As a follow up article to last week’s discussion about the importance of communication, I’d like mention a few more thoughts. These are proven techniques to increase your communication skills. If you are having trouble connecting with your coaching clients, or having trouble making them understand what you are saying, you may want to give these tips a chance. As a great communicator, it’s important for you to be able to listen and show your client how much you value what they are telling you. It’s important to maintain eye contact. It’s also important for them to feel comfortable with you. Let’s work through the list.
Share, Express and Love
Instead of jumping right in to your meeting, why don’t you try to express your thanks for the other individual’s time? Time is an extremely precious resource, and it important to be respectful and considerate of that. Also, complement or recognize any positive contribution they are making. Appreciation and praise can go a long way towards building good rapport.
Connect and Appeal
Connect on a personal level if possible. Look for places where interests overlap. Even in a professional situation, there may be some personal interests in common: hobbies, sports, children, music, career choices. Take care to avoid controversial topics like politics or religious beliefs. A real sense of connection makes a difference in the tone and outcome of the current conversation and most likely future communications, as well.
Be Exuberant… Be Positive
Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to productive communications. Be constructive rather than negative or complaining. People shut down, effectively ending any real communication when they feel attacked or criticized. Be encouraging and kind, even when expressing concerns or displeasure.
It’s important to figure out what result you are after before you start any kind of dialogue. Knowing your objective helps you to direct the conversation and to remain on point. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you trying to give help, resolve a conflict, or collaborate on a project or issue? Are you seeking advice or trying to influence behavior? Your desired outcome helps to determine the flow of communication.
Don’t Talk All the Time… Listen All the Time
Eye contact is crucial when you are meeting someone face-to-face. Try to be polite and, whatever you do, don’t interrupt. No one likes being interrupted, and though it’s natural to want to rush in to make your point, it’s very disrespectful of the other person’s thoughts. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Maintain an open mind.
Do They Understand?
Try to confirm that you have a mutual understanding of what’s being communicated. We often think that we’ve reached a resolution and come to an understanding, only to find out that we have completely misunderstood the other person’s thoughts. Ask for input and feedback. This not only confirms that you have successfully communicated, it also makes the other person feel that they have been heard and understood.
Always try to end your communication in a friendly manner. Remember to reiterate your thanks and try to leave the other individual feeling understood and valued. Productive communication involves respect, consideration, awareness, and clarity. It is possible to be both direct and kind and still get the results you want.
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