The Self-Awareness Guy

Effective Communication and Self-Awareness

Communication and Relationships

Communication and Relationships


People often ask me what to do on a date or in a relationship when trying to start a conversation. Many of us learned how to communicate in our families and with friends so we may only know one style; our own. Learning a couple of basic skills can help us make the most of communicating with anyone. Try these ideas next time you are talking to a date or someone you are in a relationship with.

1. Listen actively.
2. Ask open ended questions.
3. Listen actively.
4. Did I mention listening actively?

One of the easiest ways to help a conversation get started and build is to listen and ask questions. To be an active listener try the following:

1. Look at the other person.
2. Really listen carefully and give all your attention to what the other person says rather than thinking about what you want to say next.
3. Nod or say uh-huh to indicate you are listening.

Open ended questions are formed by asking questions that can’t be answered with a yes or no. Ask “What did you think about that?” rather than “I bet your really thought that was horrible.” The open ended question will invite the other person to tell you more rather than answering yes or no.

Try these common sense ideas and you will be on your way to gaining a new understanding of other people. I wish you all the best as you begin mastering the art of communication.

Cheers,

Guy

How to Increase Self Awareness in Communication

How to Increase Self Awareness in Communication

Here's how to increase self-awareness in communication:

  • Listen actively.

It's that simple. The problem is that our culture teaches us to interrupt, interject, dispute, cajole, get angry, become defensive, fight back, and any number of things that absolutely do not improve communication. Active listening is an excellent tool used by self-aware people who understand that communicating with another person is not about imposing one's will, it means learning about the other individual and gathering information. Here's how you listen actively:

  • Try to communicate with people one on one or in small groups.
  • Communicate at times when everyone is able to participate fully.
  • Set aside a quiet place to talk about meaningful things.
  • Sit on the same level, not separated by a desk or other objects.
  • Make time to talk thoroughly, without interruptions.
  • Decide with the other person what the topic at hand is, both of you agree on what it is, no one imposes the topic.
  • Once the topic is decided, let the other person tell their story.
  • While the other person is talking, the only thing you should do is listen carefully to everything they have to say. Don't think of how to rebut, or argue, or contradict, or direct the conversation. Just listen intently.
  • When the other person stops talking, and only then, ask any open-ended questions you might have and then let the other person talk again.
  • Repeat this whole process every time you talk with someone.

Active listening is the opposite of our standard way of communicating where we pile on each other and hope someone understands something. People who possess self-awareness are healthy and comfortable enough to give the other person the space to simply talk. This process will seem difficult at first but, over time, it will become your new way to communicate much more effectively.

Cheers,

Guy

20 Ways to Practice Effective Communication

20 Ways to Practice Effective Communication

Everyone knows that effective communication is vital in an organization but very few leaders practice it.  This creates workplaces where people talk about how important communication is but don't actually do what's necessary to make it happen.  Here are twenty ideas to help you practice effective communication.

  1. Listen more than you talk.
  2. Don't interrupt.
  3. Don't editorialize.
  4. Don't ask your next brilliant question.
  5. Let the other person finish their thought.
  6. Talk at appropriate times when both people are ready to engage.
  7. Check in with people to see if they understand what's being said.
  8. Say less rather than more.
  9. Value what other people say.
  10. Don't fall in love with your own voice an ramble on.
  11. Let other people talk.
  12. Give everyone equal time to talk.
  13. Make sure your body language says you're open to conversation.
  14. Don't react to what others are saying.
  15. Create a real open-door policy where people actually can talk with you comfortably.
  16. Become comfortable with emotions and feeling in conversations.
  17. Don't jump to fixing what the other person is saying.
  18. Create a culture where talking openly is encouraged.
  19. Don't raise your voice.
  20. Once again, listen.

How many of these skills do you practice?  Effective communicators practice most of them the majority of the time.  You don't have to be perfect, just keep practicing until these skills become second nature.  What ideas do you have to promote effective communication?

Cheers,

Guy

8 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

8 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

Have you ever suffered through a long conversation where the other person spent the whole time talking at you? Our society conditions us to believe that we need to talk a lot and fill up all the free space in the universe with words in order to demonstrate competence or credibility. This encourages people to speak up first, continue speaking and then speak some more at the first sign of any lull. We end up enduring conversations that are complete traffic jams of people all trying to outdo each other with bigger and better stories and facts.

We've all interacted with people who seem to be in love with the sound of their voice and rarely let others into the conversation. There are many reasons for this type of behavior but the main one is that they aren’t aware of any other way of communicating. What they might not realize is that communication is over 90% non-verbal, which means that talking is just a small part of what we're supposed to be doing.

Excellent communication begins with us. We each have the ability to either open the doors to a two-way exchange of information or slam them shut. We have a choice as to whether we spend our time spitting out our stories rather than gaining more insight into others' experiences. Think about your own communication style: Do you talk more or do you listen more? What would happen if you shifted your style just slightly?

Highly effective communicators understand that getting their point across is often as much about understanding someone else's perspective as it is putting one's own input into the mix. Here are some tips to help you add to your communication skills:

1. Try to listen more than you talk.

2. Ask open-ended questions and give the other person time to answer.

3. Please stay away from questions that lead the conversation in a certain direction or only lead to a yes or no answer.

4. Try not to think of the next thing that you want to say.

5. Avoid thinking about the perfect rebuttal or your next magnificent story.

6. Allow people to say what they want and give them the space to do so.

7. Listen actively. Search online under “active listening.”

8. Did I mention listening?

We spend so much time talking that we ignore the most important element of communication. Listening opens up amazing new doors we never knew existed when we were flapping our gums. It's incredible what we learn when we take the time to really listen to someone. Suddenly we understand people better and can make decisions based on rich, detailed information. We avoid misunderstandings and we connect with people on a deeper level. People also tend to trust us more because they can confide in us without being steamrollered.

In the end, it is up to us how we communicate. Excellent communicators understand the value of listening and use it to communicate more effectively. Listening improves our interactions and allows us to breathe. We don't have to fill up every space and constantly think of witty things to say. We get to learn all kinds of interesting information about others and relax more. Try the ideas we’ve mentioned and continue adding to your excellent communication skills.

Cheers,

Guy

10 Signs You’re Not Communicating Effectively

10 Signs You’re Not Communicating Effectively

Practicing effective communication is an excellent way to get more done with less effort. All kinds of unnecessary difficulties and distractions arise in our workplaces because people are just winging it when they communicate. They do what they've always done even when it doesn't lead to positive results. Thankfully, you can improve your communication skills by getting rid of what doesn't work, including the following:

  1. You have to repeat things more than once or twice.
  2. Your employees and co-workers say things like, "I don't remember you saying that," or "That's not what I heard."
  3. You often find yourself in conflicts or challenging situations and can't seem to work them out.
  4. People don't seek you out to share information and you're frequently the last to know about something.
  5. You feel like you're not getting the whole story when you ask people questions.
  6. You communicate based on what you learned in your family (unless your parents were communication experts).
  7. You talk more than listen.
  8. People look puzzled after you explain something.
  9. Your workplace interactions tend to be superficial rather than meaningful.
  10. You're not getting the results you want from your communication efforts.

If you do any of these things you're not a horrible person, it simply gives you an opportunity to become an even more effective communicator. Think of the areas that need attention in your workplace and provide ongoing communication training for you and your staff. An investment up front in teaching yourself and your employees how to communicate will help you avoid many pitfalls. It all starts with letting go of the stuff that doesn't work and practicing behaviors that lead in a positive direction. What will you do to promote effective communication in your workplace?

Cheers,

Guy