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8 Ways to Completely Refresh How You Communicate

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8 Ways to Completely Refresh How You Communicate
A post from our Communication blog

      Written by Ronnie Peterson
Organizing a social event or a party is never easy as it involves a lot of time, effort, and planning. The rewards hopefully outweigh the effort though.However, imagine you put in all of that effort and things still go wrong; some people don't attend the event, some come late; some vendors and contractors make mistakes in preparation etc. While you may not have any control over all these variables, such as poor weather, there are other aspects of the event you can focus on to ensure there are fewer glitches.

Poor communication while organising big social events and parties can lead to a lot of problems, and disappoint everybody. Improving communication skills and refreshing how you interact with people will help you be more successful in the future. Here are some tips and recommendations that can help.

1. Understand that people have different communication styles

Different people have different communication styles. Some are quiet and reserved, yet articulate when they want to speak, while others are boisterous, prone to speaking quickly and impulsively etc. It's important to develop emotional intelligence and understand how different people communicate.

This allows you to alter your own communication style to ensure others understand what you're trying to say well. If need be, with different individuals, change your own style with the specific intention of ensuring understanding.

2. Be involved in the discussion

It's easy to miss non-verbal cues, misunderstand facts, and limit conversation if you are not fully involved in it. Being distracted by what's on the phone or focusing on something else, leaves room for miscommunication. Always focus on the conversation and keep track of what's being said. It's also important to listen to people and take time to understand what they're saying.

Many people focus on their response and not on the conversation, which can prove to be detrimental and impacts the interaction. It's best to remove all distractions - put your phone away and look at the person you're speaking with, instead of focusing on something else like the scenery outside the window. This ensures you are fully involved in the discussion.

3. Speak at a slow and steady pace

People are always in a hurry and want to get the conversation over and done with quickly. Many tend to overspeak one another and eventually lose track of what's being said. Take a deep breath and maintain a steady pace during conversation. This is one of the most important and often-ignored conversation skills.

If you have something to say, wait until the other person has made their point and finished what they intended to say before presenting your own point. This also ensures there's no room for misunderstanding. Listen actively, ask questions to better understand their point, and repeat what the person has said to ensure you haven't missed anything.

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4. Body language matters

People communicate a lot through their body language. They gesture with their hands, smile, grimace, roll their eyes, etc. Everything they do conveys a message and reveals their thoughts, which is why it's important to understand body language. Everyone reads body language, even if they don't do so consciously.

By controlling your own body language and reading others well, you can convey the right message and keep the conversation on track. Find the right balance between being too rigid or too open when it comes to body language. This will help in both your personal and professional life. You will know when your body language is too open and friendly and when it's too closed and stoic.

5. Be assertive and confident

Statements such as "I don't know," "I'm not sure," "Anything will do," etc. convey uncertainty and doubt. People will take your words with a grain of salt if your language is hesitant and unsure, which can significantly hamper communication. It's important to be assertive and confident in order to convey the message clearly. Use assertive words and clear sentences to ensure everything is clear and certain; this will have a positive impact on your interactions with others.

They're more likely to follow instructions or recommendations stated in a firm and assertive tone. Assertiveness improves conversation and has an impact on your leadership skills as well. Things like organising an event, supervising a team, working on a project, etc, require excellent leadership skills and assertive communication can help.

6. Keep communications short and to the point

Constantly jumping from one topic to another, and discussing several things simultaneously, can be confusing and cause misunderstandings. That's what is likely to cause problems with your supplier for the party, as you convey your requirements. It's important to keep all conversations short and to the point. Don't make unnecessary detours into different points and drift away from the core subject of the conversation.

Being on track helps reduce the possibility of misinterpretation and ensures everyone in the conversation can easily keep up with what's being said. This is especially important in group discussions where several people are interacting with each other.

7. Maintain friendliness

People are more likely to speak with individuals who're open-minded and friendly in their conversation with others. It's important to maintain a light and open tone, keep the language non-confrontational and be respectful. Be friendly, kind, and respectful in both written and spoken communication. This compels others to respond in kind, which leads to civil dialogue.

Maintaining friendliness in conversation can also help people develop long-term professional, business, and personal relationships with others. This has a positive impact on both professional and personal life. For example, if you maintain friendly conversation and interaction with different vendors involved in the event planning, you'll build a positive relationship with them. That can help if you need their services again in future events.

8. Change things up

Lastly, here is one that may require the most work, yet will actually refresh your communication the most. In point 1, I covered that everybody has a communication style. But whatever your style is, it doesn't have to stay that way. You can get into a rut in the way you communicate.

If you deliberately change the way you communicate, if you repeatedly interact with the same person or people, it forces them to pay attention more.

Consider this example. A pastor routinely spoke for 45-50 minutes when giving his sermon during a service. He then also distributed notes afterwards. His congregation got used to that fact, and he suspected that they were losing concentration while he spoke.

So he planned that his next sermon would be exactly half that time, 25-30 minutes tops. To do that, he used not one example. He mentioned his points, but rather than trying to clarify with a picture people could relate to, went straight to the next point. When the sermon ended way sooner than expected, people suddenly realised that they had missed something. Their ability to zone in and zone out as he spoke was not there.

The next week, he again spoke for the shortened length of time, and it appeared that people were concentrating more, but the odd person who lost concentration so badly, had not even noticed the shorter length of sermon. So in week two, he said that he would not be distributing notes. Suddenly, everybody had to pay attention more.

Within two months, he had also asked his audience questions, which he had never previously done, and called people up onto the platform to help out with little things, while he was talking, rather than his wife doing those things each time.

After that, he could return to a slightly longer length, and give examples again, but from then on, he consistently changed something every couple of weeks. His audience could no longer anticipate things. And that forced them to pay attention. Changing things up will not only see you change, but the other party will have to change accordingly too.

By following the recommendations mentioned above, you can improve your communication skills, and see its positive impact on both your personal and professional life. Whether planning events, working on projects, or being a part of a team, everything becomes easier with better communication skills.

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