Talking is Not Communicating
When you talk, do you communicate? It depends.
There are many who believe that talking is communicating, so they talk a lot. There are those who believe that if they talk they have communicated.
Just because a person can talk does not mean they can communicate. Did you know that 90% of conversations do not fully communicate? People walk away not having heard some things, and what they did hear and process, they translated in a different way than was intended. Most stress is created by a message poorly communicated.
Here are 10 tips to help you communicate while you are talking.
- Pay attention. Put down your phone or tablet, forget about what happened before or will happen after. Focus on your conversation partner and their message.
- Be humble and open. If you are dogmatic or arrogant, people will be put off by your attitude and stop listening.
- Ask questions to clarify, “May I check to see if I communicated well? What did you hear me say?” or “What does ___ mean to you?”
- Don’t assume you know what is meant. Ask.
- Ask questions to explore, such as “Would you tell me more about that?”
- Be sure you are speaking the same language. Use a shared vocabulary and check into whether you define the words/concepts in the same way as your conversation partner.
- Don’t think about what you want to say next. Concentrate on the message of the speaker. “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand. We listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen Covey.
- Don’t try to offer a similar experience to that described by your conversation partner. Their experience is theirs and yours is yours. They are different, so appreciate and marvel at the uniqueness of another person’s experience.
- Listen. Concentrate and deeply listen to value, understand, and connect with your conversation partner.
- Speak for 20 seconds then be quiet. When the other person has spoken, you can speak for another 20 seconds, and so forth.
You must be open and pay attention to communicate. It takes a lot of energy and focus on the other person as well as the clarity of your message.
True Course can help you communicate when you talk. Coaching is the best source of training in interpersonal communication and in aspects of emotional intelligence, which are key to excellent communication.