The art of becoming a great communicator
Effective communication is the key to any relationships. Communication is a skill and can be learned with practice.
When we become stronger in our communicational skills, we undoubtedly become better partners, better parents, better co-workers, better bosses, better leaders and ultimately better everything.
Same rule of communication applies to all; weather you are trying to communicate better with your spouse, your child, your boss or a stranger you just met at a bar.
When we interact with people we continuously give and receive non-verbal signals. The way we are “being” (our emotional state and our energy level), the way we sit, our posture, amount of eye contact we have, how we hold and move our hands, how loud and soft we talk, how empathically we listen are constantly giving us hints and are a major factor in engaging or disengaging us from further communication.
When our non-verbal signals match up with our spoken words it increases trust and relatedness; it increases clarity and rapport. When they don’t, they generate tension, mistrust, and confusion.
How we are emotionally and energetically are as important if not more important than the spoken words. When communicating always come from a positive, effective state of being. Simply put your positive state of being is how contend, comfortable, and at peace you are with yourself. Another word, who you are at essence; which is loving, caring, compassionate and empathetic.
Effective vs. ineffective state of being
|Detached from results ||Attached to results|
Go over the chart, add your effective/positive vs. ineffective /negative emotional states that you personally experienced. Before starting communication, check with your mind-body and see how you are being and feeling inside. If you are in a negative state, take a moment, breathe and do your best to replace the negative state with a positive state. If you cannot do this at this very moment, walkway; take a few minutes to calm the mind and re-enter the conversation when in a positive state.
Example:(Negative): I feel anxious, fearful and unsure of myself. What if he/she thinks I am a loser? (Positive): I am calm and confident, I am doing my best. I am ok if he/she does not like me.
(Negative): I am scared and nervous that my boss is going to think I don’t deserve the promotion I been wanting for so long. (Positive): I am confident I will convince my boss that I am worthy of this promotion. Even if I don’t get the promotion I know that I did my best.
- Body Language– By developing an awareness of signs of body language you can more easily understand other people and ultimately communicate more effectively with them. People through their body language are giving us clues as to how they are feeling, their intention and what they are thinking. Body language can be intentional and conscious or on a subconscious level. Either way, they can reveal a lot more about the person than the mere spoken words.
- Mirroring – Matching and mirroring a body language is a non-verbal way to say “I am like you, I feel the same”. It is a powerful tool to bond, build understanding and make the other person at ease. So, for example, if your partner is sitting while talking with you don’t tower over them; sit at a comfortable distance from them so you can have eye contact while talking.
When a partner is mirroring your body language they are reporting back to you(non-verbally) that they are agreeing with you and like what you are telling them. Mirroring starts by observing the other person’s body posture and subtlety mimicking his/her body position. Be careful not to mimic highly negative body postures such as both arms crossed or an upper body that is turned away.
Body language often reflects feelings and attitudes, so when you mirror the other person’s body posture you actually begin to understand him/her better and that can be a base to a start of effective communication. Can you tell which image is mirroring effectively?
- Tone of Voice– The wrong tone of voice can ruin even the most important, and useful messages. The tone involves the volume of your voice, the emotion you are conveying and the emphasis you place on the words you choose. How does your tone of voice come across? A pleasant and confident tone vs. a fearful immature tone, a tired or bored tone; vs. an energetic and excited tone? Does your tone of voice convey confidence or is shaky and doubtful? Is it angry and condescending or is soothing and uplifting? Is your tone of voice monotone? Or does it have inflection at the right place? Inflection (emphasis on a particular word) alone can change the meaning of your sentence. So be aware of it when talking.
- Words– words have power; they can build or tear someone down. Positive words empower, while negative words become our belief and ultimately our reality. A simple choice of word can have someone accept or deny your message. Words profoundly affect our psyche and transform the way we behave.
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. The most important thing we can give to another is our attention.
Active listening is one of the most important skills you can have to be a great communicator, yet so many people suck at it! Listening is not the same as hearing; hearing is a physical ability while listening is a learned skill.
When you listen actively, you are attentively paying attention and understanding both verbal and non-verbal messages. It means you are fully aware and invested in what the person is telling you. Most of the time we get so eager to respond that while the other person is talking, we are preparing a rebuttal argument in our head. We judge, criticize, and become distracted, or even get impatient and talk over the person.
Here are 6 tips to become an active listener :
- Pay undivided attention–get rid of distraction. Refrain from multi-tasking while listening
- Be non-Judgmental-Be open to receive different perspectives
- Be mindful of non-verbal messages-
- Confirm your Understanding-Repeat what you perceive the person is saying.
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Response- Be patient; responding happens after you sense, understand and process what is being said to you.
- Manage your emotional state, your “BEING”
- Create trust and relatedness through mirroring, and tone of voice
- Practice active listening by focusing, understanding and repeating
- Respond– Sense, process and respond
- Results– We are constantly enrolling and engaging our audience through communication. Once you master the above list; you will enjoy favorable outcomes and success in all your relationships.
Practice these steps until they become second nature! Habits are formed through repetition, so use every opportunity to practice with each communication.