It’s ironic that the health industry focuses so much on fitness and food, but ignores the most important organ in our body, the brain. Our brains need to be fed both physically and mentally – through the nutrients in our food, the content that we consume, the people whom we communicate, even in the ways we speak to ourselves. How we communicate with others is a direct reflection of ourselves

Those with great communication skills have an easier time in life! It’s worth taking the time to enhance this important set of skills, even if you believe that you’re already a good communicator.

Here are 7 Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills:

  1. Be Aware Of Your Eye Contact. There’s a fine line between too much and too little eye contact. If you don’t have enough eye contact, people will either think you’re submissive or disinterested. If you have too much eye contact, you’re viewed as aggressive. Finding the middle point allows you to be seen as likable.
    1. A good general rule to follow is to maintain eye contact when either of you is speaking. Break eye contact when there is silence. This simple rule will improve your eye contact immensely. Experiment and see for yourself.
    2. If maintaining eye contact is uncomfortable for you, study the other person’s eyes. What color are they? How big are their pupils? Imagine you’re an artist and are going to draw the other person’s eyes. You would have to look very closely to do this. Surprisingly, this thought experiment can greatly reduce any anxiety you might be feeling.
  2. Listen Better. If you want to be known as a great conversationalist, become a great listener. There are so few people who are truly interested in listening to another person, having this ability will undoubtedly have a resonating impact on others. Note that eye contact is part of being a good listener.
    1. Avoid interrupting anyone. Wait until the other person is finished speaking. If you do accidentally interrupt someone, give them permission to keep talking. This will help them feel comfortable to keep expressing and addressing the things on their mind.
    2. Give your full attention. This is more than just maintaining eye contact. It’s possible to look someone in the eye and think about something else. Accept the challenge to stay present. Try summarizing some of what the other person says, this will help show you are paying attention and it will help you remember what they are saying.
  3. Ask Open-Ended Questions. It’s hard to keep a conversation going if you ask questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Ask questions that require a more substantial answer. Asking open-ended questions allows people to freely express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Which will give you a huge queue on their personality type and what’s on their mind. Most people love to talk about themselves and giving people the opportunity to do so helps them feel more connected and/or respected. 
    1. It’s also a good idea to avoid answering questions with a one-word answer. Explain yourself, share context, express your emotions, mention other people by name. The more descriptive you are, the more personable you will seem.
  4. Be Aware Of Your Body Language. Your body language can invite others to view you as open and inviting or crude and closed off. Avoid crossing your arms and legs, especially if you have a monotone voice and don’t use many facial expressions. Turn your body and face people while you’re communicating. 
    1. Pro tip: Talk with your palms facing outwards and arms a bit wide. Smile often except when you are giving out information.
  5. Know the Purpose Of Your Communication. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve by having this conversation?” Have a goal for every interaction, even if that goal is just to enjoy yourself. If you’re negotiating a business deal, make it your goal to negotiate the best possible deal. It’s okay to let your goals guide your conversation if they come from a place of understanding. If you are hanging out with your friends, make it your goal to be present. Enjoy the moment so you don’t sweat any little things that may pop up. If you’re about to have a difficult conversation with your significant other, make it your goal to be open, respectful and to share without expectations.
  6. Be Certain That You Understand. It’s easy to misinterpret what someone is attempting to communicate to you. Take the time to ensure that you’ve understood the other person correctly. You can do this by summarizing and asking open-ended questions. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure of the other person’s message, this works especially well if they said something that offended you. Many times we say things in the heat of the moment that we don’t actually mean. When we are upset, we do not act as our best selves. Asking for clarification can sometimes bring someone to their senses.
    1. Pro Tip: Take a break during heated conversations, the issues will still be there to discuss if it was important. That way you can avoid any unintentional emotional damage.
  7. Be Certain that You Are Understood. It’s just as important to ensure that the other person is clear on what you’re communicating. Ask questions and ensure that you’ve been understood. Depending on the context of the situation, it’s okay to ask people to repeat what their tasks are or to ask if they have any further questions.

How well do you communicate with others? More often than not, the way we communicate with other people is a direct reflection of ourselves. Our mindset is the foundation of the way we communicate with others. Most people don’t communicate nearly as well as they could. Enhancing your communication skills is an easy way to give a significant boost to multiple areas of your life.

 

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