By Heather Wagenhals, Founder and Host, UnlockYourWealthToday.com
The ability to communicate cogently and objectively is essential to becoming a Renaissance Man.
You can possess all the knowledge in the world, but if you can’t communicate that knowledge to others clearly, then you will be hamstrung both personally and professionally.
To fully engage the Renaissance Man ethos (Focus. Integration. Celebration.) one must interact with others. And, one must make those interactions meaningful and important, regardless of how brief those interactions may be. You see, it is the quality of your communications with others that determines the depth and meaning of your relationships.
Here are five ways a Renaissance Man can improve communication skills.
1. Stop blathering endlessly.
A Renaissance Man understands the structure of communication and his obligations to be an effective communicator. Conversation is not a 50-50 engagement. It is 100% both ways. A Renaissance Man knows every communication is less about getting your point across and more about understanding. Think about how many times you have worked so hard to prove that you are right, only to fail at whatever negotiation or persuasion you are trying to achieve. Consider it your obligation when communicating to try and achieve a clear sense of mutual understanding. A Renaissance Man stays focused on his objective whether it is to look for and establish rapport with someone new, just engage in pleasantries, or persuade someone toward a new way of thinking or acting.
2. Looking is also listening.
A Renaissance Man familiarizes himself with Mehrabian’s rule and realizes more is spoken without words. This rule is viewed as a ratio that explains how much emphasis we put on parts of communication. 55-38-7. 55% of our communication is nonverbal. This is body language, gestures, facial expressions, posture, etc. We say the most without even saying a word. 38% of our communication is audible. This is what we hear that includes volume, rate, pitch and vocal inflection. Only 7% of our ability to communicate is the actual words we use. This is why computer-mediated conversations such as email and text messages are often misinterpreted, because a Renaissance Man has to infer 93% of the intent. Even on the phone we’re at a disadvantage because we only receive 45%. Whenever possible, a Renaissance Man should place himself in face-to-face conversations, as that allows for the greatest level of communication.
3. Listen in full focus.
Listening must occur with an intensity and focus that only a Renaissance Man can achieve. Avoid thinking about what you are going to say next, avoid interrupting, and just truly listen. Failure to do this will result in you missing out on quite a bit of information. A Renaissance Man understands the ratio of two ears to one mouth, and he respects his communication counterpart by listening twice as much as speaking. The value of listening intently is that you will learn where people stand, and you will have even more information. Most people will tell you exactly what’s on their mind if you listen with both your eyes and ears. And often, you will glean more from the communication with how and what others say and don’t say.
4. Think before you reply.
One of the most valuable assets a Renaissance Man has is his capacity to think. By remaining calm and not engaging in instinctive and possibly overly emotional reactions, we can find ourselves in our highest resource states—the states that allow us to think objectively and clearly. This is where we review the information we have just received, and we can adequately evaluate the meaning of our conversation. Did the other person give us enough information to elicit our understanding? Is a follow-up question necessary for clarification so that we do not make any assumptions? Unless we stop and think about it for a moment and be genuinely contemplative, a knee-jerk reaction in communication can have an adverse impact, not only on that conversation but potentially the entire relationship.
5. Speak your thoughtful response.
After a Renaissance Man stifles the desire for snappy comebacks or misquoting adages or misinterpreting someone else’s vaguely expressed emotion, he should carefully consider and then respectfully and purposefully shares his response. By exercising the four steps before speaking, a Renaissance Man honors and respects the person he is communicating with, even if he does not agree with their position or point of view. By replying in this way, a Renaissance Man preserves his integrity especially when he perceives his communication counterpart is incorrect.
Every Renaissance Man knows that to earn respect, you must be courteous, even to your detractors. By engaging in civil discourse with everyone using these five communication principles, whether it is the clerk in a store, your employer, a subordinate, friend, or family member, a Renaissance Man seizes the opportunity to deepen relationships and to gain more from each conversation. When you make or deepen connections using the, “Stop-Look-Listen-Think-Speak” formula, new insights, ideas and connections can be made—and that is a recipe for Renaissance Man enhancement.
To Your Prosperity,
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