When it comes to communication, most of us tend to think that if we’ve been misunderstood, it is the receiver of the information that is at fault for not understanding. But in reality, the responsibility is on the communicator – that’s you – to acknowledge that if something isn’t understood properly by someone else, it is up to you to change and improve your communication.
This is due to the fact that every one of us, no matter how similar our experiences may be, has a unique perspective of life, a unique model of the world from which we receive and process information. We filter out, delete, and distort incoming information on a regular basis out of necessity.
People typically receive 2 million bits of information every second, but are only consciously aware of 126 bits of information at a time. That’s a lot of information to delete and reduce down to digestible, process-able parts. Understanding this, and paying attention to others’ behavior, tone, language patterns, body language, and more can make you a very effective communicator.
How to Communicate Effectively in 5 Steps
Tip #1: Respect other people’s model of the world
Each of us filter, delete and distort incoming information according to our unique model of the world, which is developed over a lifetime of experiences, joys, traumas, memories, and associations. Be open and accepting of the other person’s model of the world, and you’ll soon become a more effective communicator.
Tip #2: Establish Rapport
Building good rapport is key to building trust in any relationship. Use your observation skills to sense whether or not you have established trust and rapport – both consciously and unconsciously – with whomever you are communicating with.
If they are relaxed, comfortable, and receptive, they’ll be more likely to receive your communication accurately. Do this by watching body language, hearing tone of voice, observing pace of breathing, and watching eye movements. If you are out of rapport, adjust yourself, or adjust your timing.
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Tip #3: Learn and observe representations systems
Each of us has a preferred representational system for communicating. These rep systems are Kinesthetic (“I feel