Learning Genuine Techniques For Improving Communication Via Better Speaking and Listening Awareness
By: Scott McEachern, legal practitioner coach
Speaking for the purpose of being heard and understood, without the effort of contemplating whether the words expressed might be received, perceived, and understood or misunderstood, is a common failure. Similarly, listening without contemplating what the words were received were intended to genuinely convey as an overall message is also a common failure. Indeed, it is said that most people listen merely for the purpose of waiting to speak rather than listening for the purpose of gaining an understanding of the thoughts, opinions, and viewpoints, of the speaker.
"... conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill we fail to teach ..."
~ Paul Barnwell
Improve Your Skillset
Per communications expert Celeste Headlee, there are ten (10) highly effective ways to improve communications and your communications can significantly improve by mastering even just one way. Celeste shares the ten (10) communication improving methods within a TedTalk video posted on YouTube and embedded below.
Skill Improving Ideas
The ten (10) various ways in which communications can be improved upon are actually quite simple. As suggested by Celeste, the ways people can improve communications are:
- By providing full attention rather than attempting to mentally multi-task while engaged in communication by refraining from thinking of any concerns other than the immediate conversation;
- By avoiding the expressing of opinions in a way that is closeminded, self-righteous, and will likely be interpreted as pompous preaching or a laying down of the law rather than as merely stating a current viewpoint that remains openmindedly available for adjustment in the event of any subsequent newfound information and indeed invites the input of others that may further contribute to learning and growth with acceptance of fresh ideas;
- By using open-ended questions that tend to start with who, what, where, when, why, and how, and whereas such questions inquire and probe for additional information that contribute to a greater likelihood of genuine understanding while also conveying a real openminded interest in learning more;
- By letting go of your own thoughts rather than trying to hold onto your own thoughts while waiting for an opportunity to interject and thereby failing to provide full attention to the speaking person;
- By admitting ignorance rather than feigning knowledge about a topic and attempting to contribute to a conversation without a genuine basis or capacity for contributing to the conversation;
- By avoiding comparisons that may belittle a perceived difficulty, or worse, may instigate story battles that involve a competition of experiences told merely in an attempt to one-up the other person by detailing something bigger or better rather than using the communication as a growth inspiring learning opportunity instead of a self promotion opportunity (unless truly appropriate - such as within a business oriented discussion);
- By avoiding repetition and making a point only once rather than rephrasing the same point over and over again;
- By avoiding the unnecessary minutiae of the dates, the names, and the other trivial details, that are irrelevant to the listener and that only serve to consume mental energy by adding distracting facts that the listener may attempt to hold in mind in the, unfortunately false, belief that such details will be necessary and relevant to a key point in the communication;
- By genuinely listening and avoiding the inherent desire to speak; and
- By being brief.
"You need to enter every comversation assuming that you have something to learn."
~ Celeste Headlee