Most people confuse communication with talking.
Talk can be inspiring. It can be engaging. It can be informative. But talking tends to be a monologue.
I’m a talker. Hell, I get paid to talk for a living and that doesn’t mean I’m a great communicator.
Communication is a dialogue.
It is always interesting to me when people say they are a strong communicator. Oprah is a great communicator! Not just by what she says and the endless dialogue she creates, but also by her ability to be present and truly listen to the conversation. She engages the person she is communicating with, as well as any audience that may be listening in. This is what makes her an extraordinary communicator.
A few reminders for even the greatest communicator:
- If you want people to listen to you, you need to start by listening to them
- Be open. Stay curious. A great conversation starts with great questions. Questions are where dialogue begins.
- If you have to be right, you had best learn how to deal with conflict effectively. I see people ‘dig in’ all the time. They spin what they heard because they can’t be wrong. It is an unbecoming trait.
- Make people right more often. People don’t like to be wrong. When you make a person wrong, you break rapport. Find common ground and build on it.
- Not everyone is worth your dialogue time. Be gracious and walk away.
- Listen more than talk. The other person will tell you everything you need to know. Many times they really aren’t worth having a conversation with based on what they are saying.
- Many people say they want diversity. Diversity generally provides different perspectives. Different perspectives are not likely to be your perspective. You can’t have diversity and think everyone will agree with you. A great conversation is one that is interesting and enhances your world. Like opinions are fun and easy…it is in our differences that we learn and grow and gain perspective.
- Being validated by others isn’t a requirement of a great communicator
- Aggression is usually met with aggression
If communication was easy, everyone would be a good communicator. The strength of your communication is defined not in the easy times but in the most difficult.
Can you navigate a challenging situation with grace and get people to a more productive space? When you speak are people listening? Do you engage dialogue?