While it’s great to be an expert at math, science, or social studies, there’s another subject that will do more for your success in life: Communication. Those with excellent communication skills have an easier time in life.
People who struggle in social situations may be at higher risk for mental and physical health problems, according to a 2017 University of Arizona study. The reason is that people with weak social skills can go through greater stress and loneliness, and both can negatively affect health, according to study author Chris Segrin.
Communication skills aren’t covered as heavily as other subjects in school, and this is unfortunate. It’s worth the time to enhance this critical set of skills, even if you’re already a capable communicator.
Keep these techniques in mind when communicating with others:
Use The Right Amount Of Eye Contact
There’s a fine line between too much and too little eye contact. If you don’t have enough eye contact, people will either think you’re submissive or disinterested. If you have too much eye contact, people view you as aggressive. Be seen as more likable by finding the middle point.
Eye contact synchronizes brain activation to establish the connection between individuals. You cannot attain shared attention without it, research indicates.
“Based on the enhancement of behavioral and neural synchronization during mutual gaze, we now know that shared attention is hard to establish without eye contact,"
Norihiro Sadato, the senior author of the study, said.
An excellent general rule to follow is to maintain eye contact when either of you is speaking. Break eye contact when there is silence. This simple rule will improve your eye contact immensely. Experiment and see for yourself.
If maintaining eye contact is uncomfortable for you, study the other person’s eyes. What color are they? How big are their pupils?
Imagine you’re an artist and you have to draw the other person’s eyes. You’d look very closely. Surprisingly, this can significantly reduce any anxiety you might be feeling.
If you want to be known as a great conversationalist, become a great listener. There are so few people interested in genuinely listening to another person that you’ll stand out. Eye contact is part of being a good listener.
Wait until the other person finishes before speaking. Avoid interrupting anyone.
Giving your full attention is about more than just maintaining eye contact. It’s possible to look someone in the eye and think about something else. Keep your focus on the other person.
Another tip you may want to try is to use your right ear more.
Listening calls for sensitive hearing and the capability to turn information into understandable meaning. Add in everyday background noise and continual interruptions, and the ability to comprehend what you hear becomes that much more difficult. Audiology researchers have shown that in such demanding environments, people depend more on their right ear for processing and retaining what they hear.
Ask Open-ended Questions
It’s hard to keep a conversation going if you ask questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”
Ask questions that require a more substantial answer. It’s also a good idea to avoid answering questions with a one-word answer. Explain yourself.
Be Aware Of Your Body Language
Your body language can make others view you as open and inviting or closed off. Avoid crossing your arms and legs. Turn and face people while you’re communicating.
Body language can also make you feel different. Sitting up straight in your chair can give you more confidence in your thoughts, according to social psychologists. Researchers have found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe ideas they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.
Know The Purpose Of The Communication
What is the goal? Have a goal for every interaction, even if that goal is just to enjoy yourself.
If you’re negotiating a business deal, the goal is to negotiate the best possible deal for your side. Let your goal guide you throughout the conversation.
Be Sure That You Understand
It’s easy to misinterpret what someone is attempting to communicate to you.
Take the time to ensure that you’ve understood the other person correctly. Ask questions. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure of the other person’s message. Restate what you believe the other person communicated to you.
Be Sure That You’re Understood
It’s just as essential to ensure that the other person is clear on what you’re communicating. Ask questions and ensure that you have been understood. Ensure that you’re clear in your message.