Let’s talk about communication.
Like learning and thinking, communication is one of the most important skills that we possess as human beings. What good is learning anything and spending the time to think about it so that you fully understand it, if you then can’t effectively communicate afterward to do something with that information?
Communication can take many forms:
In each of these modes of communication, there are only two things I suggest you keep in mind in order to become an effective communicator.
Empathy: The Ultimate Superpower
If you ask me, empathy is perhaps the most important life skill of all. To be able to step outside of yourself and see things from another perspective is in and of itself a superpower. With every email that I write, video that I produced, a podcast conversation that I host, empathy is my starting point and something that I work to make present every step of the way.
If you want to persuade and influence people, you will have far less success if you speak at people, than if you were to speak from people. That is to say, understand where they’re coming from, what their concerns are, and what their hopes and dreams are, you will be speaking to their self-interests and will, therefore, be more capable of commanding their attention.
Later on, you can expect a lesson from me that will go over some of my best tips for writing emails and communicating effectively when dealing with conflict and misunderstandings. For now, I’ll just leave you with this to think about before you hit send, publish, or let those words leave your mouth.
Ask yourself: “If I was standing in their shoes, how might I read or receive this message?” Then, rewrite your email or rethink what you’re about to say with the intention of producing the thoughts and feelings you’d want the other person to experience. Empathy is your best tool to ensure that the message you’re hoping to convey is being received accurately.
If there is one prerequisite for effective communication it would be clarity. The simplest way to think about it is that if you were trying to transfer information from one place to another, you would want it to arrive at its destination exactly as it was when it left from its origin. The clarity in communication is about removing as many signal disruptions from the transmission process as possible. The important point to remember is that any person receiving your communication will interpret it through their own filters. This is, again, why empathy is so important.
There is no one-size-fits-all method for communication and clarity. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is that simplicity and brevity are preferable to the complexity and extraneous information. Beyond that, you’re a few additional tips and considerations.
Matching, mirroring and reflecting all refer to the process of mirroring your vocabulary, pacing/cadence, and body language to the person you are communicating with.
Humans are naturally more comfortable communicating with those who communicate like themselves.
At the same time by mirroring the same vocabulary you remove any friction or barriers from misunderstanding. The more than two people are on the same page as it relates to their style of giving them more easily the communication can transpire.
For everything said there is plenty of left unsaid that is interpreted or understood.
In speaking with someone face-to-face, your body language, tone of voice, and even the pacing of your speech are all additional signals that are interpreted by the person you’re communicating with.
When speaking with someone via the written word, there is an implied understanding by the recipient that is shaped by their own expectations and experiences.
Extraordinary communicators are keenly aware of all the nonverbal communications and how they shape the actual words that are used. They mastering these additional elements of communication you learn to master the entirety of communication.
We could not learn by passing knowledge to one another without communication. Thought would practically impossible without language. As my friend Q says “words are the programming language of humanity.” Practice all modes of communication and strive for constant improvement. As a writer, constantly seek to refine, simplify and remove ambiguity from your words. As a speaker, study your body language, practice your tone and cadence.
As you learn and grow as a communicator, you unleash new opportunities to change the world.
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Ready For The Next Lesson
:: Leading ::