Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills - By Dr. Dorene Lehavi 1) Listen without judgment. The key to good communication is listening well. Save your judging for later
after you have heard and understood what was said.
2) Listen with the willingness to be swayed to the other person's
opinion. No obligation to actually being swayed, but stay open to the option.
3) Listen without thinking about what
you will say next. Take time before you respond.
4) Do not be invested in being right. Being right is not the point.
If you must be right, you are not able to listen nor communicate because you have set up a barrier already. If you are always
right that means the other person is always wrong. That cannot be true.
5) If your mind wanders, ask for repetition.
We all are subject to distraction. Try to stay focused.
6) In all cases repeat back what you heard and ask if it is
7) Listen to yourself. Find quiet moments and pay attention to what you are hearing from yourself. Does your
body tighten up about certain issues. Body language is not something to read only in
8) Say it honestly,
but with consideration for the listener's feelings. Be polite, respectful and sincere.
9) Understand and acknowledge
that most things are not black or white, but somewhere in a gray area. Get comfortable with gray.
10) Have integrity
and build trust. Don't say what you don't mean. Don't promise what you won't or can't fulfill. Follow through with any committments
Good listening skills take practice. Specific coaching may be necessary if you find you have communication
issues with your boss, colleagues, subordinates, partners or personal relationships.
Powerful Communication: The
Key that Opens or Closes That All Important Door - By Connie Butler
Language: The Key that Opens or Closes that Important
What prevents people from using their native language or secondary languages confidently comes down to seven traps
that most people fall into.
Language is one of the things that sets us apart as beings, one of the things that essentially
defines us as humans. When language is used well it can elicit very deep feeling in others, motivate others to action and
define the nature of our relationships. Sometimes in poetry the juxtaposition of two words or a certain phrase can bring tears
to the eyes, call up a whole host of imagery and move us deeply. We have seen language recently used in the politics of persuasion,
used for good or ill – depending on your viewpoint. When we use language to express our true feelings to someone it
can open and deepen the connection between us. Language is a very powerful tool. How we use language shapes our world both
internally and externally. How you use self-talk – what you say to yourself about yourself and about the world directly
shapes your experience of both yourself and the world. How you deliver communication shapes the way the world responds to
you. We can use language more effectively in both spheres: internal and external and directly influence the health and power
of our personal relationships and our business relationships.
Connie Glaser, a leading expert on patterns of communication
has come up with 7 self-sabotage traps that diminish the power of our speech. I want to speak about each of these traps and
help you identify which ones may be just unconscious ways or habits you have developed to communicate. In my work as a coach
I always see that when we can make an automatic habit conscious and see it clearly we have much more leverage with which to
change it. We have choices!
As I looked at the 7 Steps that Ms Glaser outlined I realized that they were an acronym
– I am always looking for these when I teach because it makes it so much easier for people to remember. What happens
when we don’t use language effectively is that we deflect the power of it – we diminish the impact of it- we in
fact don’t get our real message across.
DEFLECT: The seven traps that derail our message
“You may think this sounds stupid, but…”
Effusive Apologies: “I’m sooooo sorry…”
“kinda, sorta like….”
Long- Taking too long to get to the point – wrapping a point in so much other
information that people lose the train of what you are saying.
Emotions get in the way: Perhaps crying when you are really
angry, being afraid
so not communicating at all…..
Credit- Not accepting credit.
Tag Questions: “That
was an excellent report, don’t you think?”
Each of these “habits of speech” serves to deflect
the power or clarity of our communication.
ü Disclaimers take the legs out from under what you say so there is no foundation.
The person is asked to agree that what you are saying is stupid.
ü Effusive Apologies tend to obscure what you are saying,
your communication gets lost in all of the apology and the underlying message is that you are inn error.
ü Fumbling in
your conversational style is a habit that communicates that you do not really know what you are talking about or that you
would really rather someone would ignore it.
ü Taking too long to get to the point hides your real message in an avalanche
of words- the essential message is hard if not impossible to discern.
ü When emotions get in the way people sometimes don’t
deliver what they are really trying to convey because they are afraid of the outcome, embarrassed by what they want to say
or wrap the communiqué in the opposite emotion i.e. they are really angry but break down instead.
ü Not accepting credit
for something - saying things like “Oh it was nothing” or “Really I don’t deserve the credit”
etc. deflects attention from you and tends to communicate that you would rather not be noticed.
ü Tag Lines or asking a
question at the end of a statement robs that statement of any power. It is sort of like blowing up a balloon and the moment
you give it to someone insert a pin in it.
Often these are habits of communication, patterns of speech that we have
learned and have become habitual. If we can identify the habit we, of course, can make different choices in how we communicate.
Spend some tine observing your “favorite” trap and experiment with another more powerful approach. Drop the tag
line and make a declarative statement, stop for a moment when someone gives you credit and allow it to sink in, make a direct
statement without a disclaimer. All of these shifts brings power and clarity back into your communication.
I am currently
offering a workshop in person and by teleclass that explores this and deepens your facility to use language more powerfully.
Please be in contact with me if you would like more information.
The Grammar of Good Communication
- By David Yarian, Ph.D.
No, this isn't
a rehash of primary-school grammar; nor is it a discourse on the finer points of rhetoric!
are some practical points which can make a powerful
difference in the efficacy of your communication - whether on the job, with your spouse
or when you're among friends.
What is "good communication?"
Much of what passes for
conversation is a play with two performers, each impatiently waiting for the other to finish so they can declaim the lines they've been rehearsing as the other is talking.
Good communication is using words to express meaning - clearly, efficiently & without ambiguity.
This is most important in the communication which takes place between two people who want to make themselves understood in order to have a useful exchange of significant information about themselves or their relationship.
This information is likely to have an emotional component, & may be a complex mixture of fact & feeling. This is typically the language of relationship, though in reality many relationships are rather devoid of this level of
I read a research study long ago
which looked at the quantity & quality of communication between spouses with children.
The overall amount of communication between spouses was surprisingly small (20 minutes a day, or thereabouts); of that some 80 to 90% was spent talking about the children, the day's schedule,
plans to be made, or tasks to be done.
Only some 10 to
20% (of the 20 minutes!) was "relationship
talk" between the spouses, where they shared
meaningful dialogue about the nature of their relationship.
The need for more quality communication within marriages is the subject of another piece.
Here I wish to make some structural or grammatical suggestions which can greatly enhance the efficiency & accuracy of
It's important to make "I statements" - sentences which begin with the word "I".
A common colloquialism
in America is to say something like "You feel mad when someone cuts you off in traffic," when the meaning intended is "I feel mad when someone cuts me off...".
Attention to this simple structural
detail of communication will greatly add to clarity & increased understanding. Too much important communication is muddied with vague or imprecise language. Of course, sometimes it feels safer to hide behind ambiguities or vagueness than to say what's really felt.
The little word
"but" is very important - it subtly but firmly negates all that has gone before.
That word signals
the listener to pay particular attention to what follows, because there's the real point of the message!
In emotional or relationship
communication, "but" is a slippery character. It allows the speaker to say all the right
things in the first part of the sentence & then slip the verbal knife between the ribs with the "but."
"Never" & "always" are likewise tricky words - & rarely accurate. Communication which includes statements like "You always..." or "I never..." are likely to generate
more heat than light. Life is rarely so simple that something is always or never the case.
everyday speech, we often confuse feeling & thought. "I feel that the world would be a better place if..." isn't a statement of feeling (emotion), but a thought or cognition.
people are based upon emotion; we are constantly listening for the subtle cues in conversation to see where we stand, or how our friend / spouse / lover is feeling towards us at this moment. Clarity in labelling emotions & thoughts helps the listener know how to receive the message.
which captures the richness & nuance of emotion as well as thought is learned behavior. None of us is born knowing how to communicate clearly. It's possible
to improve relationships by improving communication. Simple, direct, clear & unambiguous
communication with those persons who are most significant is a skill well worth learning.
The Handshake, a Mighty Communication Tool - By Jan Noyes A handshake is often part of that all-important, made only once, first impression. Introductions can
produce some anxiety when we aren’t sure what to do. Rules are
more lax than they used to be, but following these
guidelines helps to avoid anxiety and creates an atmosphere for building rapport.
A handshake is appropriate when you’re
being introduced, when you say goodbye, when you greet someone and when you welcome someone to your home, office, place of
business or wherever you gather with business associates or clients. A warm greeting accompanied by a handshake can set the
stage for a friendly, welcoming atmosphere necessary for
establishing effective communication and achieving satisfying
results from your interactions.
Here are a few up-to-date suggestions.
A firm but gentle grip suggests
confidence. A limp grip or one with just the fingers extended suggests timidity. A bone-cruncher is too forceful and overly
eager. A handshake should be palm to palm, web to web. Smile and make eye contact. Gently pump your hand once or twice
It’s no longer expected that a man waits for a woman to put out her hand first or that
the grip be different man-to-man, man-to-woman or woman-to-woman. A handshake is appropriate no matter what the gender.
Using two hands when riding a bicycle is a good idea. Using the two-handed grip may also be a good idea when
you honestly want to communicate sincerity and warmth. However, it may also communicate insincerity, two much intimacy and
an attempt at intimidation. Use it sparingly and appropriately.
If you extend your hand to someone and
that person doesn’t extend back, just withdraw your hand and go on with your greeting. Unless you’ve done something
really awful, the other person is behaving badly.
Who says what to whom?:
These are general rules: Younger is introduced
to older, associate to client, peer to employer, lesser rank to higher rank. That latter one sounds a little stuffy, but in
business there’s no sense in being thought of as bad mannered by those in charge. Here’s a typical greeting.
Jefferson (older, employer, or client), this is Carol Black, my co-worker.”
Stand, except when...:
stand for introductions no matter your gender unless you're physically impaired or you’re wedged in behind a table and
can’t get up. Just briefly rise, which is the best you can do at the moment, and extend your hand.
There are times when the situation calls for your best judgment, but what’s most important is that the greeting
and the introduction takes place at all. If possible, make sure you have all the names beforehand. If not, it’s better
to ask than to ignore.
A friendly handshake, a warm smile and eye contact may be your first experience with someone
whose attitudes and decisions can make a difference to your business or profession. Establishing trust and respect from the
beginning is the first step toward mutually beneficial outcomes.
Miscommunication - Root Cause of Problems? - By Michael Lee
People of two opposing ideas can stir up arguments
and fights. It's that situation when one thinks he has the right concept while the other one also believes he has the proper
notion. Both of them would try to outsmart each other until one claims victory.
Here's an actual example.
girlfriend Riza would sometimes buy me signature clothing. When my Mom founds out how much it costs, she would advise us to
budget our money and just buy the affordable ones.
A problem occurs when Riza thinks that her effort to give me the
best was unappreciated. Mom, on the other hand, would think that Riza is such a spender.
There's a conflict with their
beliefs. No two people are exactly alike. We are totally unique; not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
will be many times when your opinion will not correspond with that of another. So how can people prevent this kind of conflict
Communication is the key to overcome doubts and misunderstandings.
You should let other people
know what's in your mind. Don't keep them guessing.
There was a story about two couples who were filing a divorce.
After the lawyer have spoken to them both, he found out that the root cause of all their problems was due to miscommunication.
one of the couple's problems.
The man filing the divorce said that he just hated the breakfast meal that his wife
often prepared for him. On the other hand, the wife said that she's only preparing the meal because she thought it was her
husband's favorite. But she never liked cooking it because it's very difficult to prepare.
See? If only one of them
took the initiative to speak out what's in his or her mind, then that particular dilemma would be over.
Now why would
people prefer to keep their complaints and criticisms to themselves? What's holding them back?
It's because they do
not want to be rejected. Most, people, if not all, would like to be accepted and to be perceived as likeable in the eyes of
So can you get your message across without hurting their feelings?
Substitute negative statements
with positive ones.
Instead of saying "You don't understand," say "Let me explain." Instead of remarking "You're wrong,"
say "Permit me to clarify." Instead of stating "You failed to say," just mention "Perhaps this was not stated."
are certain words that affect a person more negatively in comparison with other words that have the same meaning.
could be more pleasing to the ear than hearing someone else say that you are right. In this case, be prepared to let other
people know that you respect their opinions. You may add your comments at the end, but acknowledge them first.
right, although ...
Great suggestion, however ...
I agree with your opinion, however ...
I would feel the same way
if I were you, although ...
I understand your situation, however ...
Reassure your counterparts that the decision
made will benefit both parties. People need to feel that they have made the right choice.
Communication is a gift.
Use it wisely for everyone's advantage.