People skills, some lucky individuals seem to have been born with the knack, while others struggle with it. They want to communicate effectively, to get of what they want out of life, to be more assertive, but those natural talents elude them. Following are some tips on effective communication, how to deal with others and get your way more often than not.
If you want or need something, state it clearly and simply. Nobody’s a mind reader, so don’t expect them to pick up on your subtle clues and hints. Don’t expect them to “know” what to do—even if it’s crystal clear to you. And be sure to avoid long, drawn out explanations. So much time is wasted on over complicating things, on circling the subject, and on ignoring a subject when in reality all you need to do is talk to the person. Let them know what you need, how you’d like it to be done, and that you’re willing to work with them on reaching a compromise or positive outcome.
This is one of the most common problems in relationships—both personal and business. One or both parties don’t speak up and things slowly but surely erode over time. They’re afraid of confrontation, of making waves, of being mean. There’s nothing wrong with speaking your mind! You don’t want to be rude or aggressive, but being firm and honest should be second nature. If you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing or not sure how to handle it, think about the situation that’s bothering you and rehearse in your mind what you’d like to say to the other person. Imagine yourself being confident and firm, yet kind and compassionate. Of course, things may not go along as smoothly as they did when you rehearsed it in your mind, or maybe it will go even better. The key here is preparing yourself.
Yes, sometimes you do need to walk away. If the situation gets blown out of proportion, if tempers start to flare, if nothing is working, you may need time to cool off and clear your mind. Let the person know you aren’t shutting them out, but that you’d like to discuss this further when you’ve both had a chance to calm down and think more clearly. A good rule of thumb is waiting 24 hours. It’s not always easy to do so, but this waiting period often brings about some amazing changes. You may find the original problem no longer bothers you or you may come up with new and more effective ways of dealing with it.
Each week, or at least once a month, check in with your employees, partner or loved ones. Ask how they’re doing and if they have any concerns or problems you can work on together. Share with them how you’re feeling and what your thoughts are. By keeping open communication, you have a much better chance of taking care of problems when they’re small rather than ignoring them until they’ve done real damage or are nearly insurmountable.
Remember the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”? If there’s been a longstanding problem or the project is a big one, don’t expect changes overnight. It takes time to heal, to change, to reach the finish line. As long as you see gradual improvement over time, you know you’ll eventually get to where you want to be.
Dealing with people effectively is a skill anyone can learn. It takes time, trial and error, and determination, but you’ll find that your relationships flourish because of it. By practicing these tips and putting them into action each day of your life, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting what you want out of life.