What does the phrase “be a better communicator” mean to you?
The first things that come to mind usually focus on being understood. Perhaps we think we should speak more clearly or explain ourselves better. We always look at how we speak and how others hear us.
The thing is… communication is a two-way street. For successful communication, while one person talks the other needs to listen. While our desire to communicate better brings our focus to the speaker, one of the most powerful ways we can become a better communicator is to become a better listener!
Next time you are talking with someone, try one or more of these steps:
- Focus on what they are saying until they are done speaking. Then create your response.
- Be patient. Breathe, and focus on what is going on right now rather than what you need to do next.
- Look directly at the person speaking – especially at their face. What additional information do their facial expressions tell you about what they are saying?
- Watch their hands and their body movements while they speak. How do they feel about what they are saying?
- Occasionally nod or make an acknowledging sound that lets the speaker know that you are following what they are saying.
If any of these steps are new behaviors for you, they might feel a bit uncomfortable at first so try them on a few different times. We live in a fast-moving, impatient world. These may not be easy skills to implement at first, but it’s worth it. When you improve your communication by becoming a better listener, you will respond more often to what the speaker was actually trying to say rather than what you think they might have said.
How does this style of communicating by being a better listener feel different compared to when you do not follow these steps?
In what ways does it impact your communication experience?