This title is a bit of a lie: you can’t just quick fix your communication! It’s like training for a marathon if you just went out today at this moment and tried to run 26 miles, how would you feel? I would fall over. And…finish in a week? (Kidding but not!)
There are things you can do right now to improve your communication muscle – you’ll need to keep it up to truly make a difference, but even tiny stones make ripples in the water!
Take a Breath
Before you respond or speak, take a moment to take a breath. When we’re excited or passionate about something, we tend to speak very quickly and run out of air. Worse, when you’re speaking quickly, you sound nervous, even if you aren’t!
Breathe. Before you start talking, when you’re talking at punctuation, throughout what you’re saying, after you’re done talking. Pearl Jam had it right, Just Breathe.
Listen to the Last Word
People love to answer a question or respond before someone is done talking. Why wait, right? If you know what they are going to say, might as well save time and just get to the point, right?
Most of the time you not only look rude, you also miss what the person is going to say: maybe it’s the full question or the rest of the statement. Letting the other person finish talking isn’t just polite, it’s helpful to answering the question.
This is a play on an improv game I love: listen for the last word of their statement and base your first word on that word. Basically: wait until they are done talking, use the first bit of advice to take a breath, and then respond.
Ask a Question
And not just to insert yourself.
The best questions come from places of curiosity. When you ask one, you’re not only showing the person who is talking that you care about what they are saying (and you’re listening!) you’re adding to the conversation in a selfless way – which is something we should do more often.
When we’re listening to another person – and showing it – and they can tell! – the area of their brain associated with cocaine, good sex, and good food light up. Those feel-good hormones are activated.
Unclench Your Butt
This one cracks everyone up – clench your butt and say hello. Now unclench your butt and say hello. Hear the difference?
What happens here isn’t too hard to understand: when you’re tense, you sound tense. We get the energy we put out. When you talk to someone who feels tense, you’re going to also feel tense and that’s going to keep bouncing back and forth – and you’ll end up just not feeling great about the whole conversation.
Think about how you want the other person to feel – probably not tense. Project that and get that back to you!
What did we miss? We love to add tips for quick wins! Or try these and see what happens – let us know!