You are always around people, and you can’t avoid that. Parents, colleagues, partners, friends, and employers are a part of your daily life. You have to communicate with them.
Successful people are usually great at expressing themselves. They are good communicators. Warren Buffett, one of the world’s greatest investors, says that the best investment of his life is a $100 public-speaking course. In his interviews, Warren often speaks about the importance of communication skills to become successful.
If you want to excel in your career, your college degree might not be as valuable as your ability to communicate effectively.
Understanding the value of communication skills, I went through many books, watched videos, and read articles on the subject. Below are the 11 essential things I learned about how you can become better at communication.
1. Be interested in people
People are selfish beings. They care more about themselves and less about others. And they are interested in their own lives.
Remember when someone made you feel great by being interested in what you had to say? You thought that the person was so nice.
You can become a great communicator by being interested in people, not by trying to convince others to be interested in you.
2. Talk less about yourself and more about them
It is always about the other person. If you want to influence or befriend them, you have to talk about the things that interest them.
When you start blabbering about yourself in front of others, you will come off as needy, selfish, and narcissistic. Nobody likes such a person.
Talk about the other person more when having a conversation with them. You can make each person like you in a group by talking about them and their interests.
Listening is a crucial aspect of better communication. When you listen, you understand people. And then, it becomes easier for you to talk about what they like.
As Simon Sinek says, “Be the last to speak.” Listen to what others have to say first. It helps you know about their interests and the kind of person they are.
Listen more. Talk less.
4. Always say less than necessary
Law number 4 of Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power says that you should always say less than necessary. You are revealing what is inside your head to others by saying more. Never do that.
Instead, speak less. Even when you want to say a lot of things, hold back. Let the other person talk first. Understand what is going on in their mind. Then, speak only what is required.
When you open your mouth, you tell the world who you are. So, do it wisely. Think before you speak.
5. Assume that people will like you
In his book How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People, Les Giblin shares a story about his roommate and how he always connected with people instantly wherever he went. When Les asked his roommate how he did that, he said you need to assume that people will like you.
We fear being disliked by others. So, we would rather not speak to them than make an effort. As a result, we fail to connect with anyone.
When you assume that people will like you, your mindset allows you to create a positive vibe around people. And when you go and speak to someone, it automatically creates a connection because of your vibe.
Other people have the same fear of being disliked. If you can make them feel good by speaking first, you have a good chance of befriending them.
6. Be sincere
Nobody likes people who lie and cheat. We also hate fake friends. So, be genuine when you speak to people.
Have a good intention in your heart. Don’t try to manipulate and persuade others for your need. It might feel good at first. But, you will have a negative image once people figure out your true self.
Always be kind and humble to others. The world needs it.
7. Non-verbal communication says more than verbal communication
FBI negotiator Chriss Voss discussed the 7–38–55 Percent Rule in his book Never Split the Difference. According to the rule, only 7 percent of a message is based on the words used, 38 percent comes from tone of voice, and 55 percent from body language.
In his book The Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene also stresses the importance of non-verbal communication.
When you speak to someone, what you say will have a lesser impact than your body language or tone of voice. Usually, these non-verbal cues are subconscious, yet they have a high significance in influencing people.
8. Find out what they like and ask questions
People love to give their opinions, especially about something they like. Find out what they are interested in so that you can keep them talking about it. How can you know what they like?
By asking questions.
For example, ask a person about their favorite food. After they answer, ask why they like it. Then, keep the conversation going by asking more related questions.
Another effective way to keep the person talking is by using a technique called mirroring. It’s simple; after someone finishes saying something, repeat the last three words they said (or a few essential words of the last sentence).
I have used mirroring several times, and it works wonders. The person keeps talking and talking without even realizing it.
9. Make them feel important
We all want to feel special. Make a person feel important, and they are sure to like you.
The easiest way to make someone feel important is to compliment them. Further, you must praise them for something they did well.
A person who feels valued is happy. If you are the reason they feel that way, you win their heart.
10. Avoid arguments
As Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People,
“There is only one way to get the best of an argument — and that is to avoid it.”
Nothing beneficial results from an argument. While trying to prove that you are right, you make the other person feel hurt. And if their ego gets hurt, that will be worse.
Avoid arguments at all costs, as they are harmful to any relationship.
11. Remember names
This is probably one of the most effective lessons I have learned in communication.
Dale Carnegie also said,
“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Remember names and use them often in conversations. I have tried it and seen great results.
Simply calling people by their names is equivalent to paying them a huge compliment. So, call a person by his name if you want to make a good impression. Their subconscious will make them attracted to you.