Effective Communication: 5 Fundamental Rules

communication skills

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other,” ― Charles Dickens

We meet new people every day. The world and everything are interconnected and based on the web of communication. The more effective it is, the stronger our connections are. If we want to go somewhere fast in life  – we go alone. If we want to go far effectively, we need to go together…

We are not alone in this world and it’s vital to have the skills of good communication to be able to build new connections with people. Some people find it challenging meeting new people and establishing even the smallest contact let alone building a far more advanced connection. Whatever our level of shyness is, we simply need to know where to begin.

I’ve been reading more books on this subject lately. Numerous books provide tons of fresh tips on building effective communications. And then I’ve decided to formulate some of them into the fundamental five.

Effective Communications: 5 Fundamental Rules

1. Start With a Smile

Be kind. Even if you don’t feel like it. Even if your mood isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, you still need to make a good impression on important people that day. The more you smile, regardless of what you feel, the better your outcomes are in attracting people with your positivity. Fake it till you make it. To make your smile and shiny eyes more trustworthy and believable use one effective trick that served me well for years.

Whenever I come into the room full of people that I haven’t met before, I have this “anchor” of a positive or funny story that happened in the past. Or it can be something hilarious you saw and remembered. When I come into the room full of people I drag that “funny memory” or a positive suggestion onto the surface of my mind. It lifts my positive emotions that make me smile. And a smile always makes people more approachable.

2. Scaling the Amount of Sharing and Listening

When I was younger I had that solid idea that only my story is the one worth sharing and that people around me should grab their chairs, sit around and listen to me carefully and wholeheartedly. Granted, I was supremely arrogant about that, it amazes me now. I was starving for attention. In fact, I demanded to be in the center of any person’s universe that I happened to come across.

Whenever I’ve met new people I felt it was my duty to share every tiny detail about my life. I was so fascinated about sharing it all, revisiting and reviving past situations that behind that excitement I didn’t see the impatience of that person to share his own story in return. I simply wouldn’t SHUT UP and let them talk!

Don’t strive to tell all your life story in one sitting. Listen more to what people have to say.

I was struggling for years to sit there and listen to what people had to share. The idea that only MY MESSAGE was worth sharing was solid for a long period of time. It was coded like a program in the back of my mind. But then something happened that changed the way I behaved forever.

My high-school friend was visiting London for the first time in her life and I was talking and talking non-stop the whole day telling her all about it. The history, the people, the culture and my outtakes on that all. Blah-blah-blah.
It was a cold day so we stopped and went to get some hot chocolate. When we sat down I felt completely knackered. All that talking drained my energy away irrespective of the great wish of carry on talking.

So Julie finally took her turn to share. And just about when I felt this ridiculous urge to interrupt her, I MADE A SIP of my coffee. What was so special about that? I made a sip and didn’t swallow for the whole time she was telling her story. It kept me grounded and concentrated on the subject.

This “sip” trained me well. Whenever I feel that I am about to interrupt somebody I do that “imaginary” sip of my hot chocolate and wait patiently.

Naturally, people started telling me what a “great listener” I am. And it is rewarding.

communication quotes

“The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” ― Stephen R. Covey

3. Avoiding the Pitfalls of Communication

As I said above, there was a time in my life when I strongly believed that there were two opinions in this world:
MINE and the incorrect one. So I was raising my voice, I was flapping and waving my hands passionately. I was doing just about anything to make people believe that I was right and they were wrong. So disrespectful! I was disregarding how they felt about it completely. I was too busy concentrating on being right instead.

Now I don’t have that blazing feeling and the urgency to prove everybody wrong. When some topics I’m interested in emerging during a conversation, I prefer to keep my own opinion to myself and instead focus on ACTIVE LISTENING to what people have to say.

I’m an adept of that notion, that every person we meet knows something, that we don’t know. And now I’m fascinated with what people kindly share with me. And to me, it’s priceless.

4. Commonalities Matter

We cannot build a sturdy house on two different hills or surfaces with a chasm in between. The more things we find in common with people, the better our chances are to build good and strong connections with them. We find more topics to discuss and more experiences to share when we have a connection with people.

A great number of people discuss the weather as it affects everyone around us. But then again, for how long are you willing to discuss the weather? Try to move onto something you both might find worth discussing. Like traveling and all the countries with breathtaking places you saw and places you still want to visit one day…

5. Once Connected, Stay Connected

I have a friend who is a natural at establishing connections at first sight. But he is chronically bad at following up and staying connected with people that he meets.

“By not following up with all the great people that I met over the years, I lost many friends and even more interesting acquaintances that appeared in my life at one time or another. It pains me to think of those lost opportunities and it made me seem like an unreliable and disinterested person. My inability to stay connected hurts me now when I reach out to the people to promote my new business. They often respond with “I am sorry, who are you?” or they don’t respond at all.” – shared my friend.

Once you establish connections with people, make it, as a rule, to follow up with them from time to time. You can build the strongest one-time connection with someone and ruin it just as fast by not following up. If you connected with someone, make sure you follow up with them a few days later, then a month later, then see if you can meet them again.

Find that common ground. Listen to what they have to say. Establish connection. Stay connected.

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Lesya Li

Lesya Li

Founder, Head of Content at HavingTime
Lesya Li is a founder of HavingTime – a digitally native story magazine for people that need to share inspiration and be inspired.
Lesya Li
Lesya Li
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