Creating your own personal road map for communication is the first step in how to develop communication skills that parlay your unique strengths into successes. Most people agree that communication is the key to success in all areas of your life. Did you know that most of us see ourselves as great or at least good communicators, but we believe that many other people are lacking in communication skills. Communication only works well when everyone feels understood. It’s not just about you; but about the people you are communicating with and how different their point of view may be. The obvious differences to overcome involve gender, age, culture, purpose and intention. A few simple tips can fill in the gaps for how people communicate and help you be achieve the level of effectiveness that you are seeking. This could look like reaching a common goal or being able to get what you need while honoring everyone involved. Success is intended and mastering communication is the most important key to your success. So let’s get started!
How to Develop Communication Skills: Why Do I Need a Personal Road Map?
Have you ever had a relationship that ended with a client, family member or lover that stopped without the most important things being said? I think we all can relate to this and it is actually one of the reasons that we began to study communication years ago. We are all so quick to cut someone off if we sense the slightest offense or make an assumption about someone that causes us to feel uncomfortable. But what if we are reacting a little too quickly or that our assumptions could be wrong? Effective communication will causes us to pause, listen and then determine what the intent of the other person is.
In college we attended communication classes that helped us to overcome our fear of speaking in front of large groups, but these classes did not cover the subtleties of gender differences. Putting together a personal roadmap helps us to see where the gaps in communication are to have more success in all areas of your life. We can achieve things like:
- More clients and better business deals
- More ease in all of our relationships (less drama!)
- Solving conflict instead of avoiding it
- More dates that lead to 2nd dates
- Closer relationships with those we care about
The difference between being a good enough communicator and a great communicator can have a huge impact on your life and the lives of those around you. The good news is that figuring out what skills you want to learn to develop your communication is not hard when you step back and take a look at the results you’re achieving. Not everyone needs to learn the same skills, you just want to fill in the gaps between the unique strengths you already possess and where you could move it to the next level. In most cases it’s not even about you but who you’re communicating with!
How to Develop Communication Skills: Create Your Own Personal Road Map
There are 4 top areas that we can look into to dramatically improve our communication. Remember, it is about complementing your strengths and closing the gaps on any weakness. The road map allows you to add the skills to bridge the gaps in communication to achieve your success.
Drama: Excessive reaction to something being said instead of addressing what is being said in a respectful manner.
- Emotional outbursts while avoiding the topic at hand
- Defensive anger
- Casting blame to turn the tables instead of address the topic at hand
Stonewalling: Avoiding the topic at hand and never reaching a solution.
- Shutting down and avoiding the topic at hand all together
- Disappear – many people will just disappear and avoid contact when uncomfortable in communication with someone.
- Avoid – shutting down the conversation before things are discussed or resolved.
Communication breaks down for many reasons that may not be our fault. You could be hitting up against the differences in how men and women receive criticism. Many times we will judge someone before we let them show us who they are or what they need. A common assumption would be that the other person is either rejecting, disrespecting you or has “issues.” When we know how to get at the root of these differences it’s possible to positively transform the relationship quickly.
Misunderstandings – when two or more people hear or understand something differently that the other person.
- Have you ever given clear instructions at work and only to not have them executed properly?
- Have you ever accused a man in your life at work or with a personal relationship of not listening or never remembering important things you tell him?
- Do people of your same gender seem to understand you but you don’t experience this same understanding with people of the opposite sex?
Men and women think, speak and listen differently. Learning about these differences will allow you to shift your speaking and listening ever so slightly to avoid and clear up many misunderstandings.
Lost Relationships & Opportunities – When people miss out on relationships or opportunities that could have been a great fit and made everyone involved really happy and successful because the communication did not allow things to unfold as they should have.
- Are you missing out on job opportunities that you’re really excited about?
- Are you not getting enough dates that lead to 2nd dates?
- Are there more social events that you would like to be invited to or would you like to be closer to a family member, but not quite sure how to do it?
In many cases this can be easily cleared up by learning about the differences in how men and women communicate and by adjusting how you communicate ever so slightly so that someone is more open to you and you are more open to them. The other thing to consider is that learning to use “the power of the pause” to step back and let someone unfold rather than making hasty assumptions about someone. Just pausing to allow someone to reveal themselves can prevent misunderstandings that lead to lost opportunities or potential relationships. If you’re a good communicator this is one way to start knocking it out of the ballpark across the spectrum of who you communicate with.
A basic road map for mastering communication would have the following skills:
- Learning to understand the basic differences between how men and women speak and listen.
- Learning about asking for what you need without criticism
- Practicing “the power of the pause” to stop making assumptions about people and allow them to reveal to you who they are.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends or colleagues.
Please leave us a comment below with what frustrates you most about communication with other people.