We communicate everyday. We communicate with friends, co-workers, strangers, even ourselves…I hope so at least. But, the way we communicate with others around us really determines how well we’re connecting with others, and how we are making other people feel. The pronunciation of our words, the body language we use, our eye contact, etc. All of these things have an impact on what our communication style is like and what type of vibe we give off.
You ever hear someone say, “You know I just really like so and so, he/she is always enjoyable to talk to and I feel like they are really listening when I speak to them.” Or, “You know so and so always asks great questions, I feel very connected to them when I’m in conversation with them.” I’ll be honest, people have said this about me. I am in no way bragging or trying to boast about myself, but I’ve been studying communication since my early days in college. It all started when I had no clue on how to talk to women, and from there it just propelled in all areas of my life. I learned that the person in any conversation asking questions is the one really in control of the conversation and can steer it in any way they would like. Below, I want to discuss three really easy ways to improve your communication skills. This can apply with basically anything in life, whether that be dating, business, family, etc.
1.) Asking Questions
Okay, so yes you can ask some questions. But, really ask yourself “Are these good questions I am asking the person I am in conversation with?” I try to always keep in mind, “The Five W’s and One H.” Who, What, How, Where, When & Why. Now, why these? Well, the five W’s and one H are basically words that are used to tell a story. The majority of conversations you are using these words without even realizing it while something is being exemplified. Examples can range from many topics, but an example I always like to bring up is, “How did that make you feel?” Now, really think for a second when the last time someone asked you that question. Whenever you’re diving deep into someone emotions it makes them remember you. And again this is in any situation in life. I discuss this a lot in my dating/relationship articles, but how you make someone else feel is extremely important. Let’s get back to the basics of the Five W’s and One H!
There’s a reason I capitalized this, but if you’re able to become one of the best listeners you can be it will propel you in every area of your life. You’ll begin connecting with others more easily, you’ll probably start making more money because you will begin to spot opportunities, you’ll begin to remember and make others feel appreciated and heard, etc. The list goes on and on. Listening is something I still struggle with to this day, and am always trying to get better at it. How many times have you heard, “I always forget your name, or I’m terrible with names.” I think sometimes this is an escape for people, when in reality they really weren’t listening to the person when they were having a conversation, or they really just didn’t care to remember their name. I’ll be honest, I do this sometimes, even it’s just meeting a person for the first time in a social setting. The people that advance fast in life and in business are people that remember things about others. I know it sounds cliche, but I really think it to be to true. A good practice I use whether I am in a social setting or it involves something for work is that when someone tells me their name I either type it into my notes on my phone if I am going to see this person again, or I repeat it in my head after they tell me their name. A good practice to do as well is continuously use the other person’s name when you’re in conversation with them. Just keep repeating it. You’ll remember the person’s name and it will also make the other person feel important. Ask yourself this question, “How did I feel when someone called me by my name when I least expected it?”
3.) Improve Your Body Language
Body language is crucial. You are what you do and the way you act. Really start taking notice of what you’re doing with your body language when you’re speaking to someone. Take notice of what others are doing when they’re talking to you. I’m sure this has happened to all of us and some of you may even do it without even realizing it, but I can’t tell you how many times I come into contact with people that aren’t looking at me when I am talking to them. To me, it’s very hard to have a conversation with a person when they aren’t making direct eye contact with you. Take notice of how others are mirroring your body language or how you’re mirroring theirs. As humans, we do this subconsciously. When someone mirrors your body language, it’s a really great sign that this person enjoys what you’re saying and they feel a connection towards you! Another great aspect of body language is to pay attention to what your hands are doing. Are they in your pockets, at your side, arms crossed, etc. They all mean something different in certain situations, but I believe when talking to someone one on one you should be standing up straight with your hands at your side obviously depending on if you’re using hand gestures or not.
There really are many ways to improve your communication skills, but I really believe the three ways I listed above are the most important. As humans, we do things subconsciously without even realizing it and it could totally be affecting all aspects of our life without even realizing it. I think the most important state to be in is just a state of self awareness when it comes to body language. Notice how your body reacts in certain situations and work on improving!