Do you ever feel offended when people talk AT you rather than TO you? Has anyone ever misunderstood what you were trying to say to them? Have you ever smiled while delivering bad news? Believe it or not, these things happen. And it all comes back to the way you communicate with people. What you say, how you say it and when you say it matters. Below are just a few basic rules to help keep you on track. Feel free to use these tips at work, with your friends or in any other general conversations you have from day to day.
Always make your intentions clear. If you have a key message that you want your recipient/audience to understand, make sure to emphasize that point more than once. You never want your audience to misinterpret what you’re saying. Unclear communication calls for unclear results.
Be aware of your facial expressions.
Your face helps convey your story. In that case, pay attention to what story your face is telling. If you’re delivering sad news, make sure your face shows it. If you’re excited, make sure your face shows it. If you’re empathizing with someone, MAKE SURE YOUR FACE SHOWS IT.
Use hand gestures.
There’s some debate about whether or not hand gestures enhance your communication. I say it does. About 65 percent of the global population are visual learners. That means, if there’s a way you can visually show what you’re talking about, then do it.
Communicate in a timely fashion.
Give your recipients the best information at the right time. If you’re communicating something urgent, then time is of the essence. If your message requires a low-priority approach, then don’t communicate it as breaking news. Give people time to prioritize, both physically and mentally.
Express conflict with “I”.
In this case, be careful of the dangerous “you”. For reasons I know not of, people hate when you fly off at the mouth blaming them for everything (even if it is their fault). Instead, express your feelings in terms of “I”. Or at least, start your sentences that way.
Offensive: You forgot me. You don’t care about me.
Acceptable: I felt like I was forgotten…I felt like you didn’t care about me anymore.
Make sure you express yourself purposefully. Meaning, no one will take you serious if you hesitate or get anxious while you speak. If the time calls for it, be assertive and don’t let anyone else’s opinions stop you from expressing yours.
Leave the sarcasm at home.
…if you can. And I know. It’s hard. Especially when you know someone who always asks you silly questions. And to be quite honest, I tend to be a very sarcastic person myself. But one problem with this is that many people don’t know how to separate their sarcasm from the real message they’re trying to convey. So try to save your sarcasm for unimportant times, like happy hour or something.
Think of how much you communicate with people in a day. Even when you don’t realize you’re doing it — smiling at a stranger, having small talk with the store clerk, starting a conversation with your hair dresser. Remember, how you communicate with others has a big impact on your life. I hope I’ve given you something to think about. Now go. Go out into the world and communicate!
Thanks for reading 🙂