3 Steps to becoming the best communicator you can be
Quick tips you can start using today
(Looking for quick takeaways? Skip to the end for the bullet points, but don’t forget to come back and read it fully)
But I’ve been communicating since I was born?
Yes, you have. So has every other animal on this planet. But becoming a good communicator is not something that anyone is born with. Those who build deep personal and professional relations put in the work to hone their natural ability. While no one is perfect, here are some tips I learned from a recent leadership training that I wanted to share with you. Please note, this is just an overview and each of these points deserves a deep dive article of its own
1. Understand your filters
Each of us is born with filters through which we see our world. An infinite number of factors, including background, gender, age, culture, and experiences mold us into the unique individual that we are today. Understanding the factors that influence your perspective is key to building empathy. Acknowledging why you feel strongly about your position helps you connect better with others across the aisle and find commonalities in the midst of differences
2. Effectively using open vs closed-ended questions
Here’s an example to illustrate this point. If I’m getting dinner with my parents, depending on whom I’m with I have two different approaches. With my mother, I ask “What do you want for dinner?” while with my father I ask “I’m getting fried rice for dinner, do you want some?” The first one is open-ended giving my mother a lot more leeway to pick what she wants while the second is a clear yes or no question.
Open-ended questions are good to get more details and to understand someone else’s biases. Closed-ended questions aid in getting concrete answers that help you make decisions. Use your judgment to deploy the right type of question you need to get the results you desire
3. What you speak means little
70% of human communication is through body language. How you stand, the tone of your voice, and your eye contact are key determiners of your current state of mind. With the pandemic forcing us into our remote domiciles, focusing on good posture and eye contact in Zoom is crucial to convey confidence. Taking a few seconds to correct your posture and tone for the interaction you’re about to have is a small change that can make a big impact on the outcome. Meditation and breath control exercises are good habits to incorporate for the long term to become more relaxed and confident in yourself.
EXTRA - Praise in public, criticize in private
When you give praise to someone, especially someone who’s not there at the time, it subconsciously makes others like and trust you more. Conversely, be sure to check your biases and ask if someone wants your feedback before you give it.
Key takeaways -
Every living being is in a constant state of communicating its needs and desires. But in this world run by humans, having good communication skills is an easy way to stand out from your peers
- Understand your biases
- Effectively using open vs closed-ended questions
- Body language is key
While there’s a lot more that goes into making a good communicator, here’s to hoping that these tips give you a little boost the next time you need to network!