Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Would you like to become more powerful in speech and influence? How can you get others to pay more attention when you speak? Master these simple skills to get people to listen to what you say.
Don't we all want to be heard? Do you sometimes feel as if no one is listening to you? Teenagers and children often feel this way but it's also true of adults. Maybe your advice or suggestions are overlooked at work. Perhaps you're trying to get the attention of your spouse or children.
It's easy to blame others and while it's true we all have to deal with difficult people at times, could the problem be our style of communication?
You're either part of the problem or the solution.
The following tips can work in any type of relationship; parents, employers, supervisors, spouses and even between friends. Master these 20 skills (plus a bonus tip) and become a powerful communicator!
Simple Tips to Empower Your Communication
#1 Smile 🙂
Smile, even if you don't feel like it, even if you're tired! It's really important to prep a smile before calling someone. It'll come across in your voice. You'll cheer yourself up as well as the person who has to listen to you.
Isn't smiling infectious?
# 2 Be friendly to everyone
It's easy to be friendly to who we like but you'll garner even more respect and influence if you don't play favorites. Be kind to those you don't like and especially to those who drive you crazy.
# 3 Know how to keep a secret
This applies to information at work as well as secrets you've been told by friends. Be known as someone who respects the privacy of others and don't play favorites. Keep your lips sealed and you'll be surprised at how much information and responsibility you'll be given.
# 4 Learn to control your emotions
I know it's tempting to show anger, frustration, annoyance, impatience, etc...during a discussion. However, exhibiting any emotion besides patience and active listening will instantly lose you major points in a conversation, especially with men, supervisors and children. (Yes parents, it is possible to stay calm around children. No one is perfect though so I shoot for an 85% score).
If you feel emotional don't make the phone call or send the email. Wait until you feel calm. Take a deep breath. Leave the room or conversation (if you can) until you're ready to continue.
# 5 Learn to control your voice
This takes self-discipline, self-control and deep breathing, as does #4. But if you remain calm you'll be able to speak with a peaceful tone of voice. Never raise your voice at anyone. You can speak in a low firm tone to indicate seriousness or importance. This is much more effective than shouting.
# 6 Build trust
Trust isn't earned overnight and good relationships aren't achieved in a single transaction. Earn yourself a good reputation over time by building trust one day at a time. (Consistent & honest) actions speak louder than words!
# 7 Be dependable
If you say you're going to be there or going to do something, do it! One of the best phrases a previous employer taught me was "Under promise and over-deliver". It's better to develop a reputation of being dependable than one who makes many promises and never delivers. This means keeping your word even in the little things.
# 8 Show compassion
Learn to show compassion and empathy before judging or criticizing. You'll think with a clearer mind and minimize hurtful phrases. People will appreciate you more.
# 9 Give advice only when asked
I mentioned this in a previous post (33 Harsh Truths You Need to Hear #5) but I think it's worth mentioning again. One of my readers messaged me that this point hit her hard. It's all too natural to want to help people when we see them doing things we know are wrong or not good for them. While I'm not advocating complete silence...I'm saying, for the MOST PART, people don't appreciate advice unless they asked for it.
It's much better to let people know you are open to mentoring others if they wish. If you've built up a trustworthy reputation people will be drawn to you naturally and seek your advice.
# 10 Commend others liberally
Another way to say this is, let others know they are appreciated. One of my biggest gripes about work environments is lack of appreciation, not only from management but also from fellow employees. Cut-throat environments are the worst but even general apathy and lack of acknowledgment among employees is upsetting. Did someone do a good job? Are they working hard? Are they always on time? Are they generous, conscientious, willing to learn, admit their mistakes? Make it a habit to look for the good in others and then tell them!
# 11 Speak positively
Some jobs and some people are simply overwhelming. But I've never seen anyone bring about positive changes by complaining. In fact, it's annoying to be around someone who complains all the time or is negative. Practice being encouraging and uplifting to others both in speech and conduct.
# 12 Observe body language
What is your body language telling other people? Have you ever paid attention to how you walk and hold your shoulders? Is your face usually relaxed or tense? Do you look mad or sad most of the time? Non-verbal communication is powerful because body language and nonverbal cues usually don't lie.
# 13 Have good eye contact 👀
There's nothing more beautiful than knowing someone is paying close attention to you as you speak. It shows how thoughtful you are and that you care. When someone needs you, give them a full 5 minutes of your undivided attention. Everyone can spare 5 minutes and if you can't, it's time to re-examine your life. 😞 If you're literally in a rush, just be upfront and say; "I can only give you 5 minutes right now but we can talk later if needed."
# 14 Be truthful
Lies, including white lies and misinformation, break down communication and trust. Perhaps people tell lies because they lack appropriate communication skills or don't know how to respond elegantly in certain situations.
What would you say to someone who asked you about a private matter they had no right to ask about? What if you're confronted about something wrong you said or because you broke something that isn't yours? What if someone asks you for an opinion about how they look, their style or if they have bad breath?
It's tempting to either be mean or to lie, but telling the truth is soooooo worth it if you want to be a powerful influencer and communicator! People are more respected for admitting their mistakes and being honest. If you don't know the answer, just say you don't.
Get your facts straight before you talk and don't exaggerate. Above all, speak truth KINDLY & TACTFULLY.
# 15 Prepare useful phrases
In order to tell the truth it's important to know and prepare for how to exit a situation. For example, let's say your extroverted friend invites you to a party but you would rather stay home. It's tempting to lie and say you have plans elsewhere, especially if the person is persistent. But why lie? Firmly and kindly tell your friend you have a date with yourself. The key to this style of communication is being clear about your needs while leaving the other person feeling dignified.
# 16 Be light-hearted
Everyone loves to laugh. It's not only good for the mind, it's good for the immune system. If you're naturally serious (I am) or have a strange sense of humor (I do) then it might be more challenging. Find a funny book or movie to talk about. Learn jokes or other interesting stories to tell. Yes, you can learn to be funny! The only rule is to make yourself the butt of the joke, never other people.
# 17 Listen more than you speak
Self-control and self-discipline are repetitive themes in life. It's important to listen, listen and listen some more. That's why God gave us two 👂 ears 👂and one mouth 👄. Listening is a skill. It means not busying yourself with other tasks or thinking about to reply. If you don't know what to say, just listen. Or you can say "This is what I'm hearing from you..." and repeat what the other person said to show them you're listening. And here's another useful phrase you can use to really show you want to listen; "Tell me more about...".
# 18 Wait patiently
I have this bad habit of interrupting others. I find it difficult to wait until the other person is done speaking or I assume I already know what they're going to say. But I'm usually wrong and interrupting is usually rude, it's better to let the other person speak first and thoroughly, then when it's your turn you deserve the same respect.
# 19 Assume they already know
There's nothing worse than being talked down to or being with a know-it-all who always has the juicy gossip first. Assume others already know the news or information. You can say something like..."You've probably already aware" or "I'm sure you've heard this before". This allows the other person to save face or admit they didn't know.
# 20 Maintain strong boundaries
Being a good listener and communicator doesn't mean people get to run all over your life, schedule and good intentions. It's much healthier to establish solid and fair boundaries that are clearly communicated. For example, my husband often has to work after hours because of technical projects but on Wednesday evenings we have a prior commitment. When his supervisor or coworkers try to schedule a task for that evening, my husband makes it clear in a calm way, that he isn't available that evening. If he holds firm, they rearrange the task.
Remove the word like, uh and other word-whiskers from your vocabulary. Inserting LIKE in every sentence drives me bananas! It's so prevalent I even find myself doing it but it's a bad habit. The only correct use of the word like is when we are comparing two things. For example, like an obnoxious weed, the word like must be yanked from our speech. 🙂
Anything worthwhile in life takes effort. If anybody says anything different, they're trying to gain an advantage over you. Communication that is worthwhile, powerful and influential takes practice, good old-fashioned hard work and patience. Patience with yourself and others. But the benefits are worth it!
Stand out as kind and compassionate, stand up as a powerful influencer!
Your Action Items
Pay attention to how you listen, speak and the non-verbal cues you give.
Think of the most powerful and influential person in your life, learn from them.
Watch this excellent 9-minute video that inspired me to write this post. How to Speak So That People Will Want to Listen by Julian Treasure.
Don't forget to check out our other posts...
33 Harsh Truths You Need to Hear (our most popular post 🙂)
Harsh Truths From Your Introverted Friends (2nd most popular)
The Truth about Racism (3rd most popular)
Inspiration Delivered Weekly
Thank you for reading & stay safe!