As human beings, one of the more advantageous abilities we have is the ability to communicate. Other species also have their own unique ways to communicate though, that are effective in their own right.
In many ways, humans have an upper hand, but in other ways we succumb to pressures that distort our message, and what we want to communicate.
The determination to always be ‘right’, greed, pride and other unproductive motivations do more harm than good in the long run. These elements contribute to a lesser standard of communication which leads to the opposite of what we desire from communication, and creates confusion.
It is helpful to think about where we want to reach through communication and backtrack from there.
What is the desired result of communication?
I would say it is clarity, end result, and in an ideal situation, equal satisfaction for all parties that are affected by communication.
There are multiple things that we communicate:
Keep in mind, the first two could be our own opinions and feelings or others’ opinions and feelings. These two communication topics are also subjective, and differ from person to person.
Now, the question: How Can You Become the Best Communicator You Can Be?
Communication is a skill that has become highly desired not just in personal matters, but also in businesses. A good communicator can be the difference needed to achieve personal and business goals.
Here are a few ways I check myself, and my communication:
1. LISTEN first, and TALK later
If ever you are in a discussion with someone, make sure that the tone of the discussion tips more towards ‘conversation’ than towards ‘argument’ in the communication scale.
When we listen to the other parties first, we have a better chance in understanding where they are coming from. Everyone thinks they are right, because they are the only people that understand the perspective that makes them think they are right.
For example, A is a vegetarian. A wants a pineapple pizza and B wants pizza with ham. If B listens to WHY A wants to order a pineapple pizza (because A cannot consume ham) B might be in a better place to understand where A is coming from.
So LISTEN and understand the reason why anyone’s thought differs from yours.
2. Talk CLEARLY and SLOWLY
One of the simplest ways to become an excellent communicator and make sure that people actually listen to you: Talk slower.
A major reason why most of us rush through our words, is because we are afraid to take up too much time. We are afraid someone will cut us off, or not want to hear us. This is a misconception, because people WILL listen to you as long as you say things they can relate to. So first, check your content according to your audience. If it is good to go, take your own sweet time, with some pauses in between and be at ease when you talk.
3. Don’t HEAR to answer, LISTEN to others
A lot of us ALWAYS have an answer ready. We approach conversations like a debate, and have already imagined every possible answer and response. We create a structure to the conversation, without even listening to what the other person says. This is driven by the need to always prove ourselves “right”. But think about it, what is right?
Right is what we perceive it to be. It can change if we hear something valuable by another, and that information can make our perception of right better than ever.
4. EMPATHISE and NEVER BELITTLE
We also have a tendency to look down upon people when we have a discussion.
“How do you not know that!”
“Were you living under a rock?”
And the worst one-
“Told you so!”
When did communication become a weapon? A tool used to prove that we are better?
Instead of viewing it in that way, if you feel that the discussion is tilting your way, EDUCATE, don’t CONDESCEND.
The power to give knowledge is higher than anything else, and we must remember that everyone knows something that you don’t. You have a better chance of receiving from them if you give to them generously.
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