I've always been fascinated by great communicators, people who can clearly state what they desire and bend people to their will with just their words. We as a species have always followed great communicators, from FDR's fireside chats, to great preachers and famous comedians. There is something magnetic about great orators. They have the power to put a crowd in a trance and mobilize the listener towards a desired action. Its not just about people who can move the masses though. Its the people who are able to communicate what they want in their day to day lives.
I wanted to take a look at 4 keys of effective communication and discover what make each one so effective in bringing what you desire into being.
1. You must be authentic. In order to be effective at communication, what you desire must come from a place of truth. A large part of this is being strategic and actually taking the time to know what it is you want. Far too often we go in half-cocked and saying what sounds good because dammit that's what I want! When, if we by some miracle got what we wanted, it would make us miserable. So if you really want to be an effective communicator take a step back and decide, is this truly something that I want or am I just being a slave to my emotions?
2. You must have clarity. Once you decide what it is you want, you must find a way to calmly and clearly express it. Too often we leave our desires open to interpretation and then get butt hurt when we don't get what we really wanted. "What do you want for dinner? I don't know. How about this? No. How about that? No. Ahhh, what the hell do you want to eat?!?!?" Sound familiar? Don't be like that. If you want tacos, just ask for tacos. :)
3. Be assertive. When you make your request be known, do it with conviction. Have you ever seen a guy who is unsure of himself ask a girl out? Have you ever been that guy? I have and its AWKWARD as hell. The reason this is such a huge key to effective communication is because it lets the other person know they should take you and your request seriously. Let's be honest here, if you don't believe in what you're asking for why should they? You may not always get what you want but at least they know you're not fucking around.
4. Listen with an open mind. There is no way to over emphasis this one. Any great communicator takes the time to understand where the other side is coming from. The fact that you have two ears and one mouth should clue you in on which act you should tackle first. "Seek to understand then to be understood." Even if you look at this from a mere strategic vantage point. If you listen first, you will be like a counter puncher in boxing. You will be able to take in what the opponent or your loved one is saying and then thoughtfully express your point of view. The trick here is to actually listen with an open mind and not just waiting for your turn to talk.
I've actually found that by listening first, what I want and what the other person wants are not very far off at all. Nothing ever gets accomplished by just screaming at each other. Digging in your heels will leave you deep in a hole, to paraphrase some song lyrics by Marc Broussard. So by listening with an open mind you communicate that you care and that makes it easier to get what you are looking for.
Being an effective communicator has so many wonderful benefits that its hard to communicate in just one blog post. See what I just did there? :) Effective communication is the social lubricant that will help ease you through life and ultimately allow you live a fulfilled life with minimum unspoken desires.
Because, after all that's what we are all after in the first place. So whether you want to stop a social injustice or just want some tacos and a butt rub, don't be afraid to tell it like it is!
Best of life, Kris