How To Increase Your Communication Skills

by Jean-Paul Cortes

How do you get your messages across?

At some point during your life, has it felt that the person you're speaking with doesn't quite get what you're saying?

Even if you are sure that anyone would...

You may be right. But there's a lot more behind communicating than what you may realize.

All of us communicate on many levels, verbally and non-verbally.

Language has a lot of new nuances. How we say things has a huge impact in how others understand us.

Even how we feel when we say something makes a difference.

There were at least two parts in any process of communication. Whatever we communicate, someone else is interpreting and then, there's a response.

How that other person views the world, will influence any message you transmit.

Your world, my world

Have you ever wondered how your particular way of viewing the world influences how you think, how you feel, how you act?

Language, reflects the way we see the world.

It reflects emotions and how we feel at particular point in our life. Whatever content that message includes, is transmitted to the recipient.

And other people, always have a different way of looking at things. Different emotions, different thoughts, a different world altogether.

How your recipient understands your message, depends entirely on himself.

The stories we tell ourselves

We all have a voice in our heads, let's face it.

For the most part, we spend our days listening to that voice. So much so, that we end up believing that that voice is us.

We tell ourselves stories of the way things are, of how things should be and how things work.

We tell ourselves what we want and what we need, and we keep on talking to ourselves incessantly.

This makes it very hard for us to listen to others' stories. In fact, it makes it impossible.

Let's say that you are trying to convince someone through verbal persuasion. Your first roadblock, will be to find and share language in a way that creates in your listener the same thoughts you are having.

You say something, and they understand "their" thing. Along with every other thing that they've felt, learned, seen or lived.

They may not believe you, or trust you. Why would they trust you, if what you're saying goes against who they are?

Becoming a listener

Did you know we usually only recall 50% of what we have heard immediately after listening to someone speak?

No wonder most people feel like they're not heard...

If you want to change the way people hear you, learn how to listen.

Listening is truly understanding the someone else's point of view, how they think, feel and move through the world.

If you don't understand other people's point of view and how they feel about a situation, you won't be able to change them.

They won't be motivated to change and nothing you say will move them towards action.

Communicating well implies finding ways to understand how people think.

If you determine what others' mental maps of cause and effect are, which can only be done by listening, you open the door to understanding.

After listening, ask questions

Most of us think we listen, but I'm sure we've all caught ourselves not attending to the person who is speaking to us.

We are busily doing other things or thinking about doing them, while others are talking to us.

Often, we are concocting an answer in our heads while the other person is talking. Focusing on the solving their problem and not on what they are actually saying.

Mostly, we are making judgments, opinions, or even beliefs about someone or something that is being said – while they are talking!

We are not really in that space where everything takes place - “the present moment.”

Listen actively and ask questions. The way people communicate depends on where they are at, that means that you have to ask questions to understand the particular way of how that other person's world is.

This relates to all human relationships, we have to understand not only what the other person is saying, but what's behind the words. That's truly important.

Only then, will you grasp the big picture. You will have the key to communicating better.

It also gives you some responsibility, in the way you choose to communicate. You will no longer get away with telling someone else that they don't understand you.

You own the message...

You'll also have the advantage of having the knowledge that whatever someone says to you, has nothing to do with you but with them.

You create the space to be able to see the person behind the words and understand the meaning of the message.

And this is powerful indeed...

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