We all know the importance of interpersonal communication skills, but did you know it’s possible to communicate differently in ways that’ll change your life? Effective communication is important in any context of your life – whether it be personal or business. Communicating with others is a skill that is harnessed and developed more or less for your whole life; when you need this skill, you really, really urgently need it. That’s why it’s always good to train yourself into good habits of interpersonal communication.
It can be very difficult to find a common “language” or basis of communication with people. To some it comes naturally, while others can struggle to grasp even the basic methods to participate in fulfilling interactions. That’s why you should always take a step back and think about how your words might be affecting others. Good communication habits can change your life – so don’t be afraid to make that crucial change. Just to get you started, take a look at some great communication habits you can adopt into your everyday life. Starting today.
Here Are 6 Ways to Communicate Differently That Will Change Your Life
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.” – Yehuda Berg
1. Be prepared.
Conversation with people you don’t know can be hard work – especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you. One of the worst culprits in difficult conversations is small talk because it’s very difficult to keep up and can often dissolve into awkward silences. Many people opt for the “FORD” method. The acronym “FORD” stands for family, occupation, recreation, dreams; it’s a good order to follow when looking for small talk topics. The main goal is to establish a common interest with the person you’re talking to. Once you have that, you have pretty much found the key to better, more effective communication. Just don’t give up, and always think twice about things before you say them. (Avoid babbling!)
2. Be down to earth.
No one appreciates a smart mouth and even fewer people prefer a know-it-all. Even if you’re talking to someone about a complicated thing, always try to keep it simple. You don’t want the other person to think you’re a robot with no feelings. Include personal stories and anecdotes. Additionally, use simple, understandable language in any situation. Communication would be completely useless if no one understood you by the end of it, so always make sure your message comes across in accessible language.
3. Be a good listener.
Communication is always a two-way street. There’s nothing more annoying for your conversation partner than the feeling they’re not being listened to. When someone’s telling you something, don’t daydream. Focus on what they’re telling you. A good way to engage with other people’s ideas and thoughts is to ask questions. It’s good practice to think of at least three questions to ask for every talk you hear on a specific subject. That shows you’re engaged and listening carefully and not just a distracted spectator.
4. Be fully present.
This point fits well with the last one. In today’s constantly moving world, it’s so easy to get distracted when someone’s talking to you. One of the worst things you can do while someone’s talking to you is to look at your phone. Whatever it is that you’re looking at can wait; otherwise, the person talking to you will get the idea that your notifications are more important than what they have to say. Take the time to really listen to their feelings and concerns. Try to train yourself into maintaining a good eye contact with your conversation partner. We don’t mean staring – a great point to focus on is just above their shoulder, or the tip of their nose. There’s no better way to show that you’re engaged and listening than by remaining fully present.
5. Be enthusiastic.
There is a lot that your body language and tone of voice can betray when it comes down to relaying your message. Make sure to keep your body language open and welcoming, which will show your conversation partner that you’re open to comments about what you’ve just said. Always encourage further communication, because that will help you in the long run. Additionally, don’t just keep the same tone of voice – monotonous and repetitive. Shake things up when you can; add inflections and keep an appropriate volume and intonation. That way not only will you keep your audience interested, but you’ll also show them that you’re a real person – and not a robot or computer mechanically reciting words.
6. Be straightforward and to the point.
No one prefers a waffling talker or someone who takes ages to get to their point. If you have something to say, and you’re convinced it will contribute to the conversation, then don’t be afraid to just say it. The more you put things off or mention things in passing, the more it’ll make it seem like you have no idea what you’re talking about. Also, stop putting off getting to the point with filler words like “um,” “like,” and so on. Those are parasitic expressions that hold no meaning yet take up a significant amount of our speech. When you get rid of them, you’ll find that you’ll be able to communicate your thoughts much more easily and openly compared to before.
Interpersonal communication doesn’t have to be difficult, but being a good communicator doesn’t just come down to positive thinking. Whether you’re presenting at a conference, talking at home, or at a job interview – these tips can be applied to any context, in any situation. Using them can bring about a positive change in your life, and you will know your message has been fully understood. Navigating the way of good communication can be very tricky, so make sure to come back to these tips when you need them. Change your life by communicating better today.