Stop, elaborate, and listen. (And just try not to keep singing Vanilla Ice.) But really, those three words will go a long way in helping you get your point across to just about anyone, whether you need to have a chat with your partner, boss, or roommate. Sure, it sounds like something you learned back in grade school, but we all know having big talks can be pretty intimidating. Read on and get ready to nail it in the communication department, every time.
- Pick the appropriate method: Just because you're used to sharing important info with your sister through text doesn't mean the same goes for your co-worker. Some conversations require a phone call and some a face-to-face meeting; determine the best way before you set up the chat. And if you do get together in person, put away phones and all other distractions.
- Be clear and concise: Ever chatted with someone and he or she just keeps beating around the bush when you know they have something important to say? Don't be that guy. Take the time to organize your thoughts and map out your top points. Otherwise, you could run the risk of going off on a tangent. To be ultraprepared, practice your part in your head or even out loud before tackling the topic.
- Speak up: How many times have you left a conversation wishing you had spoken up about your feelings or needs? It isn't easy to open up about your expectations, but being up front the first time around means you don't have to call up your boss or roommate for another awkward conversation. Say it with us: "Honesty is the best . . ."
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- Listen well: Surprise, surprise — getting your point across involves letting other people have a say, too. That means not interrupting, being attentive, waiting until they have completely finished talking, and paraphrasing what they said to show that you understand their point. And don't just listen because you have to; try to be sincere about it.
- Be mindful of body language: No matter the words coming out of your mouth, your body language should reflect your message. Keep eye contact, make sure your facial expressions align with what you're saying, sit or stand up straight, and nod when you're listening. It's all part of the package.