Communication is much harder for people than they think it is;
Anybody can say what they’re feeling, describe something, and communicate with the people around them. However, how effective is that communication? And how much of it is just random fluff that really doesn’t help convey their message?
There’s a concept in the sales world called Kiss versus kill. Which basically means keeping it short and simple, versus keeping it long and lengthy.
You can see where I’m going with this…
An amateur salesman would likely kill the sale buy going on and on about unimportant details. On the other hand, a good salesman would make sure to target and deliver all the important points in the shortest time possible, making it much easier to close the deal.
How does this help you in everyday life?
It shows you just how much of a difference the way you communicate can affect other people. Their decision to trust you, like you, buy from you, help you, and so on.
Here are some very simple techniques you can adopt within 10 minutes, to vastly improve your communication skills:
1. Focus on Quality
The first lesson in order to vastly improve your communication skills, is to focus on quality.
If you can, try to remove all types of filler words like; “I guess” and “well you know”.
These words bring absolutely no value to the conversation and they literally mean nothing. They are simply being used to drag the conversation out, and it takes much longer to get to the point.
Listen to the following paragraph:
“What did you do this winter? Well I had an okay time, I went snowboarding for the first time with some of my friends and it was actually a lot harder than it looked.”
Now compare it to this:
“What did you do this winter? My friends and I went snowboarding, it was actually my first time and it was a lot harder than it looked.”
Notice how the second version is much shorter but the information being conveyed is the exact same. However, it sounds more confident and even more sophisticated.
Instead of using these words that clutter the overall conversation, try using pauses for effectiveness…
2. Emphasize Your Speech with Pauses
Using pauses can be very effective, instead of filling the conversation with useless words. Pauses can emphasize different parts of the message and help deliver a much more powerful communication.
Don’t be afraid to pause every once in a while, instead of relying on filler words to get you through the speech with no awkward silences.
Pauses can be very powerful and can emphasize different parts of the message, but we will talk a little more about that in the next lesson on improving your communication.
Here’s a quick example of this before we move on. This is using the exact same sentence as before, however this time we’re taking advantage of pauses.
“Some friends and I went snowboarding. It was actually my first time, but it was a lot harder than it looked.”
The following skill is probably the single most important skill in terms of overall conversation ability. If you can Master this one skill you’ll be able to have endless conversations with pretty much anybody.
3. Pick Topics That Can Be Branched
This is an absolute genius technique for improving communication skills. It’ll also pretty much guarantee that you never run out of things to say. Look at the following sentence:
“I live in New York City, but I’ve always wanted to move to the suburbs, and I hate being around too many people. It’s because I love nature and I hate being around so many people.”
There are four different topics that you can Branch off from here:
- You can talk about that time you wanted to visit in York City.
- You can talk about how you feel living in the suburbs.
- You can talk about your relationship with nature
- You can also talk about how you’re an introvert and how you can relate with their hate of being around so many people.
When the conversation dies it’s usually because there are no other topics to talk about that are interesting.
So when given the opportunity to branch off into different topics, choose one that you’re interested in talking about. Also keep in mind that you want to be giving the other person opportunities to talk about multiple topics as well. If you don’t give them topics to Branch off to the conversation will eventually reach a dead end.
The skill comes with practice.
The more you will notice them look for topics to bounce off of the more you will notice them.
Here’s another sentence:
“I like going to the gym. There’s a sense of satisfaction I get when I see myself getting better at something.”
There are three different topics that you can Branch off from here:
- you can talk about how you like going to the gym
- you can talk about something that satisfies you
- you can also talk about something that you got better at
4. Don’t Ask Too Many Questions
Think back to the last time you went on an interview. When I think of interviews I think of something that is high tension, nerve-racking and definitely not something the average person enjoys going through.
A common mistake that a lot of people make when meeting someone new is entering what I like to call interview mode. They bombard the other person with question, after question, after question, and this can be extremely uncomfortable. The issue with asking too many questions is that a makes the conversation very one-sided.
When you ask a question, you’re not sharing any information about yourself. All you’re doing is demanding information from the other person.
This is where that uncomfortable feeling comes from. The lack of connection that’s being built. You want to be sharing information about yourself as much as possible so that you can build rapport and build a connection.
5. Use Statements Instead of Questions
The last tip on this list is to use statements instead of questions.
When you make statements, you share information about yourself pay attention to the next time you hang out with your close friends or buddies you’ll notice that the majority of the conversation is with statements.
Once in a while a question is thrown in as a natural step in the conversation. But the large majority will be statements. There are a lot of different types of statements, however here are a few of the main ones:
1. Story/Opinion Statements
The opinion statement tells a story or shows your opinion on something.
Here is an example of a question: What are you scared of?
Here is an example of the story statement being used to replace this question:
“I used to be terrified of the dark when I was a kid. I would sleep with my head under the covers to hide from all the monsters and ghosts.”
Notice how the question shares nothing about yourself. It doesn’t really give the other person any information besides answering your question; so you’re only giving them one thing to talk about.
On the other hand, the story statement shares information, while it also gives the other person opportunities to talk about different topics.
You’re giving them different things to thread off of:
- They can talk about whether or not they’re scared of the dark
- They can talk about things that used to do when they were a kid
- They can even tell ghost stories
2. Cold Read Statement
The cold read statement is a great way to use statements with someone you just met.
It’s an observation about the other person. Instead of saying “What do you like to do for fun?” say something like; “You seem like a fun person I bet you have some interesting hobbies.”
This is a great trick because the person can respond in three different ways:
One: you’re wrong and don’t correct you I’m actually not fun I sleep all day over to your wrong but you’ll be asked why you.
Two: I’m actually not fun but I’m curious as to why you thought that I was
Three: you’re correct and a large amount of report will be built instantaneously I am fun I love to dance and sing with but how did you know.
Each of these ways gives you many more opportunities to branch off into different topics; as compared to the simple question: “What do you do for fun?”. So you’re sharing information first and you’re not asking anything from them. It’s up to them to decide how to respond.
3. Random Statements
Finally, we have the random statement:
Fairly self-explanatory; they’re completely random statements that literally just pop into your mind. They can range from anything including thing happening around you, observation stories, and so on. There is a whole lot of things you could talk about.
And doing this can make you an incredibly interesting and curious person to other people, especially on dates. The more random, the better. Why? Because it throws people off guard, and opens them up.
They’ve been asked the same damn questions every time they go on a date, or meet someone new.
This time, you’re providing random conversation which is guaranteed to get them out of that boring question slump.
Here are some examples:
“I’m tired of my friends all they do is talk about sports all day.”
“I’m thinking about taking a year off from school.”
Each of these statements share a lot of information about yourself they also provide multiple toppings to Branch off into and finally they bring a sense of creativity and spontaneousness to the conversation.
Here’s a quick recap of the 3 simple tips you can use to improve your communication skills:
- Focus on quality
- Emphasize phrases with pauses
- Pick topics you can branch
- Don’t ask too many questions
- Use statements instead of questions
Remember conversation is a skill, and just like any skill there is a key to learning it.
But the most growth will come from experience, when you actually go out there and you practice what you’ve learned. Apply these tips to help improve your communication skills in the future.