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How to Improve Your Communications Skills

[ 0 ] Aug. 5, 2013 | SBO Editor

Many people go through life being victims of their circumstances, simply reacting to situations and emotions. This is so pervasive that William Ury, a world-renowned negotiator, has called humans ‘reaction machines’. “While this reactive way of life might be easy, it hurts our chances of having productive communication and creating lasting connections”, said Rick Goodfriend, compassionate communication expert. “When individuals are intentional and effectively approach communications situations, more needs are met”.

Below are some of Rick Goodfriend’s top tips for taking an effective approach to communication with friends, family members and colleagues, taken from his book I Hear You, But…

Have an Intention (p. 65): Before speaking with another, especially if you are upset check your intention. Decide that your intention will be to understand the other and to be understood. This will bring focus to the interaction and allow you to have your needs met.

Show Gratitude (p.49): Instead of letting other people’s emotional energy dictate your day, take the time to communicate your gratitude to a few people each day. It can be as simple as a sentence long note of thanks. Your proactive expression of gratitude will shift the communication climate  to a positive one, helping meet both your needs and the needs of the recipient.

Don’t Forget to Ask (p.142): Oftentimes after interacting with others we feel like we have done what we can and have no power to affect how the listeners will respond. A proactive approach would be to ask for comments and feedback. Your care for their opinion will be appreciated and you will gain the tools needed to improve future communications.

Transforming Intense Feelings Before Communicating Them (p.109): One of the most difficult communication skills is expressing ourselves honestly and with compassion, especially when we’re upset. When experiencing difficult emotions, proactive communicators can be mindful and work to transform their emotions instead of allowing the negative emotions to shape the interaction. When you identify a negative emotion that could be detrimental to your communication goals, you can acknowledge the feeling verbally and say “I accept this emotion” 4 times. You will notice the intensity diminish which will allow the situation to proceed with more ease.

These tips can more can be found in I Hear You, But… The book is available for purchase on Amazon.com in paperback copy and Kindle format and directly from www.rickgoodfriend.com

About Rick Goodfriend

Rick Goodfriend has been teaching communication skills to businesses audiences and the public for over a decade. He is an alumni of the Nonviolent Communications leadership program, where he furthered his personal expertise in these innovative communication techniques and was motivated to teach them as well. Mr. Goodfriend is also founder of World Empathy Day. It is a day of increased consciousness for peaceful communication, connection with self and others, forgiveness and acceptance. It is celebrated with participants around the world. Mr. Goodfriend is available internationally for speaking engagements at corporate events, trainings, and educational forums. He is also open to media interviews and contributing content on relevant subjects.

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Category: Features