We are all communicators and connectors. We are communal beings and we love good company and fulfilling conversation.
On one hand, communicating is very natural to us. Then, there is that other side to communication: where it can be awkward, it can feel contrived, it can be confusing and undesirable.
My dad was the best communicator I’ve ever known. He was never awkward in a conversation. When he spoke, it was never contrived. People loved him and connected with him with ease!
I’ve asked myself: what was his secret? You know, it was just a few years ago that I figured it out.
He truly loved people.
Dad was genuine and people knew it. He cared and it showed.
Think about communicators whom you admire. Think about what qualities they have that you want. We can look at Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Ronald Regan. They all had so much to give us. They had a magnetic power to extend themselves, to share their cause and to share their dreams. They did it in a way that we wanted to follow, wanted to be a part of the journey. They were so convincing yet relatable and close. Even today, we are drawn in by their words, by their message, drawn into them as humans.
How did they do this? Again, like my dad, there was an element of love, of passion. It pervaded everything they did and said. Confident yet humble, each shared a dream they loved and wanted us to embrace as well.
You may not be as eloquent as these people I’ve highlighted. I, sure as heck, know I have a long way to go. One thing is very clear to me: we ALL influence thousands of people in our lifetimes. We ALL have a lot of good to communicate.
Of course, there is the element of style. Jim Rohn says, “Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity and the emotions to affect other people.”
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The biggest secret of all is the great secret that my dad had down to a T: valuing people and being genuine in care for them.
Here are a few tips to help you in your effectiveness and connectedness, through VALUING OTHERS, while in communication with them.
- Put a ‘10’ on people’s heads – Think about it – if you see people as TENS, you will treat PEOPLE as TENS. (People like to be treated as TENS!) They want to be around those who view them as such. By the way, they will also follow people that think of them as TENS. John Maxwell said it best: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
- Find common ground – Common ground makes the communication pleasing and more enjoyable. Letting people know that you relate to them and have shared experiences propels you into likeability. You want people to like you? Show interest in them genuinely – and you will be a amazed how many people will begin to draw near to you.
- Keep everything simple – Great communicators keep it simple. Don’t use big words or complex phrases that confuse people. As leaders, we want to take people with us into a shared experience. Jesus, the greatest communicator, spoke to the people in parables – simple yet deep stories that conveyed a powerful message. There are so many inputs bombarding our minds in today’s world that families and organizations have to be clear and specific in expectations to drive behavior.
- Be a great listener – Listening shows others that you value them and that you care enough to hear what they have to say. Building a great team or family requires the humility of listening. I’m not talking about barely hearing what others are saying while you think about all the things you want to add to the conversation. When you listen to others: be still and listen! It’s hard for us because our world is so fast-paced! When we get caught in that craziness, we lose the art of having a meaningful conversation.
Let’s make a decision today to be better communicators, better connectors. Without meaningful conversations, we lose meaningful relationships. This is why, my friends, we’ve got to learn not only how to value others but to show them that we value them, to communicate to them that we value them.
Go and Grow as an E5 Leader!