Becoming a Great Communicator Is Not Impossible
Unfortunately, we all know what it’s like to have the perfect response pop into our head after an important situation or verbal exchange—too late to be of any use. Yet there are those individuals who always seem to know exactly what to do—and say—in any conflict or crisis. Faced with an angry customer, an uncooperative co-worker or a tense negotiation, they don’t stammer, stumble or get upset—they keep their cool and smoothly sail through the encounter, getting what they want without breaking a sweat. And, not surprisingly, the professional who demonstrates that kind of powerful poise and presence is also the person who rapidly rises through the ranks. Fortunately, great communicators are made, not born—it’s a matter of having the right tools and knowledge.
Instant Solutions to the Most Common Communication Problems
Communication problems begin when you don’t keep an open mind to what others have to say or you refuse to compromise. When you don’t strive to achieve a collaborative solution—everybody loses.
Remain objective- If you allow your emotions to take over, you can’t be objective—and you lose your effectiveness as a communicator
Listen- Listen for feelings as well as for content
Ask questions- Paraphrase and ask questions to reinforce your understanding of what the other person is saying. This reinforces your attentiveness to the conversation.
Concentrate on common ground- Understand the feelings the other person is experiencing. It helps reduce the differences.
Create common ground- When you create common ground, you’re sending a strong message of support to the other person. When you purposely mirror (imitate) another person, you’re telling that person, non-verbally, that you want to cooperate with them.
Techniques for Handling Disagreements
The most powerful tool when handling disagreements is best expressed by Stephen R. Covey: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” If you make an effort to listen to and empathize with the other person, they will make an effort to reciprocate and listen to your point of view.
Use caution- Proceed slowly and with care. Let the other person state their position first.
Get a full understanding of arguments- Listen to as much information as you can about the other person’s position.
Find out how firm their position is- If the other person hasn’t indicated how strongly they feel about the
argument, ask them at an appropriate time. After all, they might not feel all that strongly, and the disagreement may be settled quickly.
State your case- After you’ve heard the other side, and at the appropriate time (wait until their emotions have eased), tell your side as briefly, clearly and objectively as you can.
Compromise- Be ready to both receive and give concessions to save the situation and to help the other person save face.
The Five Most Powerful Words in the English Language
“I am proud of you.”
In order to motivate, you have to validate people as individuals. People are strongly motivated when their efforts are recognized and acknowledged. These five words are listed as the #1 motivator for most employees.