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Boost Your Communication Skills

Jason Dailey August 25, 2015

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“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what do we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”

–Dale Carnegie

Do you think communication is important?

You communicate every day. You also breathe oxygen and blink your eyes every day – all without paying attention. Like those things, communication is easy to take for granted.

But, can you afford to take communication for granted?

That depends on how much you care about connecting with people in a positive way. Communication is how you connect with other people. And the connection can be positive or negative.

You connect with people at your job, your home, your church, the grocery store, and countless other places. Some connections are deeper than others. But, they’re all valuable human connections.

I don’t think anyone can afford to take communication for granted. The quality of your connections with people influences the quality of your life. I don’t have to prove it – it’s self-evident. We all see it and live it for better or for worse. And who doesn’t want a better quality life?

Communication wisdom

Most of us use a mix of verbal communication (spoken words) and nonverbal communication (body movements or gestures) when talking to another person.

Here, I want to share a quick and effective tip of tried-and-tested wisdom on verbal communication. It’s a tip from a salesman and author named Dale Carnegie.

In the early 20th century, Dale Carnegie began seeing a connection between better communication skills and better lives. He wanted to spread that message and boost other people’s communication skills. So, he taught communication classes to the general public.

Over many years, Carnegie learned much about the nature of human communication. The result was a book – How to Win Friends and Influence People. Since its first publication in 1936, the book has sold millions of copies worldwide. It’s an excellent book, and I recommend reading it.

A communication tip from Dale Carnegie

Let’s look to Carnegie’s book to get the quick tip for boosting your verbal communication skills.

Here it is:

Become genuinely interested in other people.

If you want a communication principle to build on, this is it. Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

How do you become genuinely interested in other people? Effort.

Don’t let the word effort scare you. With an attitude of positive expectation, the effort is enjoyable.

Your effort can start by answering these questions:

  • Do you like being around the kind of person who talks only about himself or herself and is never interested in others?
  • Do you want to be known as that kind of person?

Of course your answer to both questions is “No!”

I started with those two questions. At first, my motivation was trying to improve my reputation. But, it didn’t take me long to realize that being genuinely interested in other people is a blessing. What was forced at first gradually became natural.

Now, I often ask other people to share their opinions, stories, and perspectives out of sincere interest. I learn much and enjoy it every time I act on my genuine interest in other people. You can experience this too.

Here’s an exercise to help you along…

Each day this week, smile at one person you know and ask them how they are doing. Look them in the eye when you ask them, and listen. You don’t need to worry about giving them a perfect response after they answer you. A brief and positive response will do.

The important thing is that you’re showing genuine interest in the other person through your action. If you’re an introvert like me, I encourage you to push through your fears and try this communication tip. Over time your confidence will increase, and you’ll find yourself genuinely interested in other people, naturally.

Jason Dailey is a technical writer for ACS Technologies.

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