Some Thoughts On Communication And How To Improve Yours
Communication is, in my humble opinion, the key to success in life in general (big statement, but I’m owing it!). I loved listening to Celeste Headlee’s TedX talk on the 10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation (click here to watch it). I’ve taken some of her key messages and added my thoughts.
1. Don’t multi-task. How often are you in someone else’s space, but your brain is thinking about your next meeting, client problem, sales, what’s for dinner… Be present to the people around you – your presence is a gift.
2. Enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn. If you went into meetings ready to learn from your contacts, team members, friends etc. how would that change your outcomes in life?
3. If you ask a complicated question, you will get a simple answer. If you want to really understand, ask open-ended and simple questions – who, what, where, when, why, how?
4. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. I believe that authenticity breeds trust. Most of the time us humans spend life feeling like an impostor. It’s enlightening to let go and not be an expert at everything and be comfortable admitting it. Strangely enough, this is where I’ve found the strengths in others to support me in my journey.
5. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. I think sometimes if there is a familiar situation, we like to suggest that we understand the other person’s experience in order to show empathy. I realised as a child that this simply minimises the other person’s experience. Your life, and your experience can not POSSIBLY be the same so don’t be so arrogant to think that it is – you just end up making the other person feel unheard and misunderstood.
6. Stay out of the weeds. This is an interesting one for me. Working with teams and individuals, I’m fascinated by how we communicate. Some people like the details, some NEED the details…. but if your audience is glazing over then learn to chunk up your information.
7. LISTEN. As Celeste says, we would rather talk than listen because when we are talking we are in control. What would happen if we let go of the control and truly listened?
8. Be interested in other people. This really is the key to communication and building long-term relationships. Make it about others, and you never know where that rabbit hole may go.
What to do next:
Do you have similar or different insights to communication? I’d love to listen! Get in touch.