What separates us from other animals is the use of language. Animals do communicate in many different ways, through smell, dancing, or touching. What sets us apart is our verbal expression and, importantly, our ability to communicate clearly.
It is not always easy to communicate your thoughts, the use of words might be misunderstood, and our bodily gestures might be misread. We tend to say nothing and expect others to understand what we are thinking telepathically. We don’t get off our chest our concerns and blame or accuse others of indifference. We get annoyed, feel defensive, and respond in anger because we tend to ignore or hold on to things that we have not been able to voice with clarity, and the list goes on. Well, until we all evolve and become Professor X, it is to our best advantage to learn and hone our communication skills instead of reacting to our unvalidated assumptions.
Regardless of the concept and whether the conversation is personal, professional, or addressing an audience, the pillars to an intelligent and useful talk are based on:
- Know your purpose
- Know your intention
- Know the meaning
Once you have wiped out the haziness through the process of exploration of your intention and how it all relates to you and your audience, make sure that you practice non-judgment. This attitude will reinforce your efforts to express your thoughts with common sense and gives you the wisdom that a broad spectrum of opinions exists. Be mindful that rational explanations or points of view will probably be presented and that they might be totally in contrast with what you believe.
Often, we engage in communication that the result is unknown; hence, it is advised to make every effort to learn more about the anticipated topic while exchanging your point of view. Remember that our goal is to speak to be heard in our everyday conversations with family members, friends, colleagues, or at a business meeting. In establishing real communication, Carl Rogers, humanistic psychologist, believed that people, especially in insensitive and controversial issues, should give up traditional and legalistic kind of arguments and use a non-threatening approach based on shared and common goals. He was convinced that people stop listening or reading to a writer or speaker who makes them angry and puts them on the defensive. Hence to influence people, you should care about communicating with them rather than pointing the errors of their way.
Last but not least, cut through the noise, the unambiguity, and always ask yourself why you are engaging in a conversation. The magic of questioning your intention unconsciously appeals to your character’s smart, intelligent, and thoughtful part.