What is the secret to a successful real estate transaction?
Effective communication helps us better understand a person or situation. It enables us to resolve differences, it builds trust and respect, and it creates environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and care can flourish. As simple as communication seems, much of what we try to communicate – and others try to communicate to us – gets misunderstood, which can cause conflict and frustration in personal and professional relationships. By learning these effective communication skills, you can better connect with business associates, sellers, buyers, power team members, your spouse, kids, friends…anyone.
Through a series of several articles, I will highlight what I feel to be some of the most important skills possessed by an Effective Communicator and several approaches for improving those skills.
What is effective communication?
In the information age, we have to send, receive, and process huge numbers of messages every day, but effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. Effective communication requires you to also understand the emotion behind the information. It can improve relationships at home, work, and in social situations by deepening your connections to others and improving teamwork, decision-making, caring, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust. Effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress in the moment, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with.
Effective communication skill #1: Listening
Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they’re communicating.
Effective listening can:
- Make the speaker feel heard and understood which can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you.
- Create an environment where everyone feels safe to express ideas, opinions, and feelings, or plan and problem solve in creative ways.
- Save time by helping clarify information and avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
- Diffuse negative emotions. When emotions are running high, if the speaker feels that he or she has been truly heard, it can help to calm them down, diffuse negative feelings, and allow for real understanding or problem solving to begin.
Tips for effective listening
If your goal is to fully understand and connect with the other person, listening effectively will often come naturally. If it doesn’t, you can remember the following tips. The more you practice them, the more satisfying and rewarding your interactions with others will become.
- Focus fully on the speaker, his or her body language, and other nonverbal cues. If you’re daydreaming, checking text messages, or doodling, you’re almost certain to miss nonverbal cues in the conversation. If you find it hard to concentrate on some speakers, try repeating their words over in your head—it’ll reinforce their message and help you stay focused.
- Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns, by saying something like, “If you think that’s bad, let me tell you what happened to me.” Listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. You can’t concentrate on what someone’s saying if you’re forming what you’re going to say next. Often, the speaker can read your facial expressions and know that your mind’s elsewhere.
- Avoid seeming judgmental. In order to communicate effectively with someone, you don’t have to like them or agree with their ideas, values, or opinions. However, you do need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand a person. The most difficult communication, when successfully executed, can lead to the most unlikely and profound connection with someone.
- Show your interest in what’s being said. Nod occasionally, smile at the person, and make sure your posture is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like “yes” or “uh huh.”
Look for opportunities to practice your listening skills. There is a reason why we have two ears but only one mouth. We should be listening at least twice as much as we are talking.
Rich Dad Education Elite Trainer