To be effective in communicating we have to understand the rules of human nature. We must think to ourselves; Why we do things that we do? Why we react the way we do?
It is a fact that we are interested in ourselves. Our actions are always determined through self-interest and self-thought. We all want to be recognised and have a desire to be important. We are all guilty of recognising people the way we think or want them to be. We have to learn to recognise people for what they are.
A great skill to have is making other people feel important. Listen to the person speaking and give them sincere compliments. It is polite to use their name as much as possible when talking, it lets them know we have taken an interest in them and taken the time to remember their name. Pause before answering, it gives us time to think about what we are going to say and it shows we are processing what the speaker has said. If we are talking to a group of people, acknowledge every person and encourage participation from them.
Be agreeable with others. Tell people that we agree with them. Say ‘yes’ and we should show agreement by nodding our head. Admitting when we are wrong is something that is very difficult for all of us but people will respect us for it. We should not disagree and argue with someone unless we really need to. Learning to handle people who fight can be difficult. The natural reaction is to fight and state our case. However, this can be done in a way that does not flame the situation. People who fight want to, so do not give it to them. It makes them look silly if they fight with us and we do not fight back. No one ever wins an argument.
Listening to people is a great skill. We can learn a lot from listening to what others have to say. People love to be listened to. Keep good eye contact. If our eyes wander all over the place, the speaker will think we are not interested in them and are not listening. Ask the speaker questions. This shows we are processing what they are saying. Don’t interrupt the speaker and keep on the subject.
Recognise that everyone is different. We all like different things, so to create a bond with someone, find out what they want, not what we want of them. This is found through listening, asking and watching them.
If we want someone to do something, give them a good reason. Something that would benefit them or benefit everyone. We are more likely to get cooperation. Give people a choice of when or how they want something done. An example would be to ask which day they would prefer to do the task.
Set the mood. What we give to other people we get back. Give happiness and you will get happiness back. Give a smile and keep a positive tone of voice.
Give people praise, they love this. It brightens up their day. If someone is feeling down, a compliment will go a long way in making them feel better so looking for something to praise in the people we speak to is important. Everyone has something worth appreciation. Do not give praise that is not sincere. Focus on the act that has to be praised for example, ‘your cooking is really good’ and ‘you are a great gardener, your garden is beautiful’.
When we do have to criticise people, there are effective ways of doing it. It must be done in private. We do not want to humiliate the person we are criticising. Do it in a friendly way and highlight their good actions at the same time so it softens the blow. The act must be criticised, not the person, because after all it is the behaviour that is wrong. Provide them with a resolution and ask for cooperation.
Thanking people is very important as it makes them feel appreciated. Be sincere about it. Say ‘thanks’ in a positive way, do not mumble or whisper. Look at them and use their name to be polite.
It is important to give people a good impression of us. Respect ourselves most importantly. It is important to act the way we want to be treated. Say things we mean, be enthusiastic, try to not be anxious, it puts doubt in peoples minds. We must not build ourselves up by putting other people down. If criticism is not constructive, it just shows us up and reveals things about us and our own life.
We must be knowledgeable about what we want to say. We are all guilty of not doing this. We discuss topics that we do not have any knowledge. It is also how we use our knowledge that is important and how we say things that makes us who we are.
These are some important tips on daily communication. They are useful at work and with daily life in all our relationships. Good communication is the key to happiness.
Giblin, L. (1985). Skill with people. Wyckoff, N.J.: L. Giblin.