla Matthews

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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