Communication consistently comes up as a topic people are interested in learning more about and getting better at it.
I have the secret. Are you ready for it?
Be a better listener.
So, the question then becomes, “How do I become a better listener?” versus “How do I become a better communicator?” That’s the start, at least.
I’ve cited this UCLA study before and I will again because it’s a powerful one. And while it’s geared toward communicating, it applies to listening as well, given that listening is part of the communication process. So be mindful of your body language.
- 55% of what you communicate comes from your body language
- 38% of what you communicate comes from your tone of voice
- And only 7% of communication has to do with the words you’re saying
Right away, you know you have control of changing your communication and listening style to be better.
- Listen to understand, not to get your point across.
- Listen, like really listen, versus thinking about what you will say next while the other person is talking.
- Take inventory of your body language.
- Are your eyebrows raised (expressing interest)?
- Are you smiling (showing the person you’re happy to hear what they have to say)?
- Do you have a frown or a scowl (not a good thing, even if it’s just a natural look)?
- Are you nodding your head (to be interesting, you must be interested)?
When you’re on the communicator end, your tone is key! Don’t be a robot with a monotone voice. Inflection is your best friend. Sincerity in your voice is also super impactful.
And while words are only 7% of communication, they are very powerful, so choose them wisely!
I will be writing more about communicating, listening and likeability over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
Life is good. – Jeff
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