Effective Communication Will Change the Way Your Life Unfolds — 5 Ways of Winning the Conversation

Effective communication will change the way your life unfolds. Reading an article may help set the stage for improvement, but working on it every day will be the ultimate driver of improvement.

As we all know, no matter how much we think through our logic, decisions can still come from an emotional trigger within the amygdala. If the amygdala is not under control, it will overwrite the logic of the cerebral cortex. Although I’m no neuroscientist, it’s common knowledge that emotions often lead our decisions in ways we even might not be aware of. Often, we don’t notice all of the rational and irrational decisions we execute on a daily basis.

There are people who harbor high-level thinking skills and others with strong emotional intelligence. In order to communicate effectively, you must have both.High-level thinking is analyzing the conversation through a strategic perspective, which would consist of executing the conversation with a reason-method-result strategy. Those who work in complex business environments are often accustomed to executing this model. Conversely, emotional skilled people are often artsy types, who can often be found in the creative side of businesses. These types of people are capable of analyzing your emotions within a few milliseconds of interaction. By giving away your emotions through conversation, you have given the person with a high EQ plenty of information to get through this process.

Depending on the content of the conversation, in addition to their personalities, no matter how smart you are or ready to do favor for a given subject, winning this conversation can be very complex. You always run the risk of being misunderstood, and could end up unsuccessful in your endeavor.

1. Master Your Emotions

Think for a moment: How do you listen to a song? How much do you pay attention in order to understand the lyrics, its musical phrases and the big picture? Paying attention in this manner is the key to controlling your emotions.Emotions have “textures,” like in a song. They are based on your experiences, which often create your own belief system. In order to manage your feelings, the first thing you will need to do is distance yourself from the situation at hand. However, understanding what “distance” means can be a very abstract process. Generally, once you focus on the concept itself, you will understand all of the details.

You might have seen people suggest that in order to control emotions, that you should consider “setting your tone.” I don’t believe this is a very good piece of advice. Instead, I recommend preparing to be “flat.” Don’t take time to set up content and tone, be flat. Create a distance between yourself and the audience. This is not to suggest that distance is about roleplaying, it’s still about being yourself. What it really entails is ignoring anything extraneous. If you receive too much information about facial expressions, voice inflections, or even your own internal chatter, it will be harder to maintain clarity. You need to ignore these things in order to hear your own “self.” There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody, but you can develop your own methods.

By controlling your emotions and removing your own belief system you will improve your ability to understand what’s really happening during a conversation. It will remove your fears. A more clear understanding will help you see the little manipulations that we all utilize, which will stop the person next you from doing it and will give you the power of actually leading the conversation more genuinely.

2. Listen

Listening takes place after putting yourself in a “flat” position. Note that the hard part of listening is not actually listening, but hearing. Once you go flat, you can hear all of the data being presented to you. You will have the ability to pick apart the pieces, put them together, and perceive how the both sides can reach a consensus. When you listen to the song, make sure you hear the lyrics and the melody to and repeat them in your head.

Set an emotional boundary, but don’t be robotic. Nobody feels comfortable trying to be overly calculated, nor would an audience. But always be aware of where you are in the conversation. Yes, it’s an abstract concept but you can heighten your awareness by writing things down and analyzing what happened later. By examining how the conversation could have been different, and by perceiving yourself differently throughout the conversation, you may start to notice changes in the other person’s emotions and spontaneous decisions. Do you get excited by the content of a conversation? Don’t, go back to “self.” Do you continue to grow worried about content again? Don’t, go back to “self.” Go through this process until you are able to breeze over your own emotions. This skill will help you to hear better. If you feel distant and cold doing this, don’t assume you will be perceived as impolite or unkind. It’s better to not be nice for the sake of being nice. Insincere niceness is manipulation. It is always better to be yourself, which is inherently “nice.”

3. Wait

After carefully listening, don’t feel awkward waiting. Waiting is not considered rude. Waiting does not indicate a slow mind or indifference, it simply means the person is finished. Use this moment to let him or her gather their thoughts, too. Use this time to make sure you completely understand the content. What if you didn’t? Ask questions without rushing. Don’t forget, asking means “I am interested in what you say.” Once you’re fully aware of what the person is trying to say, carefully think through what must be addressed at that juncture. This is a critical step, because if you don’t have a point to reach then it’s better not to blow hot air. Place a very simple, clear picture in your mind about what you learnedand how you can use this new information to move towards your goal. Try and get into the habit of responding by utilizing some of the words you just heard. Doing this will make the person feel that he/she was heard, and reinforces the fact that you are both reaching towards a mutual goal. This brings us to the next point.

4. Be That Person

Be that person by not copying the other person’s emotions, but the words he/she has been using since the beginning. It will make the person feel that he/she is deeply understood and respected. This is the only time you will need to be less like yourself. Don’t get confused, because part of you will think that you’re leading the conversation somewhere else. Practice it. Feel the person’s feeling more than responding analytically. Reflect their mood and tone. Repeating their words will help close the deal. But be careful, if you are trying to be too strategic with this method, you risk sounding odd. You will lose whatever respect and trust you gained.

Once you are well versed in these methodologies, you will be able to see weaknesses and strengths throughout the different steps. You can use them to balance your position. For example: Do you need to win somebody who has a higher status than you, such as a title or financial prowess? Try to find their weaknesses and spotlight it. Try to make this person feel a little insecure, then bolster his image by feeding into that part of that person. At this point, all those human made titles will disappear. Never forget that the higher the status, the higher the value expectation. If you have something valuable to say, say it. You will be surprised to see how well respected you can be if you already have a well-working mind. But tread lightly – Only do this once you are advanced.

5. Be Direct

I see that people talk a lot in order to sound “friendly.” Why are you the one who has to be friendly? And wouldn’t it be morally wrong to mislead people with using emotions under the friendship rules? Don’t be friendly, be bold and clear. Less is more, in this case. Smile once there is a reason to smile. Make a joke once there is a reason to. Being direct saves the time and energy. It allows people to listen to each other carefully, which is the main component of “hearing.”

Be careful when you do speak. Don’t rush, and make sure you follow the four steps illustrated above. Do you have something to say? Say it by communicating strategically. Build the content through the reason-method-result. Make sure you don’t add erroneous details to sell your ideas, or say less than what it is. Say what is necessary with minimum fluff, then wait. Hear what’s happening, then focus on the parts that are missing part. Fill in with examples or details as necessary, but don’t go overboard.

Always remember that if you’re saying things that are well thought out and for the benefit of that person, asking a “yes or no” question can’t be rude. Don’t drag yourself down, ask it. If the person says “no,” then that’s it. Look at the content carefully through 4 steps above. Then do your part to change the strategy or the feeling. Generally, nobody will ignore something beneficial. Make sure all of your points are heard. Even if nothing works out, don’t lose your “self.” Remain direct and laser focused to save the trust and the respect you have been gaining since the beginning.

Editor: Emily Coffield

Photography: talking to theGolfer by Erich Ferdinand