Essential Skills: How To Communicate

The Knowledge Gap

Between being at school and being at home, we missed out on a lot of important lessons in life. Our parents and teachers played hot potato with important questions like, “How do I get a job?”, “How do I pay taxes?”. Imagine all of the questions we didn’t ask that could have been answered had either one of our authority figures taken the time.

The gap in knowledge was left open throughout our education up until we graduated with our high school diplomas and our college degrees. Now, in our young adulthood we search for answers to obvious questions that “every adult should know the answer to” in a short, 5-minute, YouTube video.

Our society could be better prepared. Our education system could produce people that are prepared to be members of society, who can inform themselves, resist burnout, communicate clearly, who can get enough sleep, who can eat well, who can be loving, caring partners and parents that build the confidence of future generations rather than fighting them and putting them down.

A Life of Basic Happiness

Beyond living a life of basic happiness, we can become anything we want to be within our physical limitations if we know how to learn. Living a life of basic happiness means being able to fulfill our basic needs of love and support through relationships. We need our family, friends, and partners. To maintain such crucial relationships, we need to be able to communicate well.

Many of us believe that we can get by with our current level of communication, but we tend to be self-centered conversationalists and egotistical communicators. We have a nasty habit of treating communication as a one-way street to impress upon others our unsolicited experience, identity, and perspective.

There is a lot more to learn than what was taught in middle school or high school. If we get to college and our course of study leads to science and mathematics, we may never be asked to learn any more about communication.

Learning to communicate can make us more easily understood to the people we need talk to. Whether we are writing or speaking, we can communicate in a way that shares our knowledge with others and persuades others to do what we need them to do and to believe what we want them to believe. By learning to communicate, you can solve people’s problems and work better with others, but more importantly you can connect with other human beings and develop meaningful friendships.

It’s never too late to work on your communication skills. Ideally, you should want to be as good a communicator as you can be, and whether you choose to or not you’ll be learning how to communicate for the rest of your life.

Communication can be broken down into a few key channels: written, verbal, and non-verbal.

Written communication has different types, like sending a text and writing for business, but it also using images and graphs. Verbal communication involves speech of course, but even more importantly it involves listening, a skill that doesn’t get as much attention. Non-verbal communication is everything you do with your body to show your fellow communicators that you are receiving their messages, and how you dress and behave so that your messages are received.

Where To Begin

There are many things you can do right now to start improving your communication in these areas. Charisma on Command has an excellent YouTube channel devoted to breaking down communication for people that were never actually trained in it. (Which is most of us.) SkillsYouNeed.com also has a great body of posts and pages devoted to the topic. There are plenty of resources to learn from, including your own relationships. Think of anyone you know who is able to speak in a way so that they are heard by whom they’re speaking to and notice what they do in order to earn respect in conversations.

“How To Win Friends And Influence People” was published in 1936, is one of the best-selling books of all time, and remains just as influential today as it was then. Here are some tips from Dale Carnegie’s golden standard book on communication.

  1. Encourage other people to talk about themselves.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation
  3. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. Ex. Jordan Peterson
  4. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain
  5. Give the other person a reputation to live up to

 

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