How to Improve Your Communication Skills
By Ken Nadreau
Are you a skilled communicator? Well that's a good thing if you're in the business of selling things to other people!
But are you absolutely sure that every word you say is received by those you speak with, or write to, in the way you intend them to be?
You might be surprised how your words are analyzed and interpreted by your potential customers.
Here's a few things to think about before you write your next piece. Everything you're about to read is based on a "presupposition" of NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming. NLP is a relatively new process of self discovery and is used widely as a serious training tool for business people of all fields.
The Meaning of a Communication is the Response You Get
But that's not what I meant!!!
How many arguments have that little gem in them? I know that I've often been heard saying that around the house. Unfortunately for me, and the countless others who've uttered those words, what you meant doesn't matter if it isn't understood that way.
The next two presuppositions tie in very closely, so let's look at them and them summarize the three together...
You Cannot Fail to Communicate
Whatever you do or say is a form of communication. From verbal expression to body language, everything conveys something about what you're thinking.
For example, you clicked your mouse and opened this article. By doing so, you communicated to me that you're seeking knowledge that you might not yet possess. You've implied that you're willing to issue me a particle of trust that my efforts could bring you that knowledge you seek. You've told me that you're interested in this subject matter. You've let me know that you're willing to take some reasonable risks, and so on and so on.
Yes, communication can be anything from a mouse click, to a facial expression, to cringing in your comfortable chair while watching a scary movie on TV, to giving a full blown oration in front of thousands of people.
It's all about relaying inforamtion from you, to someone else, or to the whole wide world! You can't help it. In fact none of us can because it's a part of life and inbred in us as living creatures!
If You Aren't Getting the Response You Want, Do Something Different
So far we've learned that communication is inevitable. As a living, breathing creature, everything we do or say relates a story about how we feel at any given moment. We've also seen that the meaning of a communication, or its intent, means little in comparison to reception and/or interpretation.
The obvious conclusion then, if it's important to do so, is to figure out how to communicate what you mean and have it received in the way you intend it to be received. As the sub-heading states, this might mean doing something different in order to reach that goal.
Now if we were primatives, we might consider beating the other person into understanding our drift, but we can't think that way anymore, right?
And the old standby doesn't work either. I mean, no matter how loud I yell at the other person, it doesn't change how they hear me. It just makes it easier for them to misunderstand because they don't have to listen all that hard. Besides, yelling only proves you have the bigger mouth, not the more valid point!
So then here's a visual for you...
So you do a little backtracking to make sure everything is in place, and it is. You re-upload everything just to be sure. You send out emails to those who've complained asking them to visit your site again. But you still get the same response.
After scratching your head in confusion for a while, you do a little research on the web and discover that not all browsers are equal.
Some people can't see your site the way you intended them to because their browsers aren't programmed for it! So you go looking for another way.
Now you hate the idea of losing all the pizzazz of your web page, but you do want people to see it right, so you find a little program online that allows you to see your site in the eyes of other browsers. You then decide to optimize your site in such a way that it becomes user friendly for all viewers and everyone is happy! You accept the idea of losing some of your site's glitz, because it's the only way to get it across to everyone you want to reach. A kind of a compromise of sorts for the sake of getting your point across. You decide it's a fair trade off!
What just happened?
You created a scenario that allowed those who didn't understand you to see things more your way, didn't you? You discovered that obstacle in the others that hindered them from getting the gist of your intentions, and by doing something a little different, everything turned out just fine!
And the moral of the story is?
To have good communication skills, you most often times have to see things the way the other person does in order to better understand how to tell them what you want them to know.
Just like when you optimized your website to suit all browsers, you can learn from the feedback of your visitors what you need to do to improve your communications with them. It may mean scaling down, or changing your language a little bit, but in the end, you'll achieve your desired results.
About the Author
Ken Nadreau is the author
of "Up Front Marketing ~ Selling Without Selling Yourself
Short." He's a motivational speaker/writer who has spoken
to upwards of 2,500 at a time, and has been instrumental in
the creation of countless successful businesses both for
profit and non-profit. His articles about business and
culture are read by thousands.