Communication is one of the most important skills a leader has. The ability to clearly communicate with the people around you is vital to the success of any business, marriage or relationship.
When it comes to any kind of leadership, it’s all about how you handle the relationships around you. Whether you are at home, work, school or out with friends, communication sets the tone. People want to be heard, understood and appreciated. If you can do that we’ll, you will be a great leader, spouse or friend.
Here are a few ideas on how to improve as a communicator. Do these these things consistently and your relationships will improve.
– understand your listeners frame of reference – this is important because everyone has a different filter. They have different experiences, personalities, hurts and hang-ups. So you need to think about how they might view what you are saying, not from your perspective but theirs.
– know the facts and the truth about the topic – focusing on the facts and truth can help take the emotion out of it. It also will help your listener understand the why behind your message.
– shed light on the issue – you need to clearly explain why this issue is important to your listener.
– get their full attention – you must know the best time to have the talk. Only address important issues when you have someone’s full attention. You might need to make a statement or ask a question that will get their attention. Never use negative tactics like sarcasm or yelling or swearing.
– use word pictures or stories – people remember pictures and stories much better than words. Try to use a story to bring clarity to what you are communicating and why you are feeling a certain way.
– focus on the real issues – it takes work to figure out the real issues that are driving someone’s behavior. Asking questions to try to understand the real issue is important, but you must listen without reacting or challenging them as they answer. Patiently ask clarify questions and even repeat back what they said.
– finally, be interactive – what I mean by that is don’t lecture someone, make it more of a conversation. When you listen before you speak, you send the message to the other person that you care about them. If things begin to escalate stop, take a deep breath and ask a clarifying question. If you cant do that, then you need a break until you or the other person are in a better place to talk.
Communication is something we do every day. If we don’t work at it and improve the way we communicate all of our relationships will suffer. If this is an area of struggle find someone to coach you, it will be well worth the effort.
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