I have always known that excellent communications skills were the key to getting a job in todays society. Unfortunatly I have been a quiet sky kid my whole life, but over the past 2 years I have gotten a lot better. I’m at a point where I can have random conversation with people I dont know, but I still have those akward pauses in every conversation. I try to be genuinely interested in what people have to say & share relations to their experiences but I find its still difficult to be comfortable carrying on conversations with people.
Anyone have some good articles I could read, suggestions with what works with you? Anything you have to offer is greatly appriciated.
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First of all, a job should NEVER be anything but a last resort.
Now for the topic itself:
Communication skills aren’t learned through books, they’re learned through SOCIAL EXPERIENCE.
Sure, books can point the way, help you A LITTLE BIT, but it all boils down to ACTION, exposure to the situation where the skill is needed, and reference experience.
But a book can only help you if it’s a good one. And most books on the subject are NOT. Stay clear of the typical self-help/management bullshit.
The classic “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie is pretty good.
But keep in mind, that most books about social skills are really more about manipulation, and you really shouldn’t go around manipulating people.
To be perfectly honest, fantastic communication is all about being at home in the situation, and being open, and all that “cliché” shit.
Because really, these things are cliché for a reason, they are what REALLY works. There are no magic pills, no secret tricks, that can do much for you, it all boils down to the basics. ALWAYS.
Don’t just go “pff I already know that,” you gotta APPLY it. That’s what really makes the difference.
Just chill, be real, and genuinely interact with the other person, and there really couldn’t be any communication problems.
Unless you’re talking about written conversation, written conversation will ALWAYS be misinterpreted, because 93% of human communication has NOTHING to do with words.
Practice, practice, and practice some more. Then do it over again, and LOVE IT.
That’s how you become really good at something.
Peace and love
Don’t force yourself to be interested in whatever topic. If you’re interested in the person, you may want to know why that person likes this or that. So even if that topic doesn’t interest you, it might be interesting to know why your friend/whoever you speak with likes that. In that regard it’s important to exclude your own attitude towards a topic. So if someone says he or she likes something, suppress your urge to say what you think, e.g. “How the hell can you like THAT? It’s stupid” or whatever. Instead, focus on his or her situation. You could ask what the person likes about this or that, and if you criticize, try doing it gently by questions. (“But don’t you think that …”) Basically, it’s about respect. Respect the opinion of your conversational partner, and try to find out why the person likes or hates whatever, that can be VERY interesting, especially if you have the exact opposite opinion.
Also, try to maintain eye contact most of the time. The effect of eye contact is totally underestimated.
@manimal has it completely right on this one- experience in social interaction, or ‘putting yourself out there’ is how you’ll improve. You already know what you SHOULD be doing, it’s more a matter of executing what you know. Feeling comfortable enough to execute what you know just comes with experience and persistence. Make an effort to talk to strangers, seize every opportunity for conversation and social interaction, and take some time to reflect on each instance and what went right/wrong- that’s how you learn to communicate.
@cognizantelephant, I agree with that in the fact that (for me anyway) it has to be forced, its not something that just happens. My issue is that I’ve never really liked people, I find a majority of them to be liars, and thats not something I want to deal with in my life. But I’ve met a few people that i can say are good, honest, kind hearted people, but I’m stuck in a spot where I dont know how to react to them because they are soooooo few & far inbetween. I met one person that I absolutly find fascinating! Another warm-hearted individual that I can actually have a conversation with that isnt filled with these weird pauses everywhere, one about something that matters & dont have to think if their just another fake person putting on some show for me. I have issues channelling how I am with this person and focusing that into conversations with other people, because I can just see right though these people with their fake immages they portrey to us all.
I’m not the type of person to hide my intentions, im fairly blunt and upfront about everything because well, i dont see the point in being dis-honest, its too confusing to keep track of all these little lies, or try to convince someone of something i dont honestly back up. My motive is pretty clear from the start of a conversation, & usually there is no alternative.
@piptherational, Yes i know silence is something that really needs to be appriciated, which I do being a somewhat regular Meditator.
I appriciate the feedback guys.
@lldsgt, If you want to be a great communicator as well as improve in other areas of your life study NLP. It is Neuro Linguistic programming. It basically (or at least this is how I have used it), helps you to better understand anothers way of speaking, so you can get past the tip of the iceberg and continue on to deeper conversation. Issues that matter, in nice flow.
a podcast you can check out > NLP Tools.
as well as check out your local library, I found TONS! Of material in the subject.
It also helps you better understand how you see the world and communicate.
I hope this helps
Being able to enjoy silence is great, an always fruitful thing
I do feel having trouble communicating is just a factor of emotional development. It takes work, but it’s worth it, because it sets us up for having less of a discourse rather than living a life with flawed mentalities of our own worldviews.(edit:I firmly believe this is how assholes are created) If we we’re to go on, and put no mind into these parts of life, with the opinion that you should ‘fit an ideal’ or expectation, then we would become rigid in that part of our minds. Though without the raw know how of an unpleasant experience with another person, our views of them would remain dominant, unmoved by thought.
In short, I think skepticism is an intelligent way to look at things.
i used to be a real good manipulator then i stopped lying and tried to be more accepting of other peoples wants instead of trying to make others (using my once awesome communication skills) do what i want. this life lead me towords some hallucinogens and my brother warns me that doing too many makes me (his words) ‘socially retarded’ now, my brother has always been, in my opinion, a dick. and what he says doesn’t shape what i do. but i respect your opinions and maybe losing some of my charm to drugs isn’t a bad thing, maybe less influence is a universal trait. back in school, i always respected the kids who could shut the fuck up even though i couldn’t ever find that ability i dont think theres a better or worse it is just like a difference between people. a balance.
I understand your ‘problem’ because It’s the same for me,but I actually gave up trying to improve my social skills. In the other hand I’m trying Not to speak with people when I don’t need to,like you said,I easily lose interest in what they’re saying because usually we don’t have same interests and same level of awareness. Except of course for obligatory contact like work,or for specific purpose like Selling,Buying.. What I’m trying to say is just you don’t have to and when you do just be yourself but do your best (not much but still) to please the other person (On the obligatory contact as stated before)
I don’t think it’s what you’re asking about so here : http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/09/10/how-to-improve-your-social-skills/ or http://www.succeedsocially.com/ go to the category you need most.
Hope it helped.
plus plus it really only matters how much information you can channel or how well you can relay what youve channeled, in my opinion that is. just be careful because even if your smart, your brain doesnt always give you the truth. thought has no absolutes (see what i did there?)
wants@lldsgt, Become a great listener. Everyone wants and needs to be listened to. Among the many hard lessons i have learned in the last couple of years is to listen. One reason is that i have a job now that doesn’t allow for that much talking – but I HAVE to listen. And it is amazing how much people need to talk.
You can ask the right questions and listen with empathy. I see a lot of that here on this site already. Good luck!
@lldsgt, It does not need to be forced, the trick is to make yourself feel comfortable and confident. You need to figure out how best to do this for yourself, but I think open-mindedness is important, and you will feel more comfortable if the other person is also comfortable. Learn to read body language.
I’m more of a listener than a speaker, but from listening I learn more about what interests the person I am conversing with, and from that I can expand on their interests. Asking questions about the other person’s interests is a good move, people love to tell you about their passions :)
If you feel like the conversation is forced, just relax and stop thinking about the things that might be making it feel that way: the person is an authority figure, you’re nervous about offending the person, you want to fit in… just forget these things and talk to them human to human. Nobody is better or lesser than you. Sometimes it’s hard to see it that way though haha :D
And getting a job is not about how well you converse, it’s about who you know, what you know/your experience, and how hard you work. Usually in that order, unfortunately.
@lldsgt, Oh yes, smiles are the best! People love smiles, it makes them feel good because it’s a sign of approval and makes them feel included. Though on rare occasions I’ve smiled at the wrong person and they took it the wrong way, oops! The latest was a girl who thought I was laughing at her. That’s a special situation though because she was drunk and is bipolar… go figure. Booze garbles body language.
How you smile is also a factor in the reaction you’ll get. I have made friends by comically leering suggestively at a stranger, but most people would take offence. Know your audience by reading body language and seeing how they interact with others.
I had the same problem you are speaking of. Especially the one where you can see right through people and their facades. Even though you might not want to interact with such individuals in all reality you must. Plus you really never know, you might meet someone who acts in a manner you dont like but then eventually they can grow on you. When it comes to conversations with people i read its good to latch onto one word or portion of what they said. From their express your thoughts, concerns, emotions to them in relation to what they just said. Hope that little tip helps
@esko918, I have the feeling that if I allow people like that in my life, it WILL come back and bite me one day, it may not be a lifechanging event, but its something that I really don’t want to deal with, I got enough going on in my life & don’t need to worry about some fake ass “friends”.
@lldsgt, I worked in a Guest Services position this summer, and I found that my communication skills grew amazingly, though I’m not sure when that happened because I didn’t have extensive training. Here are a few things I found myself doing more that helped though (and this is for taking to middle-aged to older adults) :
1. Smile a whole fucking lot. Big smiles. Like a crazy person.
2. Include their name in the conversation. Just a couple times, and if you’ve met any of their family previously ask about them by name.
3. Don’t be afraid to be observant and ask, people are usually happily surprised when you notice they have a special piece of jewelry or something like that and are interested in learning more [:
4. This one’s important: Repeat back things they say. Just little phrases and stuff, it gives you shit to say, and it shows them that you’re listening. It also makes them think you two are very relatable and alike, even though you’re simply repeating them.
Well, I see it as something that has to be forced. BTW that’s most likely a deep seated belief. I think with the cultural problems and general level of awareness of the common person, normal conversation has to be repetitive and concern topics that allude to scrape the tip of the iceberg of most topics, unless there is a real connection between the people. But an ulterior motive may be present – to sex the other person, to sell something, recruit them into your super secret cult, to use them, you know the jazz, then most ideas are centered around a central point of view from that aspect.
What do you think of this?
@vernalsoul, Ah thank you! very helpful, I also found that genuine smiles tend to make people more comfortable and easier for them to talk to you. I try to ask about peoples Families when i talk to them, sometimes it can be interesting to hear about their progress since the last time I talked or heard of them. Thanks for the help!