- Greet to Create Human Contact
Communication is more than transmission; it’s also creation. It creates experiences and builds relationships. If we take away communication, we take away relationship. In fact, I would propose that when you communicate, you are doing the work of relationship. You are relating.
The work of communication often starts with greeting, which is a simple but significant behavior: the moment when you initiate the process of making contact. The best managers and leaders create opportunities for connection: They check on their employees and ask how they’re doing. They’re constantly in the process of building relationships. Communication oils the social wheels; it is not just a mode of transmission.
- Ask to Discover the Unknown
When we ask questions, we are going on a quest. We are putting ourselves in a position to discover more, to learn from a position of humility and curiosity.
On a basic level, we can distinguish between closed-ended questions and open-ended questions. One way of improving your communication is to learn to flip your questions from closed-ended to open-ended.
- Compliment to Affect People’s Sense of Self
The single most important truth in the field of human communication is that what we say, what we do, affects people. It affects who they are, in the moment, and it affects who they become. Complimenting is just one behavior among many that illustrates our capacity for affecting people in a positive way.
Complimenting is the choice to affect who people are and who they become, their sense of self. In fact, research suggests that we underestimate how good compliments make people feel. What is the best compliment that you have ever received? When people we look up to say something about us that resonates, we take it in; we integrate it.
- Disclose to Deepen Relationships
Not all disclosure has the same function, but it does have some common elements. First, the disclosure needs to be authentic. It has to reflect this congruency between what you feel on the inside, and what’s happening on the outside. It has to be communication that’s truthful, honest, and personal, that reflects what you think and what you value.
It has to have integrity, and, more importantly, it has to be human. The more your experience can reflect our common humanity, the more it’s likely to resonate with other people when it’s spoken. When leaders practice open and honest disclosure, they’re able to respond much more effectively to crises.
- Encourage to Give Support
We use communication to give love. We use communication to give affection. And when we choose to encourage others, we are using communication to give people the social support they need to develop and succeed.
We can transform any ordinary moment into an extraordinary one by what we say and share with other people, no matter what our role is. That is the power of encouragement. What we say and do can make an impact not only in that moment, but as a source of support for years to come.
- Listen to Transcend Differences
Learning how to become a better listener is not a small feat, but experts agree that it’s a common trait of good leaders. If you can choose to listen deeply, you can transcend the perceived differences that exist between you and other people.
You can learn to listen more deeply by maintaining a high degree of openness to other people’s perspectives and viewpoints. It also requires withholding judgment of people and their actions.
Finally, you have to learn how to give somebody your full attention. Physically leaning in with your body will start the process of deeper listening. If you get really frustrated, take your hand, put it underneath the table, and open it slightly—a physical gesture of openness. Listening can be uncomfortable, but there is a lot to learn if we quiet everything going on inside of us and turn our attention to other people.
If you practice positive communication, it’s going to help you grow as a professional and as a person, create high-quality relationships at work and at home, and lead more effectively. When you take these small actions, you’re beginning a butterfly effect. You’re starting to change the script on your interactions, which affects the relationships that you care about, the groups you work in, and the communities you belong to. And if we do this together, we will co-create a better society for ourselves and our children.