With so many important conversations taking place this year on both a global and local scale, we want to focus on learning how to become a better communicator. Being a skilled communicator is one of the most useful skills you can acquire in your life; the ability to clearly and concisely articulate your thoughts can never be understated. Communication, like anything else, is a skill that needs to be built and developed - and we can assure you that it is so much more than simply the ability to speak. Here are 5 key tips to help you become a better communicator:
Active listening is where great communication begins. In fact we'd go so far as to say listening is 90% of what it takes to be a great communicator. Focus on what your conversation partner is saying, the universal trait shared by humankind is that we love to be heard. Be the ear people are so desperately looking for. Repeat back what you hear and let your partner guide the conversation, you'll learn so much more.
2. Be Precise
Don't mince your words, be precise with your language. For instance, instead of using absolute words like "always" or "never" try to describe your feelings about the given situation, e.g. "It feels like you're always complaining", or "It feels like you never listen". Being precise with your words goes a long way in communicating exactly how you feel, helping the other person gain clarity and understanding of your position. Miscommunication will make a mountain out of a mole hill, avoid it by saying exactly what you mean.
3. Be Confident
The best way to be confident is to be prepared. Understand your subject matter and know what you're talking about. If you're preparing for a speech, have it memorized. Make sure to use confident language and speak with assuredness. This involves formulating thoughts and thinking before you speak, avoid hmm's and uhh's, know what you're going to say before you say it.
4. Find Common Ground
You don't always have to agree with your conversation partner, in fact some of the most fruitful and impactful conversations involve a disagreement. However, whether in an argument, debate, or some alternate clash of words, it is always useful to find common ground with the other person. Establishing this common ground grants both of you a safe foundation to build and grow the conversation from. Common ground can go a long way in helping both parties understand and empathize with each other, which is always valuable in a conversation.
5. Embrace Silences
Don't fill the air just for the sake of avoiding an awkward silence. Silence is a key ingredient in any great conversation, it's where thinking happens, don't interrupt the other person's train of thought, let it get to its destination. More often than not, if you exhibit some patience during the silent moments, your conversation partner will tell you what's really on their mind.
Ultimately the way you become a better communicator is by constantly communicating. Don't shy away from difficult conversations, growth and understanding lies on the other side of them. Don't forget to relax either, we tend to feed off the energy of our conversation partner, try to be a calming influence. We really hope this helps with conversations you have going forward, your mind and thoughts are beautiful, so we hope the words you speak do them justice. Keep living with Purpose!