Great Communicators Think Differently

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Your elders were right; you’ve got to think before you speak to avoid miscommunication. This article shows you how being a great communicator happens when you learn to ‘think’ before you speak.
To communicate effectively, you need to think differently. Remove the label and focus on the observable facts. What do these people say? What actions do they take? When you focus on the facts of the situation rather than generalize, you’re more likely to avoid miscommunication.
Have you ever told someone the answer to a problem and then watched as he/she did the opposite? Human beings subconsciously resist advice because they don’t like to admit “I can’t handle it.”
Instead of thinking how you can solve others’ problems, think how you can lead them to a solution. Some examples of helpful statements are:
1. What is the worst case scenario?
2. What could you do to solve this?
3. If you did that, what might happen? / What’s in the way of doing that?
4. How would you feel if you did nothing?
5. What is your end goal?
6. What resources could you call on to help you solve this?
To direct people, use a combination of: the above questions, more questions related to the individual’s issue, paraphrasing, and repeating back. You’ll be amazed at how helpful you can be without giving advice!
Have you ever been in a restaurant or store and watched a manager criticize an employee? You can literally see the physical toll of the scolding as the employee sulks away. What is that employee likely to do next?
a. go make a plan for personal development
b. go lick his/her wounds: sulk, complain, resist, justify, etc.
If you’re the manager, what action do you want the employee to take? To get answer ‘b’, you’ll need to think that you’re inspirational. Think of what you can say that would inspire someone to achieve his/her potential. Here are a few examples:
1. Your normal output is double. How can I support you in achieving that today?
2. ‘Individual’s strength’ is a strength for you. I’ve come to expect it when you’re here. What can I do to remove any obstacles?
3. I know you pride yourself on ‘individual’s value’; let’s not cry over spilt milk. Let’s focus on moving forward.
4. I know you’re experiencing some set-back or conflict. Let’s look at the end goal and focus on what’s working.
5. Proactive people bring their own weather with them. Where can you get some sunshine?
When you lift people up with your expectations, they want to rise up to meet them.

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