The Ultimate Guide to improve Communication Skills

Communication is the process of passing information,ideas,opinions,facts,values and understanding from one person to another. Human brain is extremely good at identifying patterns and rules,when comes to social interactions. Languages you speak also follow patterns and rules. But in this era of virtual communication, anyone hardly gets a chance of face-to-face communication. Therefore when they meet someone in reality,they are embarrassed since this is totally different from typing on phone. While interacting you have to be aware of the other person’s tonality, proximity,eye contact,speed of talking,facial expressions and body language. Therefore,you need to practice to communicate more effectively. However,there is a common misconception that good communication means being able to speak English(for non-native English speakers),while English is only a language and communication is an art which includes spoken language as well as body language. It is important to develop communication skills in mother tongue first. Words are only 6% of the communication while your body language,tonality and other factors control most of the quality of communication.

Importance of Communication Skills:

Working on your communication skills consciously can make you more competent in everything you do.

  • The little miscommunications with your partner,friends and family over time stack into loss. You need to develop tools to communicate and awareness to speak,release anger,build understanding,speak out needs and feel the need to be heard. You can easily save your relationships through communication.
  • Whenever you negotiate,you’re successful. Everyone who deals with you walks away from negotiation satisfied and thrilled.
  • You might lose a promising business deal even if you have a brilliant idea only because you are not convincing enough. As a business person you need to deal with the media, customers,partners,suppliers and others effectively.
  • Even if you are a working professional you need to develop communication skills to work in a team or face an interview.

What makes People Uninteresting?

There are two kind of communicators whom people find uninteresting: Plain-Jane and Creeps.

Plain Jane’s don’t have a particular opinion about anything- they follow the crowd and form opinion backed by majority. Mostly they are not involved in wider variety of things such as books,movies,ideas,lectures,travelling etc. to form an opinion. They fail to trigger any sort of emotion and therefore,are impossible to be interesting. They are non-polarising but honest.

Creeps are polarized but they hide the truth. Since they lie to hide their true opinion,people tend to dislike them. When something is hidden people believe it to be necessarily evil. So this distorts the idea about this person. So creeps are polarizing but dishonest.

Therefore,people who are a combination of polarized and honest are attractive. Even though there will be difference in opinions,people love them who rightfully take a stand and are honest about it. This creates mystery and evokes curiosity about a person.

Tips to communicate effectively:

If you have to speak effectively,you have to know way more than you’re talking about.

Jordan B. Peterson

You need to keep the following suggestions in mind to be an effective communicator.

  • If you want to be articulate,you need to read and write about what you think everyday. This will help you specify a stepping path through any opinion.
  • You must believe what you’re talking about.
  • Practice interacting with people regularly to make mistakes and sharpen skills. Apply the knowledge you got from book I reality.
  • Practise listening skills through audiobooks or Ted talks.
  • Improve vocabulary through reading and writing down new word on a daily basis.
  • In case of public speaking write down the points you want to talk about.
  • Talk to more people in the positions of authority and make yourself uncomfortable. Only then you’ll emerge victorious.

When it comes to communication there are two kinds of communication one might face: Individual Communication and Public Speaking.

A. Individual Communication:

1. First Impression:

“You never get a second chance to make your first impression.” Therefore, you need to be well equipped with what to say. Before you become concerned about what the other person might think about you,always remember that s(he) also feels the same and is not at all concerned about you. So with this in mind,confidently start with “My name is….”,take your time and make a firm handshake(you can place your left hand on the other person’s shoulder while handshaking). Then say something like “It’s a pleasure meeting you” and then say “What brought you to this event?”. If you have to introduce someone in-between the conversation,say,” Let me introduce you to my friend…(name)..”

2. Body Language:

While talking,try showing your palms as frequently as possible. This shows your confidence, open – mindedness, and builds trust in the other person for you. Avoid keeping your arms folded or hiding your hands or playing with fingers. This denotes that you are less approachable. Make frequent eye contact to build a connection. Keep a smile on your face to transmit positive energy to the listeners. Even if you don’t feel good and feel less interested in communicating,try to act in a way as if you are boiling with energy. Your mind will follow what your body wants to dictate. You should also be concerned about your tone,because you might be unknowingly offending people for your rude tonality.

3. KISS:

In the words of Sales world, communication is either KISS(Keeping it short and simple) or KILL(Keeping it long and lengthy). Therefore try to use KISS method to be specific,confident and sophisticated. Avoid words like ‘um’,’like’,’I guess’,’well’,’ah’,’you know’ which add no value to conversation. Use pauses rather than these fillers to deliver more powerful message.

4. Conversational Threading:

This is the ability to branch off into different topics. Give the other person an opportunity to talk while posing an open ended questions. Example: Someone says,”I live in California but I always wanted to move to the suburbs. It’s because I love nature and hate being around too many people.” You can thread different topics from this sentences,such as when you visited NYC,how you feel about living in the suburbs,how you like/dislike nature,how you’re also an introvert etc.

5. Use Statements instead of Questions:

There are 3 types of statements: Story/opinion ,Cold read and Random Statement. In case of ‘Story/Opinion’ statement,instead of asking the other person “What is your biggest fear” ,say” I am terrified of darkness and sleep with my night lamp on”. Here you share information about yourself and you create multiple topics to branch off to. ‘Cold Read Statement’ is when you talk about something you’ve observed in the other person. Instead of questioning “What is your hobby?” Say,”You look like an artist,I think you can make awesome paintings”. This statement leads to 3 types of answers:You’re wrong and you’ll be corrected;You’re wrong and you’ll be asked why you thought so;You’re correct and a rapport will be built. There are multiple topics this statement can lead to. The third kind of statement is ‘Random Statement’ where you make random statements about multiple topics and share a lot of information about you. Example:”I’m thinking of taking a year off from college”.

6. Deep Connection:

After building rapport through shallow conversation and humor,you can try building deep connection. Share your true feelings and emotions. Avoid facts such as occupation, school,sports,politics,TV,drama and everything that don’t tell who you are. Rather seek emotion(regret,love,hatred,dreams,fears,stories, aspirations) and share how you felt when you failed at something,earned your first money,had your first success, moved homes and everything that elicit emotional response. Also,listen to the person while they elaborate a topic. Identify where you can relate to the other person and share something similar. In this way you can build long term valuable relationships.

7. Conversation Control:

Be dominant in the conversation and make them comfortable through asking questions related to their answers. Give positive responses and also have a positive outlook for the person. Don’t judge easily,because it shows in the way you communicate.

8. Parroting:

If you can’t find any link to drag the conversation,repeat the last few words of the other person. Example: Reply to “I went to the Supermarket.” with “Supermarket?”

9. Take 100 interactions challenge:

Talk to any person,say hi,ask direction,make awkward interactions. These will help you learn patterns og interactions and give a significant boost in your confidence.

B. Public Speaking:

Many people have tremendous fear of appearing on stage and sharing opinion in front of numerous people. The trick is,when you’re speaking in front of a group,you’re not delivering a talk in the group. Rather you talk to bunch of individuals. So talk to one at a time. You can look at an individual and say something. You can tell if they’re engaged – if they look confused,interested,angry,bored. They’ll give you feedback through their expressions on how you’re doing. Also identify your audience and change the way you talk accordingly. Like this,you’re actually engaged in a conversation with audience,even if they’re not talking but nodding and shifting position. Take signs and use it to govern the level of addressing the entire audience.

Don’ts in Communication:

  • Don’t react impulsively,learn to respond to a situation or disagreement in opinion with calmness and logic.
  • Never cross the line of anybody’s privacy.

So with these tips,I hope you might be able to develop communication skills which will not only help in your professional life but upgrade your personal life as well. Let me know about your progress.

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