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16 tips on how to communicate well and build relationships

Relationships, whether they are friendships, partnerships or in business, can be experienced as if they happen to you or they can be managed with purpose, this doesn’t mean using people, it means you can give with power or take through circumstance. These communication rules will help you take control, so you are able to ensure they get the best of you and you feel rewarded as well.

16 tips on how to communicate well and build relationships

1. Giving

So, rule number one is to come from a giving point of view. Mindfulness is a power and can be abused so as you become proficient make sure you have the other person and their best interests in mind.

2. Let them speak first

To be able to give you need to know what they need or want, let them speak first and listen intently so you are really hearing, think about context and well as their words.

3. Ask Questions

Whether you are in in a social situation or at work the answer is to ask questions, and there are no silly questions. If you don’t understand or you are just lost for words, questions are the key. Their responses will give you context, information and meaning.

4. Expose yourself slowly

Be the last to speak, don’t rush in, listen to all the discussion first and get context and other points of view before making a contribution. We automatically build up a response before we speak even as we listen it's important not to jump in and deliver this response too early.

5. Don’t judge

Don’t judge others in conversations, we only get a small bite of information about someone as they speak, there is always more information we need before we can categorise them in our mind. Keep your opinions open so they can continue to add more later.

6. Talk in general terms

Being specific in your conversations, either about events, things, or opinions, usually leads to objections and even criticism. It’s important to keep your conversation as general as possible so you can keep people onside and hopefully prompt them to speak more and deliver more information and context. A counter argument or criticism builds up resistance in others, you want others to feel comfortable enough to get the whole point across.

7. Slow down and use the pause.

They say the mind can think us 350 words a minute and your mouth can only deliver 150 so there are 200 words spare to change, delete or amend. Considering what you say purposely like this gives you time to think about the other person or people want to hear and what they may need to hear.

The pause can also have a dramatic effect as well, put the audience on the edge waiting for what’s next. Slow purposeful conversation will take precedence in most situations.

8. Use Structure

Just like when giving a speech and using notes your mind is capable of building a structure to your discussion in conversation, make a list in your mind of the points that need to be covered or even just use an opening, body and conclusion structure each delivering the same message for reinforcement.

Having a structure will also prevent spontaneous ideas from entering the conversation often tripping us up and undermining the prime message we are trying to deliver.

16 tips on how to communicate well and build relationships

9. Don’t think about what to say next

Don’t build a reply in your mind beforehand, especially while they are talking, listen and take all of their message in properly.

So often I find myself building a reply before they've finished and then realising, I hadn't heard all of what they were trying to say in loud noisy environments this often becomes the case. Take your time and remember it doesn't all have to be said at once.

10. Body language

Side-to-side body language is better, sit at a 90-degree angle at tables not opposite, or stand to their side. Its less confronting and easier for them to hear especially in noisy environments.

Use both hands usually try to keep your gestures blow your eyes she is not to cut off eye contact.

11. Smile with your eyes

Maintaining eye contact will ensure interest in concentration, And also convince the person or people you are talking to that you are sincere and in tune with their thinking the friendly disposition is shown when you smile but is only complete when your smile extends to your eyes.

12. Push Pull

When talking and listening it is handy to think about the push and pull of the message you are giving or receiving. Sometimes you have to push the message across and other times they will pull the message from like a question. This keeps interest and can be further developed to a more complex level where you can entice those you are communicating with to your way of thinking.

13. Technology and Social Media

Too often we use technology as a shield or even a barrier to avoid face to face communication. Social media should really be only for organising unless distance is a problem. Organise a time and place and talk directly with people when you can.

14. Show people how you feel

Show people how you feel, don’t just tell them. Touching, facial expressions and true eye contact are important in getting the real meaning of you message across and understanding theirs’s. Mostly this is happening automatically but sometimes you need to be at least aware of what you are do to enforce the communication.

15. Deliver more than expected

Without being a smart arse, deliver more than expected. If you are in a business situation a little bit more information may be handy to provide context to the situation or suggestion. Provide a short story or humour.

16 tips on how to communicate well and build relationships

16. Familiarity breeds contempt

Just like in families where you know each other too well familiarity can breed contempt. So measure the private information you give to others, in business you may never give away everything about you. I a new relationship you may do so over time, certainly not all at once. Within a family manager your familiarity by waiting for replies and not assuming you know what they are going to say.

Overall take your time, think purposely about the relationship you are building and take a giving mindset to the conversation.

Tony Steven

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