What is communication?
It’s easy to think that it’s about your ability to get your point across. But even people in positions of power can be poor communicators. In fact, 70% of all people at work say they aren’t engaged.
Good communication is about being respected and tolerated. Bad communicators, as talented as they may be, tend to end up fired.
If you never seem to get along with people in the office, it may be time to work on your communication skills. This article is going to show you some of the tips you can take advantage of to become a better communicator.
It’s Not About You
This is a fact that you need to get into your skull before you go any further. There are so many problems in the world and the reality is you as an individual don’t matter to that many people. In the grand scheme of things, you are one of billions. There are amazing things happening every day, and the chances are none of them include you.
Acknowledging this fact is not about putting yourself down it’s about putting things into perspective. Grasp the fact that you are just one out of many. Be humble and be willing to acknowledge that the world doesn’t revolve around you constantly.
Listening is What Communication is All About
When people think communication they think about the signals they are sending to everyone else. This is only a small part of what communication is. Good communicators tend to listen more than they speak.
There’s nothing people hate more than someone who can never shut up. Listen to the stories of others and you will not only learn more, but everything you say will be taken to mean something. If you are filling up your conversations with fluff because you wish to hear the sound of your own voice, you will find that everybody has already stopped caring.
Ask the Right Questions
We all think that we have the right answers. What many people fail to do is ask the right questions to begin with. Asking one question will inevitably bring up hundreds more. Asking a question and listening to the answer will help you to dig ever deeper so you can find out even more truths.
An example of bad communication is the pre-canned television interview. The questions asked are the most basic questions anyone could come up with. And the answers are always the same, regardless of the personality, because that’s what the network wants.
Be curious in your questioning and really absorb what the other person is saying to you. People love it when they are asked about what they think.
Tell a Story
Anyone who has ever been in marketing is well aware that storytelling is a big part of it. As a good communicator, you need to think of telling a story in the same way as marketing yourself. No child wants to hear a lecture about why you shouldn’t get into fights at school. They want to hear about that time you actually got into a fight at school and what happened.
The story can say a lot more than simply telling someone the bare facts. A good story will keep people interested, and that will label you as a person of interest.
Listen to the stories of others and tell your stories. That’s how a good dialogue happens.
What does laughing have to do with being a good communicator?
Laughing comes from a time before language. Like grunting, it’s a primal method of communicating with someone. Laughing is a timeless way of making someone happy. It has the power to lighten the atmosphere and take the tension out of the air. Someone who laughs regularly is someone people want to be around.
It’s also a method of making people safe and comfortable around you. Did you know laughing is used by animals for survival by letting the rest of the herd know that there’s no danger in the area? This effect is exactly the same when you are dealing with other people. It creates comfort.
It should come as no surprise that people who laugh regularly tend to have the biggest crowd of people around them.
Last Word – Becoming a Better Communicator
In many ways, becoming a better communicator is about not being a jerk. It’s about having the courage to take off the serious mask that you are wearing in order to let people see the real you.
How will you work on your communication skills?
About the Author
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify