Sometimes just having a plan can make a huge difference in how well you communicate. So, before you open your mouth, review these 4 steps.
I promise you that if you commit to focusing on these 4 small steps, and practice them, you will become a better communicator. Try it and see!
Observation is where is starts. Pay close attention to body language – it is our primary means of communication! Don’t be distracted or try to multi-task. Simply focus and observe. Don’t concentrate on what you want to say, concentrate on observing and listening…
Pause! Again, don’t be distracted by anything. Just really listen. Don’t answer the phone, don’t fiddle; just watch and concentrate on being a listener – not a talker! So, for heaven’s sake don’t interrupt! This takes some practice – we all like to talk more than we listen.
Ironically, as your listening skills improve, so will your aptitude for conversation. A friend of mine once complimented me on my conversational skills. I hadn’t said more than four words, but I had listened to her for over 20 minutes.
Now, make sure you are connecting….
Maintain eye contact, to the degree that you all remain comfortable. Show interest and concern when appropriate and ask for clarification if needed. Ask questions and paraphrase to make sure you understand. Pay close attention to what is being said and asked of you and get ready to follow-up…
Always thank the person for sharing with you before you respond. Now you are rewarded for your patience and you can say what you need to say in a kind and respectful way! Take your time. Remain focused on responding to the issues addressed and not the person. And, always follow through on everything you’ve promised to do.
Now, go out there and consciously follow these 4 steps and watch what happens! Having a plan is sometimes all you need to improve your communication!
What is your biggest communication challenge? Leave a comment and I’ll take it on in a future article!
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.
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