I am sure you’ve already checked it out.
What do the most successful and influential people have in common?
Personal and professional success depend on your ability to relate to others.
And the most important aspect of relationships is communication since it allows us to:
- Exchange ideas and experiences.
- Share feelings and attitudes.
- Express yourself and learn more about yourself, others and the environment in which you live.
You may think that due to technological and media progress, and the emergence of social networks, these keys have changed a lot in the last 30 years but, as you will see when reading through the rest of this article, they have not changed that much.
1. Think about your purpose and what you want to say.
Think carefully before you speak.
Keep in mind what you want to talk about and what exactly you want to convey. That is, consider what your communicative intention is, your objective.
Your speech preparation will not be the same. Neither is your predisposition. And that is important to keep in mind.
For example, your intention may be to:
- Be right
- Let off steam
- Defend yourself
In the first case, you focus only on yourself without taking into consideration the “other” and, therefore, it is more important for you to speak and achieve your purpose, than to take care of that communication, rather than listening to the other or receiving feedback.
In the second, you need to take the other into consideration to achieve your goal. You will have to think: how will you be better understood? Or, for example, what type of story might be of most interest to her/him? That is to say, you are no longer the only important thing, but “the other” acquires a great protagonism.
2. Keep in mind who you are addressing.
Because communication is always a matter of at least two people.
For your communication to be efficient, it is obvious that it is not enough to be clear about the “for what” but you also need to consider the “to whom” you are going to address.
Beyond the more usual aspects such as the age of the person you are addressing, his/her knowledge and experience, and your relationship or level of trust, your ability to empathize with the other person is essential here, to identify with him/her and to appreciate his/her feelings.
A few months ago a restaurant owner told me about his difficulty in getting the chef in his kitchen to trust him and his plans for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Through coaching, he realized that what he needed to do was to “speak to him in his language,” keeping in mind that the chef had been forced to close his previous restaurant and that he was afraid of history repeating itself. He changed his way of communicating with him. He began to do so with empathy, taking into consideration the chef’s history and emotions, and managed to form a great team with him and transmit his illusion and confidence in the future, despite the difficult times they were living through.
Do not speak to others as you would like them to speak to you but as you think they would like or need to be spoken to.
It is not always easy but it sure is always possible.
3. Choose the most appropriate means of communication.
In person, telephone, postal mail, email, instant messaging, social networks, etc.
Today the options are many, but not all serve the same purposes.
- Would you use a social network to transmit the planning of a project?
- Do you think that a publication on a social network is the most appropriate to resolve a conflict?
- Would you communicate a dismissal using an email?
It is important that you choose the means of communication to use considering above all what you want to communicate for, what you want to transmit and with whom you are going to communicate. In addition, the means of communication you choose will be decisive when it comes to carefully selecting the words you are going to use.
4. Use exactly the necessary words.
No more, no less.
To communicate better, you do not need to talk more. You need to speak just enough, carefully choosing the words you are going to use.
And what exactly are the words needed in each situation?
To find out, you should consider the following:
- What you are going to communicate for: you do not need the same words to describe something that has happened to you as you do to argue a decision that affects the management of your team, for example.
- Who you are going to communicate with: it is not the same if you are going to address a single person or a group; and it is not the same if you are going to address a friend, a family member or the sales manager of your company.
- How you are going to communicate: without a doubt, the means of communication you are going to use is also important when it comes to choosing the necessary words. For example, will it be a face-to-face communication or not, will it be a public or private communication, will it be oral or written, etc.
5. Listen with full attention.
Has it ever happened to you that during a conversation you find yourself thinking more about what you are going to say than what your interlocutor is saying?
Or has it happened to you that when you are talking, the other person looks away or at the mobile?
“Don’t just wait for your turn to speak; listen for real and you will be different.”Charlie Chaplin
Not only do you have to listen, but you have to make the other person feel that you are listening.
Focus your mind only on that conversation and what the person in front of you is conveying.
And do not just listen with your ears, listen with “everything”.
6. Take care of non-verbal communication.
As you may have heard more than once, we communicate not only with our words, but also with our body, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.
Do you want to try it? When someone asks you how you are doing, answer “very well” but do it with a lowered head, a sad grimace and a muffled tone of voice. What do you think will have more weight in that communication, your words or your non-verbal communication?
Always try to ensure that your non-verbal communication not only supports, but also emphasizes your words. Use the position of your body, the gestures of your hands, the expression of your face and the language of your way of looking.
You will achieve that communication is much clearer and more efficient because everything fits and is coherent.
Do you want to improve your communication?
Do not talk for the sake of talking.
Remember that sometimes silence is the most important word.
And take care of every important aspect of any communication action:
- The issuer: your target, your listening and your nonverbal communication
- The message: what do you want to convey and how you are going to convey it
- The recipient: who he/she is and how he/she is, what he/she thinks and how he/she feels
Try it today and let me know how it works for you or what difficulties you have experienced.
Thank you and see you soon,
PS: In this article we have focused only on the 6 most important keys and we wanted to do it clearly and concisely. In future articles we will reel off each one of them and we will talk about other important aspects so that you can improve your communication skills. In the meantime, if you liked this post and want to know more, I recommend the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg. I also invite you to send us a message. We will be happy to listen to you, answer your questions and tell you everything you want to know.