5 Ways to Practice Authentic Communication This Year
As we wind down the first month of 2022 (one-twelfth of the year already!), let’s reflect on the resolutions we made just a few weeks ago. How are we doing? Honestly, we do better when we have gentle nudges and consistent reminders in front of us, don’t we? With that in mind, let’s end the month with quotes and manageable and realistic tips to practice authentic communication this year … starting today!
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” -Peter Drucker
At The Communication Gym, we focus our attention on our natural communication styles and learning about others’ styles to improve your relationships and work effectiveness. Did you know that the majority of our message is conveyed in elements other than the words we use? Body posture, gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, volume, pace of speech all contribute to the message we are conveying or receiving. The tip: Body language matters so pay attention to it!
“Everything you say should be true, but not everything true should be said.” -Voltaire
Simply put, think before you speak, but we take it one step further @ The Gym: practice what you are going to say. That means practicing specific skills like your Elevator Questions, Leveling the Playing Field or Transition Statements and incorporating various communication styles. We are also proponents of starting with the end in mind and planning statements for certain situations. Yes, that means constructing a sentence or two and then practicing it until you can’t get it wrong. The tip: Plan what and how you are going to say it.
“We never listen when we are eager to speak.” -François de La Rochefoucauld
Listen to learn, learn to listen. We refer to this skill as Active Listening and the measurable outcome is the ability to reflect back the speaker’s message and emotion without validation or criticism. When you successfully rephrase content and reflect emotion without validation or criticism, you have demonstrated your desire to understand the speaker’s message and their intent. The tip(s): Take notes. Maintain eye contact. Listen for the feeling behind the speaker’s words and their tone of voice. Remind yourself that you are not waiting for your turn to speak. And of course, ask questions, which takes us to tip #4.
“If I had it to do again, I’d ask more questions and interrupt fewer answers.” -Robert Brault
Again, ask questions. The intent of your questions is to learn more so that you DO understand and are able to improve relationships or solve problems. Be curious! Your questions result in your partner sharing, expanding, clarifying, and/or validating their message. And remember, your questions are allowing you to gain a deeper understanding so that you are able to rephrase the content and reflect emotion without validation or criticism. Read this for some samples of Powerful Questions. The tip: Listen to ask questions, not answer them.
“Learn from greatness.” Kobe Bryant’s Rule #5
Observe others who are good -- and copy them. Our members do this during gym sessions. Each coach-led session includes warm-ups and practice exercises so members interact and naturally learn from each other. Tip: If you haven’t checked out one of our Live @ The Gym sessions on LinkedIn, join us Thursdays at 11:30am ET to meet others who are committed to improving the quality of their conversations, and join a Professional Practice Group here so you can work out your communication muscles.
Now that you have a list, it’s time to put it to use. Which one of these tips are you going to practice today? Let us know in the comments!
We’ll see YOU … at The Gym!