It’s not what we say but rather what people hear. And I love this picture for showing us the power of non-verbal communication. Both this little girl and delightful dog are communicating with not a word between them. But they know what they both are saying . . . “I see you and I care about you”.
What people hear – not the words said – is what makes communication so challenging. How often we find ourselves saying “But I told him!” And then he says “But that’s not what I heard!” Sounds familiar?! But how do we fine-tune those communication skills?
So here’s the answer . . . use language (verbal or non-verbal) that accurately conveys what you want the other person to hear and understand. Sounds simple but it actually takes self-awareness, empathy and on-going practice to develop these strong and effective communication skills. The benefit? You will find that you will be less stressed, more focused and able to minimize unnecessary work when interpersonal communication is flowing smoothly.
7 Tips to Use Your Words More Effectively
Here are some ideas that I introduce in my communication workshops that can work very well for structuring positive, powerful communication. Now go ahead and add your own – you have learned and know what works best for you.
- Use Phrases That Subtly Open Up Options
- Use Phrases That Emphasize Commonality
- Use the Word “We” Rather Than “You”
- Chose Words That Normalize Issues & Concerns
- Avoid Phrases That Escalate or Dramatize the Issue
- Avoid Phrases That Back Someone in the Corner
- Watch Yourself: Be Aware of Automatic Thoughts & Distorted Thinking
And More Ideas . . .
Here is the icing on the cake . . . time proven tips that participants in my recent workshop “Communication That Builds Bridges” sent me just last week.
- Always start with a smile
- Use “and” instead of “but”
- Look for the right time and place to talk
- Know your desired outcome
- Appreciate the other person’s perspective & opinion
- Always use professional courtesy (please & thank you)
- Slow Down!
Bottom line is taking the time to think before you speak; while you’re speaking and after you speak. Let me know how it is working for you and how I can help you fine tune these valuable professional skills.