Improve your communication with one word
You may recall a promise to revisit this topic of effective communication last week,
Well today it’s here!
What is this one magical word that instantly improves conversations?
(Apologies if the photo threw you off, but no, the word is not awkward. In fact, awkwardness is an instant conversation killer, so that’s definitely not it)
Listening. That’s obvious, it’s something you do every day; but are you any good at it??
If you want others to respect you and feel valued by you, being a good listener is imperative. This “good” listener idea implies, of course, that there is a vast difference between vaguely paying attention to someone and truly focusing on them and comprehending what they’re saying.
How then to become a true listener?
- Dive In: Ask questions, find out more about what the speaker is telling you. One of the best ways to show interest is probing for information. Now don’t take this the wrong way, we don’t want you interrogating everyone you meet, that’s a turn off; but desiring to know more about the topic and encouraging the speaker to spend even more time talking about themselves or their interests is instantly appealing to them.
- Repeat & Clarify: This is especially important when discussing with someone of a different area of expertise (say a team project at work that involves multiple departments). When you are uncertain, you should always summarize to the speaker what you’ve gathered is their point and ask if you have correctly interpreted their meaning.
- Body Language: Emphasizing appropriate body language is the final step. There are definitely markers that you are interested in a conversation: eye contact, head nodding and leaning in. Most of these reactions are subconscious so don’t fret about it too much– it’s obvious you are trying too hard. But do be aware of and check your subtle reactions.