Everything we do is related to our ability to connect and have meaningful conversations.
You can’t get away from that truth.
However, we typically don’t do a very good job practicing this truth.
Especially as men. We talk about sports… boats… hunting… toys… people… our wife… and more. We will talk about almost anything other than the things that really matter in life.
Yet, as men, we have a world that wants to connect with us in meaningful ways and we have a voice that needs to be heard. Whether it’s in our home, our family, with our friends or others, people want more from us. In fact they need more from us.
When we aren’t fulfilling the role we are meant to, something else is taking us place.
Here’s a few things you can do to intentionally connect with your world and to have a greater voice.
1 – Be Present.
Too often, although we are “talking” with someone, we aren’t really paying attention. Whether we’re distracted doing something else (we call it multi-tasking…others call it not paying attention when we do it), or we’re not really into the moment, or we haven’t slowed down to be present…regardless of what the excuse is, we need to learn to be present with those who matter most in our life.
2 – Listen
Listening is NOT an easy skill. What I mean by listening is listening to hear what’s being said and at times hearing what’s really being said (or what’s not being said).
A few habits that can get in the way of listening…
Responding without hearing. Interrupting. Not listening the entire time and planning a response before they are finished talking. Being bored with the talk or the one talking.
3 – Practice Reflecting Back What You Heard
It’s as simple as saying, “what I heard you say is…”. This practice forces you to listen and also says to the other person that you’re trying to hear AND understand what’s being said.
4 – Put Everything Away When Talking
Put your phone away, or better yet, silence it. Put the TV remote down. Whatever you might have in your hand, or be doing at the time, put it down. It will help you focus on the person and they will feel like they are being listened to.
5 – Make Eye Contact
If you’ve ever talked with someone who is looking away, or at something else, the message being sent is “you’re not as important as what I’m looking at…”
6 – Body Language
55% of communication is nonverbal. Read that again.
Over half of communication is not spoken.
Pay attention to your arms… the angle of your body… where are your feet pointed when standing and talking (do they say I am heading somewhere and you interrupted me?).
7 – Ask Meaningful Questions
This is not only the questions you ask, but also give meaningful answers as well.
Go beyond the superficial BS and talk about real life.
8 – Practice
Anyone can become a great communicator in their world.
However, almost all of us have to work at it.
Make it a point to connect with your world.