5 Ways to Boost Communication Skills

Written by Pat Sullivan

boost communication skillsYour inner voice is eloquent and filled with insight. Tap into techniques that improve your listening skills while you discover your true self.

How to Make Sure We're Heard

The slogan "walk your talk" reminds us not just to proclaim what matters, but do it. We also need to "talk our walk," to speak unashamedly about our hopes, dreams, doubts and fears.

Lee Glickstein offers advice on speaking your truth:
The most compelling thing we can do is be real, to be authentically ourselves and no one can do that as well as we can.
Everyone has a story to tell, a unique message to deliver and a special voice in which to express it.
Our presence speaks more loudly than anything we say. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more eloquent and compelling you become.
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All of us are born with a unique and eloquent voice that wants to flow out and express our true self, says Lee Glickstein, author of Be Heard Now. It's unfortunate that natural voice is locked away from many of us for so much of our lives.

As children we might not have felt safe to tell the whole truth. Some of us were rewarded for masking our real thoughts and feelings. Others internalized negative messages which stifled our ability to speak out.

A hunger for good feedback could lead to valuing others' approving nods more than our own authentic truth. We can be so concerned with how to respond to another that we don't hear what they're saying.

Glickstein, who grew up with extreme stage fright, developed a program called Speaking Circles as a way to help others overcome fear of speaking in public. It's a simple concept, also useful to improve communication between couples or small groups.

Here's how it works:

  1. Give each person two minutes at a time of your full attention but give absolutely no hint as to whether or not  you agree with what's said.
  2. When it's your turn, take a deep breath and feel the connection with others.
  3. Experience everything from your fear that people will misunderstand to the joy of having respectful attention without having to earn or fight for it.
  4. Wait to speak until the words well up inside.
  5. Be brave enough to release the beginning of a sentence even if you have no idea how it will end.

Often, you'll be stunned by the result. Afterward, withhold advice and comments except for positive statements that show you respect the essential person, not what they are saying or doing at the moment.

Practicing exercises like this help us become present in the moment. Real listening lets us hear ourselves and speak more truthfully, which in turn invites more truth from others.

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