11 rules of successful communication
In this essay, I will cover the principles of the conversation dynamics that will help you to become better at any interaction you engage in.
If I think about it thoroughly there are really not that many secrets of successful communication.
Here is my list of must-know things that will dramatically improve your interpersonal skills upon implementation:
1. Eye contact
The eyes are the mirror of the soul.
When you look someone in the eyes choose only one eye. It doesn’t matter which one, left or right, just choose one.
If you will be jumping from one eye to another the person will feel awkward and so will you. Also, it is very uncomfortable.
The ability to look with friendliness straight into the eye communicates the pureness of your intentions and calm confidence.
Don’t stare at another person without blinking. Don’t forget to
A smile is a key to unlock any heart. It is the universal language of kindness.
Practice with the mirror if you need but most importantly smile inside.
A smile is not the movement of the muscles it is the movement of the soul.
It is the attitude.
Make it right and it will shine through you.
3. Discharge the awkwardness
Feeling awkward at your first interactions? Vocalize it. Just say it. Say:
I am sorry. Is it just me or it feels really awkward?
The ability that you and the person you talk to might feel odd will instantly discharge the tension and will put a smile on your interlocutor’s face.
The skill of making other people feel comfortable is always appreciated.
4. Intent aka meta-message
The intent is your “inner game”.
What you say is not so important.
What really matters is the sub-communication projected from the inside.
Those are the thoughts you put on a background replay in your head while you are talking.
If the things that you say are incongruent with your intentions the other person will feel it.
Project your confidence, deep beliefs in what you say, and clear friendliness. Keep saying in your head:
I am a friend. I like you. You are charming. I am very interested in everything you say.
The projection of your intent will do most of the job in the building of the rapport. All you have to do is to stay mindful of it.
5. Genuine interest
Genuine interest implies your dissatisfaction with generic answers.
Take a look at this short video of Jim Carrey on the red carpet:
Jim Carrey is awakened.
He peels off a layer of the generic prepared answer. He aims for the soul and his words find the target.
You have to be mindful of what another person says.
Do you hear a preprogrammed response or the person speaks from his heart?
The ability to distinguish the former from the latter makes all the difference.
In order to reach people’s hearts, you need to
6. Go deep
I hate small talks.
They don’t contribute to the value of somebody’s life. I encourage you to go deep.
Even if you meet a person once, this what will make them remember you. Be original, be creative, and ask questions that matter. Questions that say something about your conversation partner as a person.
Instead “What is your major?” ask “Was the choice of your major your choice or someone made it for you?”
Instead of “What do your parents do?” ask “What would you tell your parents if you could go back in time when you were a kid and they were educating you?”
Instead of “What do you do for a living?” ask “What do you think are the merits of a successful life?”
Challenge your conversation partner.
Nudge them to engage in the conversation on a deeper level.
People will reveal who they truly are when they will fail to pill out a card with a prepared answer in their mind-box.
And when the conversation is over they will think: “Wow…who da hell was that?”
7. Give space.
If I start talking you can’t talk simultaneously with me.
You should be mindful that the space for talking is finite. When you talk you are occupying the conversation space pushing your conversation partner from it.
Being comfortable with the silence is the ability to pull the information from another person. Let them take the stress of the conversation if they are willing to.
Keep silence more.
8. Make pauses.
Pauses create tension.
This trick is used by stand-up comedians, politicians and all other sorts of public speakers.
Let the person finish.
Take a pause.
Confirm that they completed their thought and do not continue to talk.
Even the amount of white space between the lines in italic above create a similar effect.
- Make pauses within your speech to create tension and emphasize the important points. Slow down. Say more by saying less. But words that are said should hit a bull’s eye.
- Make pause to make sure that the other person has finished speaking. Interruption is one of the highest forms of disrespect in conversation. Be respectful. Treat others how you want to be treated.
- Make a pause before you speak. It will help you to take time and formulate your thoughts with the highest precision but most importantly it will create a tension of waiting what you are about to say.
9. Mind Body language.
If you cross your legs and hands, your conversation partner will subconsciously perceive that you are closed for his arguments even before he starts talking.
Take a proper stance. The openness of the body automatically translates into the openness of the mind.
When you talk to someone and lean back you show your disinterest. When you lean forward you are getting closer or entering the personal space of another person.
Finding the right angle will help you to get trust much faster.
Being able to place soft touches on the body of your conversation partner is crucial in building a rapport.
Touching is a form of physical expansion and the comfort that you are doing it with it sub-communicates a lot about your confidence and self-esteem.
What you can do:
- Raise your hand asking for high-five when you both agree on something. This is the simplest one, non-obtrusive and friendly gesture.
- Touch the hands of the person you talk to. Just a short soft touch will serve as a notation of getting close.
- Touch the shoulders as a friend kind of reassuring that everything will be alright.
- Slightly hit a person’s arm when he is making a joke. This is healthy.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Knowing what is the right moment and the right touch is a matter of practice. Be cool about it.
What makes a touch creepy is the thought that you do it in a creepy way and you have no right to touch other people’s body.
When you are playful and not serious about it, it feels very natural even to touch people that you just have met.
You can find a lot of video information and books about body language. Study the materials, they will help you to read other people better but don’t forget that the practice is the most important thing.
10. Be direct
If you don’t ask the answer is always NO.
Don’t shy away from your opportunities.
If you have something to say — say it. Make the point first and elaborate on details later.
People like someone who is daring and audacious, someone who has balls to claim what they think is right.
11. It is not about you.
If I could give only one rule of success in interpersonal interactions that would be it.
The successful conversation is not about you.
People don’t want a person to talk with. They want to be heard.
If you become the one who is meeting their need in this you will get friends for life.
This is the truth. Let them talk 80% of the time about themselves and after you say bye they will keep telling others: “OMG he is such an interesting person!”
Ask open questions. Those are the ones that can’t be responded with “yes” or “no”. Help people to develop their topic and unfold their arguments by asking questions like “how?” and “why?” more.
Be mindful when you use “I” in your sentences and listen carefully to when they do so.
I noticed in many people that they don’t actively listen. They just wait until you are done with your line so that they can say what they want. You can see it easily as their facial expression reflects the inner focus on the thing that they want to say not what you are saying.
Pay attention. Be authentic. Let people talk. And you will win them forever.
When I was younger I had a hard time understanding these simple rules that make communication seamless and a person who applies them extremely and almost instantly likable.
When I got older I started to perceive these rules as common sense.
So will you.
Don’t worry if you struggle. Things will fall into places when the time is right. Keep calm and practice.
People’s mastery is a hard yet the most rewarding path you will ever step in.
Ask deep questions. Listen actively. Keep silence.