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21 days of effective communication

21 days of effective communication

Day 1: Listen

  • Use non-intrusive verbal and non-verbal signals to encourage them to keep talking

If you are dealing with an angry or frustrated individual, they won’t be able to think clearly until they have offloaded everything that’s on their mind

  • Let them keep going until they run out of steam
  • Do not play the role of armchair psychologist

We all like to come up with our own theories about why. But analyze on your own time.

  • Do not interrupt with unsolicited advice

No one is obliged to follow your recommendations. Put your ego to one side. Once you have contributed, it’s up to the other person to strategize their next move.

  • Re-phrase someone else’s words, but don’t parrot them back
  • Check your assumptions, do not project your own feelings onto someone else.

🏋️ Practice

phone a friend or relative you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, and then use the conversation as an opportunity to practice your active listening skills.

Day 2: Count The Number Of Times You Interrupt Other People

By your interruption, you’re insinuating that your thoughts and ideas are more important than theirs.

  • Set targets and give yourself rewards
  • Stick up signs
  • Write down any points you want to make in advance
  • Remember that your silence is just as influential as your voice
  • Practice biting your tongue

🏋️ Practice

Count how many times you interrupt other people in all your conversations, and then use the tips above to stop yourself. Ideally, you should try to talk with at least three people. If you can do this while in a group, even better.

Day 3: Become An Inclusive Communicator

  • Don’t emphasize a characteristic if it isn’t necessary to do so
  • Don’t assume a person’s gender or sexual orientation

ex: 使用「伴侶、另一半」而不是「男 / 女友」

  • If you need to talk about someone’s disability, do so in neutral terms
  • Focus on a person, not any disabilities they might have
  • Do not uphold stereotypes

ex: 亞洲人數學很好、非洲人很會饒舌

  • Show respect for race and ethnicity through proper capitalization in written communication
  • Be mindful of context

ex: queer, nigger

  • Avoid patronizing individuals or groups of people

ex: 說身體有殘疾的人很勇敢勵志,只因為他們完成了日常工作

🏋️ Practice I

The next time you take part in a conversation that includes a discussion about other people, consider whether your choice of words is respectful. Could you be a more inclusive communicator? If applicable, make a note of where and how you could improve next time around.

🏋️ Practice II

Switch on the TV (or go on YouTube) and find a show that features a lot of dialogue. Watch it for 15-20 minutes. Are the people taking part in the conversation upholding any negative views or beliefs about particular groups? Do you hear similar language in your everyday interactions? If so, how could you challenge it?

Day 4: How To Expand Your Vocabulary

A strong vocabulary is the best foundation for communication, and communication is the starting point for success. When you have more words at your disposal, you are in a better position to deliver exactly the right message.

  • Use a new word every day
  • Use apps and online games to expand your vocabulary
  • Become a word enthusiast
  • Read widely
  • If you aren’t sure what a word means, ask.

🏋️ Practice I

Today I want you to learn five new words, and then incorporate them into your spoken or written communication.

🏋️ Practice II

Take a look at the apps and websites mentioned in this chapter and commit to using one of them for at least five minutes each day for a week.

Day 5: Swap “But” For “And,” & Embrace “Yet”

  • “But” statement is unnecessarily limiting and negative
  • “But” can also make people defensive
  • Simply putting “yet” on the end of a negative statement can transform its meaning.

我沒辦法交到女朋友 → 我現在還沒辦法交到女朋友 我不會寫程式 → 我現在還不會寫程式

🏋️ Practice I

Whenever you catch yourself making a negative statement that includes the word “but”, substitute “and” instead. Don’t be surprised if your optimism turns out to be contagious.

🏋️ Practice II

Go on a “Yet Hunt”. Whenever you make a negative statement or bemoan that you are lacking some kind of resource, stick a “yet” on the end.

Day 9: Stop Trying To Score Points

  • Sometimes, it’s more important to be happy than it is to be right.
  • Point scoring rarely works.
  • If you crave the excitement of a fiery argument, join a philosophy discussion group or debating society.

🏋️ Practice

Today, you are going to let other people be wrong. This exercise will show you that the world doesn’t cave in when other people see things in a different way.

Day 10: Ask Questions That Get Results

Day 11: Refine Your Voice & Speaking Style

  • Lower the pitch of your voice
  • Use vocal exercises to develop a smoother voice
  • Cut out any verbal tics
  • Stick to short sentences and choose short words where possible.
  • Master the art of the pause
  • Vary the pitch and tone of your voice

🏋️ Practice I

Find an article or book and read it aloud for a minute. Record yourself speaking, then listen to it. Pay attention to your volume and pitch. Appraise your voice. Do you speak softly, loudly, or somewhere in between? Are you high-pitched, low-pitched, or “average”? Using your recorder, experiment until you know how it feels to speak in a steady, even voice at a relatively low pitch. Try the vocal exercises outlined above.

🏋️ Practice II

The second challenge is to practice speaking in a different tone of voice when in conversation. If you already know the other person, don’t change your tone completely - they will just want to know why you suddenly sound completely different. Most of us can’t help but respond differently to voices of varying pitches and inflections. You may be surprised at how everyone around you reacts.

Day 12: Focus On Behavior, Not Character

  • Stick to the facts
  • Focus on what you want, why you need it, and the time frame in which you expect it to happen

🏋️ Practice
Today, you are going to have a conversation with someone who has recently hurt or inconvenienced you

Day 13: Uncover Your Communication Background

  • We are wired to imitate our parents, (or whoever was in charge of our well-being), because they were our first role models
    • Did my parents have solid social skills?
    • Did my parents have friends?
    • Did my parents pass on any “rules” when it came to communication or relationships?
    • Did my parents show me how to make up after an argument, or settle a difference of opinion?
    • Did my parents encourage me to express myself?

→ Use new behavioral models

🏋️ Practice

Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns. At the top of each, write down the name of your two most important caregivers from early childhood.

Now, think about their communication styles. What did you learn from each of these individuals? Write down the beliefs they passed on to you. Do you want to hold on to these beliefs, or is it time to swap them for better, healthier ways of communicating?

Day 14: Understand How Different Generations Communicate

  1. Baby Boomers (Born between 1946-1964)
  2. Generation X (Born between 1965-1980)
    • more likely to prioritize a work-life balance, and to value independence
    • respect leaders who use a confrontational management style
    • lifelong learners
  3. Generation Y (Born between 1981-1997)
    • they are happier to multitask, to get involved with multiple projects, and to take a flexible approach to work
    • accustomed to digital rather than in person communication
    • likes to have answers quickly
  4. Generation Z (Born from 1998 onwards)
    • aware of the privacy and security risks that come with technology
    • likely to appreciate anonymous communication and to take more care when managing their online reputation
    • value independence, innovation, and creativity

🏋️ Practice

Think about the people you work with, or the people in your social circle, who are from a different generation. Do you feel equally at ease with people much older or younger than yourself?

Pick someone from another generation that you have struggled to connect with in the past. Having read this chapter, do you think that age differences might contribute to the problem?

If so, your task today is to try relating to this person in a new way. Your next steps will depend on the situation.

Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Last updated on May 08, 2024