Over the years, we’ve learned many lessons on how to effectively communicate. Some of those lessons were learned the hard way, mostly due to lack of self-control and lack of situational awareness. Most people have experienced totally bombing when trying to share something with an individual or a group, which is never fun. It takes courage to speak up, but it also takes wisdom to know when and how to share. Thankfully, effective communication is not that difficult as long as you understand and follow the rules of the game.
BE YOUR BEST
As you plan to speak up and share, pay attention to how you present yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I being straight-forward?
- Am I being honest?
- Am I making my point clearly and concisely?
- Is my body language confident and friendly?
- Am I staying calm?
If you answered NO to any of the above questions, now may not be the time to speak up. Your thoughts or ideas will be best received if you deliver them with respect, confidence, and clarity.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
One of the first steps in getting your points across is the willingness to listen. If you want people to listen to you, you need to be willing to listen to them. It’s said that the sum of our experiences makes us who we are. Those life experiences work to create a lens that we see the world through. So, it just makes sense that not everyone sees things the same way.
It’s very common that when someone expresses a difference in opinion it can make you feel frustrated or even offended. Try your best to never take someone’s opinion personally. Remember everyone’s opinions are a reflection of what they’ve been through in life. So, the next time an opportunity arises, take a moment to show interest in their opinion, even if it’s very different from your own. Ask, “What makes you think that way,” or, “What brought you to that conclusion?” Be sincere in wanting to learn why they think the way they do. You can even say, “I know how you feel. I can see why you would feel that way. If I experienced that, I might feel that way too. Here is what I have found.” Taking the time to let someone know you heard them is a great way to show respect and open the door to sharing your thoughts.
People have a unique understanding of the world and how it works. Because of this, our perspectives don’t always align with others, but when we can find a common ground or can agree to disagree, we can truly respect and admire one another.
READ THE ROOM
Learn to have wisdom in the timing of when you share your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. Make sure that the time is right and the door is open. We’ve all seen or maybe personally experienced someone trying to share something when the time just wasn’t right. It’s like they were trying to walk through a closed door and in turn, ran face first into the door. Ouch!
Every situation is different. You can’t expect your boss at work to respond to your opinion in the same way that a friend might. There’s also a time and place for when it’s appropriate or inappropriate to speak up. For example, if you had an idea that you believe is a good one, but think it might undermine someone else’s idea, it’s better to relay that information privately. You’ll also need to change your approach depending on the person that you’re speaking up to. Before you confront them or question their ideas by presenting your own, consider what kind of personality they have. You don’t want to cause problems for yourself by making someone feel embarrassed or disrespected. When you’re presenting your beliefs, consider the person you’re presenting them to, your environment, and the topic. Finally, be ready for any response; expect the best but prepare for the worst.
Effective communication isn’t difficult as long as you play by the rules. Stay in control of your emotions, don’t take things personally, speak with respect, and have wisdom in knowing when to speak up and when to stay quiet. We hope that these tips will help you in effectively sharing your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs with the world!