By: Shawn Beekman // Apex High AOIT – Class of 2018
Communication used to be essential for survival in the wild. Being warned of incoming danger through verbal or nonverbal communication could be the difference between life and death. Today it’s not as extreme but if you want people to trust, respect, and understand you clearly, it is essential that you master the art of communication. Here we go over some tips to help improve your communication so you can succeed in any career path:
Listen to hear what they’re saying, show interest, and further the conversation.
Communication is an “exchanging of information or news”. This means there are two sides to the exchange: talking and listening. Listening shows respect, interest, and allows you to understand what the other person is saying. Whenever you talk you want to be responding to what the other person is saying to further the conversation and further the understanding. It’s important to focus on them while they are speaking and what they are saying. It helps to repeat the words they say in your head and looking at them so you don’t get distracted. While it is important to think before you speak, it is more important that you hear everything they have to say. Don’t keep a response in bouncing around your head and say it as soon as they stop talking because then you just missed everything they were saying by thinking about what you were going to say.
2. Body Language
Have good body language to show interest, be more likable, and engaged.
Your body language subconsciously has tells which let the other person know how you are reacting to the interaction. Facing towards them, looking them in the eyes, nodding your head, smiling, and standing up straight are things you should be doing to show you are interested – the other person will feel respected and understood. Turning away from them, not showing eye contact, negative facial expressions, and slouching are signs that you don’t want to be in the conversation and make them feel disrespected. It’s important to identify how your body language comes off to other people and how other people’s body language reacts to you to gauge how well the conversation is going.
3. Think Before You Speak
Think before you speak to collect your thoughts and better convey ideas.
The major key to speaking clearly and getting your point across is rehearsal. With enough time anyone can figure out the perfect way to change their wording to get a point across and the best way to do that is to rehearse it in your head or write it out. Before you engage in the conversation, it’s helpful to play out how it will go, how they will react to what you say, and how you will react to that, etc. because the conversation flows better when you already know what to say and you can figure out how to convey your point.
Be confident because it makes you more likable, reliable, and trustworthy.
The most important skill anyone can have is confidence. Confidence is walking into a room and not caring what other people think of you, you feel comfortable or confident in yourself to function normally without worrying about what people think. Arrogance is walking into a room and expecting everyone to like you. There is a fine line between being confident in yourself – being able to perform at your maximum ability – and thinking you are a gift to humanity. Confidence undoubtedly shows in your presence, body language, and attitude when talking and sells you to be more respectable and trustworthy. This makes a huge difference in how you come across people and how they treat you.
Be open-minded because it makes you more likable, knowledgeable, and aware of different perspectives.
People have their own opinions and nobody likes to be told they’re wrong. Understand that even when you think or know you are right that you shouldn’t argue with someone or call them stupid for being wrong because that ruins your personal image. Being open to new ideas and other’s opinions also means you are more well-rounded and able to see things from different perspectives, which is crucial when making important decisions.
6. Build A Connection
Build connections with people to have friends, conversations, and earn favors in the future.
People have all the power in the world in the workplace. It’s important to be friendly to people and make friendships. If you want that job, raise, or promotion you will want to be liked by the boss because they’ll be more likely to give a raise to the good worker who is friendly than the good worker who doesn’t talk to anyone and is always serious. Or on the other side, if you are the boss and want your workers to want to do work it’s important to be friendly to them and treat them well so they want to work for you and do their best work for you. If people hate their boss then they won’t give their work 100%, they’ll do 70% or 60%. Essentially you should have mutual relationships where you get what you give. There’s a middle ground with this though. Being a people pleaser is risky because you are easily abusable and will often get walked on so know your line. But being unpleasant to people will make you widely disliked.
Although some of these tips are hard to implement into your daily life it is very helpful to at least know about them and remember them occasionally. If you listen, have good body language, think before you speak, have confidence, be open-minded, and build connections then you will be way more successful than someone who doesn’t.
Doyle, Alison. “These Are the Communication Skills Employers Look For In Employees.” The Balance, 28 Nov. 17 ADAD, www.thebalance.com/communication-skills-list-2063779