Having good communication skills means that you can convey your messages easily and simply so that other people understand what you want, react in the way that you want, and do what you want. With the right communication skills, you can boost your success quickly in your career and relationships. If you are striving towards success in any aspect of your life, then following are some important insights that will help you get there.
1. Be Authentic With Your Words
First and foremost, be authentic. When you are not authentic, people see that and mistrust you, which hurts your rapport with them. Even if you have some conflicting views, it is better to be authentic than it is to pretend to be someone you are not.
Moreover, when you are not authentic, people don’t know exactly what you want. Success in relationships and career are almost impossible because you are telling people something that is not true. Honesty is the best way to get what you want out of every relationship.
Perhaps, lately, Donald Trump has been the best example of this. He is a man who says what is on his mind and is very direct with his words and meaning. It is clear what he is thinking and where his mind is at. Yet, despite some of the things he has said, he still has a lot of support in his campaign. In fact, he has had support throughout his entire career.
According to the polls, fans like that Donald Trump is telling it like it is. It’s obvious he is not reading from a script or consulting with anyone on what to say. He doesn’t worry about that stuff. Instead, he says things that are on his mind or that he thinks will get a reaction, which is what his authentic self wants him to say.
Of course, you don’t have to be mean or degrading to people to get your authentic point across. In fact, the more compassionate you are with your words, the better you will be received. But, when you communicate in a way that showcases your honest opinions and desires, you will earn the respect of other people even if they don’t agree with you.
2. Be Very Clear About What You Are Trying To Say
One of the most important communication skills is clarity. Leaving ambiguity at the door, and make it crystal clear about what you are trying to say, will help people understand where you are coming from and what you want, and help avoid future issues from arising.
For instance, in relationships miscommunication is common. Something said could be interpreted in one way by one person and another way by the other person. Both people move forward with different expectations, and when those expectations don’t match up, all hell breaks loose.
In business, it is very important to be clear about what you want. You can’t get the results you want unless you clearly define what they are and how to get them. Not just to other people, but to yourself as well.
3. Be Approachable
In order to start a real conversation that gets results, you have to be approachable. If you are not approachable, people will not open up to you, discuss issues they are having with you, and interact with you in a way that makes your relationship with them stronger.
Being approachable means that you are willing to talk to other people and listen to their point of view. It means that you make time for other people when they want to discuss something rather than only making time when you want to discuss something. It also means using your body language to show them that you are really willing to listen.
Body language is a huge part of communication that most people overlook. If someone approaches you and you turn your head towards them but not the rest of your body, then you are being unapproachable. You are closing yourself off to them and showing them that they do not have your attention for whatever reason. Moreover, giving the a dirty look, smirking, showing annoyance, putting your hands up in the air, scratching the back of your neck, rolling your eyes, or crossing your arms are all body language messages that tell people you are not approachable.
The best way to appear approachable with your body language is to turn towards whoever you are talking to or wants your attention, make eye contact with them, and show signs of interest by nodding.
4. Validate Other People
Of course, it’s not enough just to be approachable when it comes to communication skills. You have to validate what other people are bringing into the conversation or they are not going to want to talk to you. Everyone wants to be validated for their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions.
When you are quick to reply with negative statements about what they are contributing to the conversation, you instantly make them feel bad about the conversation and give off a superior attitude that promotes dislike and lack of cooperation.
To validate other people, you can repeat what they are saying, reword what they are saying, or include what they are saying in your reply. It is important to let them know that you heard what they said and why they said it. If you don’t, they will feel unheard and they will not be able to focus on the conversation at hand constructively; instead, they will be focusing on your lack of validation and how they can make you see things from their point of view.
5. Do Not Make Claims You Can’t Back Up
When you make a claim that you cannot back up, you’re not adding anything into the conversation. This applies to both work and personal conversations.
For instance, a lot of people will make a claim that their partner is cheating on them without proof. This claim obviously upsets their partner and is grounds for an argument that can last for days, weeks, months, or even years. This claim can put a huge damper on the relationship that is almost impossible to get over.
In work relationships, unfounded claims can make coworkers angry with each other, slow down productivity, decrease creativity, and put a general negative vibe in the place of work that creates a work environment nobody wants to be in.
Therefore, do not make any baseless claims in a conversation. This is one of those communication skills that takes practice because it requires thinking before you speak. Your emotions may cause you to say things that are not true simply to get the upper hand in a conversation, but it will always backfire in the long run.
6. Do Not Put People Down
Another aspect of bringing your emotions into a conversation is that you can easily put people down to try to position yourself in a higher space during a conversation. This happens every day. You’ve probably had it happen to you in the past month, at least. Strangers, friends, family members, and even strangers will try to put you down so that they look better in the conversation. And, it may not always be a big put down, instead, it may be a cleverly said put down.
For instance, my friend’s mother is the queen of saying rude things that make people feel inferior without actually directly saying them. During my friend’s wedding, her mother and her best friend were discussing dresses to wear for the wedding. Her mother told her best friend that she needed to go to tent store to get the dress. Needless to say, this made her friend feel as though she thought she was very fat, but she never directly said she was fat. She covered it up in a joke, even though it was apparent what her true feelings were. I mean honestly, nobody would say that somebody unless they actually thought it on some level.
When you do put people down, they will close off from the conversation and future conversations. Nobody wants to talk to someone who is going to make them feel bad, so saying little to nothing is better than sharing their true feelings or opinions only to be knocked down again.
7. Use A Universal Vocabulary
Just because you have a vocabulary full of words that other people don’t understand, doesn’t mean you should use them in a conversation. There is always an easier version of a word to use that everyone can understand and relate to.
For instance, Dr. Phil obviously knows a lot of lingo that is used in the therapist world. However, when he talks to people on his show, he uses down to earth sayings and words that everybody can understand. This helps people feel more connected to him, and removes the fear of being judged by him for being inferior in some way.
This is something that I have had to deal with. I’m not saying I have a huge vocabulary, but I tend to use words that I don’t need to be used. For example, I will use the word ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use’. They have the same meaning, but one is more widely used.
I become aware my vocabulary when I’m in a conversation with someone who uses words that I don’t understand. It makes me feel as though I have to get a definition of what they are trying to say, which ruins the flow of the conversation and – quite frankly, ticks me off.
This doesn’t just apply to big words. It also applies to lingo that only people in your profession or niche would understand, as well as slang words that are used in your everyday conversations with friends. This is especially true when speaking to someone who is out of your age group or culture.
8. Do Not Speak Over Other People
Part of communicating effectively is listening effectively. And part of listening means not talking while someone else is talking. If you talk while someone else is talking then you are clearly thinking about your own thoughts and not about what they said. And, if you start talking the moment someone else’s finished talking, it shows that you have been mulling over your own thoughts as they spoke, and not actually listening to the meaning behind their words.
This applies to both business and personal relationships. In business, people who talk over other people are viewed as arrogant or even bullies in some case. It is hard to express your work views if someone is consistently trying to share theirs overtop of yours. In personal relationships, talking over another person just means that you do not think their point is valid and it shows a lack of respect for them. You often see this kind of behavior in unhealthy relationships on reality shows.
For instance, try watching the Steve Wilkos show without seeing a couple that talks overtop of each other. They will raise their voices as each one tries to get their ‘right’ opinion across, and in the end nobody has listened to anyone except for themselves. No wonder their relationship is so bad.
9. Let Others Know When They Are Communicating Ineffectively
This is one of those communication skills that comes in handy in the office. You need to let other people know that they are communicating ineffectively without putting them down or making them feel inferior. To do this, you simply express your feelings about the conversation.
For example, letting someone know that they are talking overtop of you can be done in two ways. You can speak overtop of them and let them know how horrible they are being in the conversation, or you can let them know that you did not feel as though you were heard. The latter will help them see things from your point of view and avoid an emotional outburst.
That is called constructive criticism. When you offer an opinion that is valid and has a good reason behind it, other people are more willing to listen to your criticism without getting hurt, angry, or defensive. It is one of those communication skills that comes in handy in every conversation.
10. Keep The Conversation Going
Lastly, is important to be able to keep the conversation going. Especially if the conversation is working through an issue, trying to find a solution, or allowing you to get to know the other person’s viewpoint better.
One way to keep the conversation going is to become a better listener. When you really listen to what people are saying, you will hear about things that they value. People tend to speak about things that mean something to them during a conversation, especially when they are trying to get their point across or give you insight into who they are.
For instance, someone who is trying to convey their viewpoint in a relationship will use examples that mean something to them. They may talk about an instance that hurt them or something that was said that made them feel bad. To keep the conversation going, you can refer back to one of the things they mentioned and ask them about it. The chances are good that they will have a lot to say about that particular thing, and it can branch the conversation notes into a whole new level.