Statistics point to the fact that approximately 85% percent of our success in life is directly attributable to our communication skills. That means that no matter how ambitious, how committed, or how highly educated someone is, they still have a low probability of success unless they develop the right communication skills.
If you really look at the way people tend to converse with one another, it becomes very clear that most of us could probably benefit from giving some attention to our communication skills.
“The quality of your life is the quality of your communication.” ~Tony Robbins
Communication skills and success
Any time you want to expand your reach beyond your personal inner circle and connect with people who think and feel differently than you do, your communication skills will be the key factor that determine your results.
The good news is that anyone can develop good communication skills. And it’s encouraging to know that even small improvements in your ability to connect with others will have a profound effect on the quality of your life and business.
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” ~Paul J. Meyer
Developing your communication skills
When you’re trying to connect with a wide variety of people, you need to start by asking yourself 5 questions:
- What common ground do we share?
- Do they feel comfortable with our conversation?
- Are my responses making them feel understood?
- Is my intent being clearly defined?
- Will our connection be better after our interaction?
In order to fulfill these goals, you might want to consider the following…
14 Effective communication skills
1. Give them the impression that you’re enthusiastic about talking to them. They want to feel that you would rather be talking to them than anyone else. When you give them the impression that you are excited about talking to them and that you care about them, you make them feel better about themselves. As a result, they’ll be more likely to really open up to you.
2. Ask open-ended questions about their interests. Ask questions that will get them to talk about their interests and their life in a way that provides you with insight into their needs and wants. When you help them gain a new, positive perspective about their situation, they will feel a deep sense of connection with you.
3. Adapt to their body language and feelings. Pay special attention to their nonverbal communication. Watch their body language and posture, also take note of their inflection and word choices. Now, tailor your words, body language, and voice tone to match what you have observed. Doing this will help them feel a deep subconscious connection with you.
4. Show them approval: Tell them what you admire about them and why. One of the best ways to instantly connect with people is to be forthright and tell them exactly why you like or admire them. If being too direct isn’t appropriate, insinuate with a few indirect statements here and there. Either approach can be equally as effective because everyone responds well to approval.
5. Listen attentively to everything they say. Don’t focus too much on what you’re going to say next as they are talking. Instead, listen to every word they say and respond back as relevantly and smoothly as possible. This shows people that you are interested in what they have to say and you are fully engaged and in the moment with them. Also make sure to ask questions whenever there’s something they say that you don’t quite understand. This will help fill any potentially awkward lapses in communication.
6. Give them the right amount of eye contact. Eye contact communicates to the other person that you are not only interested in them and what they have to say, but that you are also trustworthy. When done in moderation, they will also assume you are confident in yourself because of your willingness to face them directly. As a result, people will naturally want to pay more attention to you and what you have to say.
7. Reveal as much about yourself as possible. One of the best ways to earn someone’s trust is to reveal yourself as openly as you can. Tell stories about interesting events from your life or just describe zany instances from normal everyday life. As you do this, make sure not to mention things that stray too far from where their interests and values lie. Nothing builds trust like genuine transparency. Y
8. Give the impression that you are on the same team. Use words like “we, us, we’re, our, and ourselves” to instantly build a bond. When you use those words, you make it seem like you are all on the same team with a common goal or concern. This moves you into their circle while everyone else seems lack your special insight and understanding.
9. Give them your best smile. When you smile at people, you communicate that you like them and their presence brings you happiness. Smiling at them will cause them to subconsciously want to smile back at you which will instantly build rapport between the two of you. Just make sure that your smile is sincere because if it’s not they will sense it.
10. Offer helpful suggestions. Recommend restaurants you’ve been to, places you’ve been to, movies you’ve seen, helpful people they’d like to meet, books you’ve read, career opportunities and whatever else you can think of. Describe what was so great about those people, places and things and how they might appeal to the other person. If you suggest enough ideas that interest them, they will look at you as a “go to” person when they need to make a decision about what to do next.
11. Give them encouragement. If the person you’re dealing with is younger or in a more difficult position than you, they will appreciate any encouragement you can offer. When you help them feel more confident in their own abilities they will value your input. This helps even out the relationship. Convince them that they can surpass their problems and limitations and they will feel good about connecting with you.
12. Appear to have a slightly higher energy level than the other person. Generally, people want to be around those who lift them up, instead of bringing them down. If you indicate with your voice and your body language that you have a slightly higher energy level, they will feel more energized and positive while around you. Don’t be so energetic that you put people off, but have enough so that they feel energized after talking with you.
13. Say their name in a way that is pleasing to their ears. A person’s name is one of the most emotionally powerful words for them. But how you say it is more important than how often say it. If you say their name with they right inflection, it can actually convey a lot of positive feeling directly to their nervous system. If their name feels good to them when you say it, they will feel bonded to you on a subconscious level without even knowing why.
14. Offer to take the relationship a step further. There are a number of things you could do to advance your friendship with someone: offer to eat with them, talk over a cup of coffee, see a sports game, have a beer or two with them, etc. Even if people don’t take you up on your offers, they will be flattered that you like them enough to want to take the friendship to a deeper level. In a way, they will look up to you because you have the guts to take charge of your life and build friendships instead of expecting those friendships to magically appear for you.
Become a skilled communicator
If you take the time to develop even a few of these communication skills, you will dramatically improve your ability to connect with people from all walks in life at work and in social circles. Take some time to observe the most socially skilled people you know and you’ll see many of these methods in full use. Notice that they aren’t done in a way that is rigid or in a way that would be too noticeable. They are done naturally and in a way that fits in with the current situation.
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” ~Lee Iacocca
For the best results, just relax and let these communication skills flow naturally. Be as close to your true self as you can. Choose the techniques that fit best with your personality and your motives when you interact with people. Learn to get a feel for which ones to use for particular situations and the ones don’t resonate with who you are as a person.
Communication skills lead to new opportunities
Since people play such a big role in your life, your entire life will go much smoother if you take the time to improve the way you connect with others by developing better communication skills.
Before long, you’ll find it easy to connect with just about anyone in any situation. This ability will open up an abundance of new opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. That’s the power of effective communication skills.
If one of your goals in life is to become a fearless and confident public speaker, this short video has some excellent tips on public speaking from world champion public speaker, Darren LaCroix.