If you wish to communicate better with colleagues and friends, this article will provide you with 4 tips (most effective amongst the 100s of tips available otherwise) to improve your interpersonal communication skills.
When will these tips be useful?
- When you meet new people
- When you have to make the right first impression (although this might seem trivial, in reality, it has a very deep biological meaning!)
TIP 1: SMILE 😀!
Do you know how ‘handshake’ originated?
Scientists found that it originated in ancient Greece (circa 5th Century BC) with the purpose of communicating “peace” by demonstrating that the person’s hand holds no weapon.
So since ancient times, whenever we meet a stranger, our first instinct is to check whether the stranger is dangerous or not. This is where the SMILE 😀 was used, to show strangers that you were friendly and that you were not going to cause any harm.
In fact, all animals have developed some sort of mechanisms to show their friendly intentions. For example, dogs wag their tails to show their sociable mood.
Therefore, always remember to SMILE when you meet a new person. With a smile, you can communicate your friendly intentions, and in turn increase the chances of receiving cooperation from the stranger.
TIP 2: REMEMBER THE PERSON’S NAME AND USE IT FREQUENTLY!
An expert in communication, Dale Carnegie, states that the ‘name’ of a person is the most beautiful sound for the respective person. Yet, so often we cannot remember it.
You might think that you have a bad memory for names – in fact, that is not really the case.
First of all, most people also think the same of having a bad memory with names. In reality, we are usually in a hurry and are busy with our own thoughts that we do not focus on the person’s name and we don’t take any special effort to memorise the name.
So, how do you remember the name of the person you just met?
It is a well-known fact that we don’t remember things when we hear them but remember those things when we use them.
Therefore, the best thing to do when someone tells you their name is to repeat their names frequently in your conversation with them.
Remember, how you would feel when someone forgot your name, or worse, used a wrong name?! You probably felt that the person is either stupid or just not respectful and attentive towards you.
Never make this mistake yourself. Always make a special effort to remember their name and use it frequently in your following communication.
TIP 3: BE ATTENTIVE (ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN)!
Here is an anecdote from my life –
I was once invited to the home of a former minister of India. I was little worried about the visit since I knew nothing about Indian politics. I was afraid of having a conversation with him.
That’s when I recollected a piece of advice that I am now going to share with you.
How do you make a pleasant conversation with the interlocutor, even if you have nothing in common?
The advice: “The best way to have a pleasant conversation with someone, is to be attentive. Ask questions. And be attentive.”
So I did exactly that during my visit and it went very well. The former minister even ended up telling me a couple of interesting stories from his rich life experiences.
Often, people say that I am a good company to have, even though I talk very little. I usually just listen attentively and ask questions. This is because people love to talk about themselves!
Usually, in a conversation, when someone else is speaking, we eagerly wait for our turn to express our feelings or experiences. And we might forget to listen to what the other person has to say.
For example, while the other person is talking, we might be thinking in our heads, “If you think that is bad, wait till you hear my experience!”
Don’t make that mistake – your task is to listen and NOT wait for your turn. Listen to the other person attentively and ask questions if necessary.
TIP 4: GIVE A COMPLIMENT
For obvious reasons, it is extremely pleasant for someone to hear a compliment about himself or herself.
At the same time, think about these 2 questions:
- When was the last time you received a compliment?
- What are the compliments people usually say to you?
Take a minute or two to think about these 2 questions. You will realize that it is very rare for people to be good at giving compliments.
Most people don’t give compliments at all. Or when they do, it is something very trivial and superficial – for example, “you have nice hair,” “you have nice eyes” etc. Such compliments are very generalized, and not personal at all. Therefore, they hardly impress anybody.
In fact, when I was studying psychology in university, one of my teachers came up with a very good idea – whenever a student came in late, he/she had to make up compliments for a number of students in the audience.
The task might seem easy but most people felt very awkward when they had to give compliments. Finally, students just stopped coming in late for the lecture. 😀
Thus, it is important to prepare genuine compliments in advance. Often, when we are unprepared and improvise our compliments, they might come across as sarcastic and not genuine.
How do we give genuine sounding compliments?
You need to point out things that are REALLY good in that person – their strengths. That way, you don’t need to come up with something or even lie; you simply have to speak the truth.
After all, everybody has something good in him or her. This way, your compliments will sound genuine and also might impress the other person.
The 4 tips to enhance your interpersonal communication skills, especially when you meet new people and need to make a good first impression:
- Remember the person’s name and use it frequently
- Be attentive (ask questions and listen)
- Give a compliment
P.S. Have you tried using the 4 tips? Did you see any difference in your interpersonal communication skills and how people reacted to you? We would love to hear from you.