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12 Ways to Grow as a Communicator

All conversations I found extremely interesting and still remember have elements in common. Let’s learn how to have more of those conversations by becoming a better communicator.

1. Listen more, speak less

Stephen R. Covey said: “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” We tend to spend more time thinking about our reply than actively listening to what others have to say. Listen first. Then, once they are done speaking, think about what to say. This takes practice!

2. Be fully present

Ever pretend to listen but are thinking about something else? Ever notice someone doing that to you? Not cool. However, we do love it when a person is genuinely listening to what we are saying. This takes concentration. Ever notice it is easier to be distracted? Being fully present means focusing on the conversation, and only on the conversation. Stop looking at what’s happening in the background or at that cute person who just walked in. Don’t try to know everything that’s going on in the room and just work on being fully present.

3. Talk with people, not at people

Although speaking up is awesome and sharing your ideas is fantastic, the line between being assertive and sounding bossy or arrogant can be fine. Feel free to give your opinion and share your ideas, but also listen to what others have to say. When we enter into a conversation with someone, we need to do so with an open mind, ready to learn and to take in a few new perspectives.

4. Be consistent, but don’t repeat yourself too much

We want to make sure we are consistent and coherent by using paraphrasing to get your point through, but you can also risk sounding self-centered and repetitive (and people get bored!). Less is more here.

5. Use your voice wisely

Sometimes it is not what you say, it’s how you say it. The more musical and rhythmic your voice is, the clearer and more memorable it will be.

6. Make it about them

Empathy is a fantastic skill, and we love to feel on the same wavelength as other people, but when they are telling you a problem, falling into the trap of “me too” does not help. When someone is struggling they do not need to hear about your struggle. Instead of comparing yourself, just listen and focus on their situation.

7. Be Transparent

The most memorable conversation is when you connect with the person. This is one of the golden rules to have meaningful and great conversations: connecting. And it is possible to connect at an emotional level even if you don’t seem to have anything in common. How? Through honesty. Be transparent, don’t lie, don’t pretend to know things you don’t. Be human. People are more likely to bond with you if you lay your cards on the table and they see your true self.

8. Ask open-ended questions

Ask what, when, where, who, and why! This increases your likeability! It makes you look smarter! And you’ll learn something new! An open-ended question example is when you ask, “What did you think about the event?” (vs. just asking if they liked it). This type of question encourages them to come up with a more elaborate (and potentially more interesting) answer.

9. Cut the fluff

Get rid of unnecessary information - unless the other person is really going to benefit from the details - leave them out. Super exhaustive explanations with all sorts of data tend to be tedious and people usually don’t care. Make the most of the time you are given to speak before the other people lose interest and go straight to the point.

10. Make it simple

Simplicity always seems to be a golden rule. Even when communicating complex ideas, try to limit the jargon to a minimum.

11. Be clear

Clarity is key. First, understand what it is that you want to communicate, and then try to lay it out in the clearest way. They will appreciate you not being ambiguous. If they can clearly understand your point, they will feel more at ease and the whole conversation will flow.

12. Be brief

Nobody likes to listen to someone for 40 minutes until they finish their point to be able to feel part of the conversation again. Don’t give one-word answers, but remember - it’s an interaction, and as such, both parts should take short turns to speak.

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