Gail Kasper is an Author, Television Host, Certified Fitness Trainer, and Motivational Speaker.
We've all been there, misinterpreting what others are saying, thinking we're being clear unaware that we've left out critical words to complete a thought. Can you relate? Do you find yourself often frustrated because you "say" one thing but people "hear" something else? Do you waste a lot of time explaining the same information over and over again? Does there seem to be a "disconnect" between you and your co-workers, employees, managers, family members or friends?
As promised, below please find 50 ways to not only improve your communication skills, but maximize your ability to connect with others!
1. Know what points you want to make before you start to speak.
2. Speak with confidence, people will listen more attentively when you do.
3. Don't squeeze too much into your day. If you do, communication will falter.
4. Say "I love you" to your partner when they least expect it, so they'll never have to wonder.
5. If you need to, go ahead and apologize. It's a sign of strength.
6. Rephrase and reword what you're trying to say as needed until your meaning is clear.
7. Before firing off an email, review it at least twice. Read it aloud. Fix it before you hit send.
8. If you've sent a confusing email, follow up with one that's crystal clear.
9. When you speak, meet the eyes of the person you're talking to. This way you'll make a connection, and you'll know if they're present and engaged in the conversation.
10. If you're not sure that a listener understood your message, politely ask them to rephrase what you said. Try something like, "Would you mind restating, in your own words, what I just said? I want to make sure I said it correctly."
11. If you're not sure you got the point, ask the speaker to repeat or rephrase what they just stated.
12. Even when you're upset, maintain a calm tone.
13. If you're going to err, then err on the side of diplomacy. You're better off being overly considerate than appearing insensitive.
14. When in doubt, ask. If necessary, ask again!
15. Don't be shy about striking up a conversation. Smile and go for it.
16. If you write an email in anger, don't hit send. Hit delete instead.
17. Once you've calmed down, revisit the issue that got you steamed in the first place, and decide if it's something that needs to be addressed.
18. If you do need to address an issue, put yourself in the other person's shoes before you send a message or initiate a dialogue.
19. When you call somebody via telephone, identify yourself before you dive into the subject of your conversation.
20. Make sure you know who's at the other end of the phone! Sometimes family members (and even roommates) sound awfully similar.
21. If you think you're coming across too harshly, you probably are. Tone it down.
22. Take a public speaking class. You'll improve communication skills, meet people, and build self-esteem. And you'll likely have a lot of fun in the process.
23. Practice speaking in front of the mirror; make sure you project an image of being engaged and engaging, interested and interesting.
24. People of all ages enjoy feeling special, so dole out sincere praise generously.
25. When giving praise, go ahead and start off with the word 'you', as in the following: "You are so good at what you do!"
26. When giving criticism, don't begin your sentence with 'you'. Instead, try starting with 'I feel', as in something like this: "I feel that arriving to work late each day is interfering with your performance."
27. Use motivation, not fear, as a tool to encourage family, friends, employees and co-workers to take action.
28. Learn a new word each day. You'll expand your vocabulary and become a better communicator!
29. Keep a dictionary handy, either at your desk or online, so you can easily look up unfamiliar words.
30. Remember that in many instances, being a good listener is twice as important as being a good speaker.
31. Consciously practice being in the moment while listening. Whenever you catch yourself drifting off into daydreams, pull yourself back to the conversation.
32. Listen to good speakers; study what they do right and then try to emulate.
33. Turn to someone you trust and ask their opinion on how effectively you communicate.
34. If you experience any weaknesses in the way you communicate, learn how to improve and then practice, after all, practice makes perfect.
35. To become a better speaker, try what I did when I was a child: listen to a script, write it down, memorize it, and repeat it.
36. If you find yourself in a heated exchange with somebody, stop, take a deep breath, and count to three. Let the other person know you'll resume the conversation when both of you are calmer.
37. Don't try to put words in someone's mouth. Instead, be patient, and listen carefully.
38. Children like to be heard; give them your full attention. Whatever they're telling you at the moment is very important to them. Give them the courtesy of your undivided attention.
39. Adults like to be heard, too. In a way, they're just big kids! When they're sharing something that's important to them, offer your complete attention.
40. Communication is about more than just talking. A successful exchange involves common courtesy and mutual respect.
41. What is your body language telling the world? Take a good look at your nonverbal communication and make any necessary adjustments.
42. Maintain a positive attitude. People will be more receptive to what you have to say.
43. Avoid swear words.
44. Never resort to put-downs.
45. Let your words serve as a means to lift others spirits and your own.
46. Whether you're speaking with loved ones or co-workers, strive to be helpful and encouraging.
47. People will take you seriously when what you say reflects what you really mean.
48. Never underestimate the value of a thank you note.
49. Words are powerful; use them wisely.
50. Whenever you communicate, be true to yourself!
There you have it - 50 ways to improve your communication techniques. I challenge you to apply all 50; perhaps initially highlight the top 10 that reflect your greatest need for development and then each week, add five more tips to your list. Continuous improvement is just that, continuous! Good luck and keep me posted how you do!
About Gail Kasper:
Mid-1998, Gail Kasper started her business from a small one-bedroom apartment, with no money and no clients. Today, Gail is the host of the late-night television show Raw Reality, one of the nation's leading speakers, author, Top 1% Club Mentor, advice columnist, Certified Fitness Trainer, Ms. Continental America 2008, and the creator of SAD-T™ (Systematic Attitude Development- Technique™). A former Contributing Editor to Success Magazine with the "Ask Gail" column and host of the "Ask Gail" segment on the Comcast morning show, Gail is the author of her self-help autobiography Another Day Without A Cage: My Breakthrough From Self-Imprisonment To Total Empowerment and the self-help parable Unstoppable: 6 Easy Steps To Achieve Your Goals. With national media appearances that include Inside Edition, The Today Show, FOX Business News, and Oprah and Friends, Gail has earned the ranking of an in-demand national media personality who has been the topic of discussion on Regis and Kelly. Also, the current host of the Philadelphia Visitors Channel, she has also made numerous appearances on network affiliates that include ABC, FOX, CW11, Comcast, and CBS, where she co-hosted the Emmy award- winning America's TVJobNetwork. www.gailkasper.com
This article is courtesy of the Top 1% Club and the Top 1% Club Mentor Gail Kasper. For additional information on Gail Kasper, her television appearances and speaking engagements, please visit gailkasper.com.