Some people have the art of communication down. No matter what the situation or place, they are able to converse easily and have meaningful dialogue. And even if the person on the other side is difficult or prickly or simply refuses to engage, they are able to smooth things over. In short, they make it seem so easy.
Communication might seem like an innate gift that people are blessed with, but in reality, I do believe communication is something people get better with over a period of time thanks to a few pointers and practice.
At first, I wanted to offer some tips for better communication in general but now that I think about it, I realize that not all of us share the same way of communication. By using the distinctions of introversion and extraversion, it becomes easier to share communication because like it or not, tips for better communication differ when you have no problems speaking and when you think hundred times before uttering a single word.
Just as many stereotypes and half-truths dog extroverts, the same goes for introverts. No, all introverts are not magically good at giving sage advice and nor do they always have a wise saying on hand. On the other hand, not all of them are shrinking violets either, afraid of anything outside their personal bubble.
To paraphrase, not all extroverts are master communicators and not all introverts are terrible at communication. In this article, I will focus on tips for introverts. In the second part, I will focus on communication tips for extroverts.
How can you communicate better as an introvert?
Don’t be a passive listener
Listening is a quality many introverts get lauded for. In fact, listening by itself is seen as an admirable quality that people must adopt in order to be successful. Employees frequently receive exhortations to listen more. But nobody ever says what kind of listening you should be doing. Passive listening is the act of listening without interacting or even responding to the speaker. Active listening on the other hand involves the listener, comprehending and then responding to the speaker. Aim to be an active listener. You do not even have to contribute to the conversation. However, you can show that you are engaged by nodding, being expressive, and being interested in the conversation.
Don’t force yourself to speak more than you have to
Introverts sometimes tend to fall prey to the notion that in order to be recognized at work, they too have to appear engaged and conversationally ready all the time. If you are an introvert, you must already feel exhausted at the very thought of doing that. Thankfully, this is something absolutely no one needs to do. It is important to join the conversation when you do have something of value to say. But other than that, you do not have to do more than necessary and be a chatty Cathy in order to be noticed.
Do believe that your voice has value
In order to communicate better, you have to first trust in the fact that you have something valuable to contribute to the conversation. Only then can you communicate well with your co-workers and managers. Some people might feel a lot of anxiety when communicating because they are afraid of the backlash that comes from sharing their ideas. But honestly, you should know that the worst thing anyone can say is that your idea is bad and move on. Nothing more.
[If your peers do more than gently mock ideas, like cruelly tease you or behave obnoxiously, you just might have to contact HR cause that’s not the right way to behave.]
Prepare ahead of meetings
If you are not comfortable about speaking up in front of people in meetings, prepare ahead. You can make a mental list of things you want to say, or actually jot down those notes and then share them during the meeting.
Face the discomfort head on
No one can avoid meetings or face to face interactions for ever. And not everything can be done through the phone or email. It’s absolutely vital to deal with communication fears head on. Sometimes, that includes mustering enough courage to take the first step. Sometimes that includes taking the necessary steps (using therapy to treat anxiety that prevents you from communicating in the first place for example) in order to communicate better.
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