Six Simple Habits for Effective Communication

Six Simple Habits for Effective Communication

Effective communication is about how you exchange information with others. It’s about understanding the emotion and intent of the message rather than just the content.


Effective communication is about how you exchange information with others. It’s about understanding the emotion and intent of the message rather than just the content.

What sounds so simple often gets clouded because of our own need to be heard, our pride, motivations, etc. Each party to a conversation has its agenda. That’s perfectly fine. But the great communicator controls, manages, and uses each unique intent to extract what’s important, guide the dialog, and get the best from everyone.

In this episode, we’ll dive into six simple habits you can quickly adopt to be heard, seen, and understand what others are truly feeling…all the time, everywhere, for everyone. Listen with us to level up your communication today.  

Transcript

Welcome to Morning Coffee and Mimosas. I'm Cristina.

And I'm Joe.

We are a father-daughter duo. We come here Sunday mornings, but you can come here anytime you please. We banter about life, about business and we do it over coffee and mimosas.
Bonjour!

Good Morning!!
Listeners, you couldn't see that, but we were both staring at each other like who's going to say, good morning first.

It was like a duel.

It was a duel.
And then you went into the whatever... french or something,

Ohh french or something...

Haha ha that you don't speak.

Haha I think you know what bonjour means!

That you don't speak.

That actually did get me in a little bit of trouble when I went to Paris because I would say Bonjour and then somebody would start talking and then I'd be like "No Habla." And then they're like that's Spanish. So I'm like, ooh haha... "Oui Oui! I don't know what I'm saying." So.

Yeah you can't do that..

No, it's tough. It is tough. I learn like one word of language and then I overuse it. Nobody in that country really appreciates it and it causes much confusion ha haha.

Then they start talking louder to you.

Yeah.

Just like we do when someone doesn't understand. So you just yell ha haha.

Ha yeah, exactly. I don't know if you do this too, but I noticed that when I am in another country or when I'm spending a significant amount of time with somebody that has an accent, I start adopting the accent too. Do you do that or is that just a weird thing? I do.

I don't know if I do, I think that's just you.

Like, I've heard myself start to like adopt accents and I'm like, what are you doing?
You don't have an accent ha haha.

I don't know. But I did like your line when I'm in another country. Cause I tend to not go to other countries ha ha ha ha I have not gone anywhere ha haha.

You definitely have, I was in Ireland with you. I've seen you, I've seen you in other countries.

Yeah. But the way you made it sound like, you know, oh yeah. Every other week I'm in another country.

No, no. I wish I, I aspire to be in another country every other week, but every other year at this point it seems like. Every other three years lately, but anyway, enough about my, weird quirks.

I swear to God she only had one mimosa this morning. But I, it, whatever happened last night, it's picking up here ha haha. So.

Anyway. Um, I think that this is a fine time to let the listeners know what we're going to be talking about.

What the hell are we talking about?!

We're having a lot of trouble communicating this morning. So we are going to talk a little bit about the importance of effective communication and asking good questions to build trust.

That's good because that is. Kind of the tail end of something we wanted to talk about from the ghost in the machine, coming up with how do you find out what is going wrong in your organization? It could be in your family. It could be, you know, whatever. And last week we spoke about the importance of trust.
And that's why I wish I could trust you to come to these...

Come to these mornings with my brain? Hahahaha

Hahahaha But outside of that, umm...

Dad, it'll show up. I promise,

Oh ok. I think it's here.

Once we get started here my brain will come. I promise. It might be in another country right now doing some accents.

I hope so. Otherwise, I'm going to rename this as Morning Coffee and leave it at that. Hahaha, a major edit.

You're just going to put like morning coffee period.

Right? And then people will say "How come it's just you ?" And I'll say "Well, we had issues."

Morning coffee, hard stop.

That's it. That's it. But that's what is correct.
The trust factor that's needed to be able... . To help you uncover these ghosts that are haunting your organization or your team or whatever, is communication.
So glad you started that.

And if you didn't listen last week, the episode was kind of like the foundation. So we talked about trust without trust effective communication really doesn't matter. Right.

Yea because if your people and coworkers or whatever don't trust you, then they're not going to tell you anything you really want to know.

Right. And you can communicate as well as anybody, but it won't make a whole lot of difference because you don't have the fundamentals. So episode on trust, if you didn't listen, highly suggest you check that out. But now we'll talk a little bit about questions building trust and how to effectively communicate

very well.
........ So she says, nothing.

Hahahaha

Well, I'm going to, so that's I would say one of the most important things.

I didn't say anything because I was focused on you.

That was it see!

Because I was listening.

She was focusing on me and I didn't say anything, but that's, that is very important. If someone is speaking and you've asked them a question and they're answering or, or they are discussing with you and speaking.
It is really so important to give them the attention that they deserve. And, you know, it's like one of these, and we do this all the time, duh. Yeah. But think about it. How many times are we holding a cell phone in our hand and we're glancing at the phone and we go, Yeah it's okay? Keep talking. But who wants to keep talking when you're staring at the phone?
Right? Or if you're looking away from the person, not, you know, not making eye contact. And I don't mean staring, but making some reasonable eye contact.

' Cause now I'm staring and you're getting uncomfortable. Right?

Very uncomfortable haha.

. But it's true. I think people can tell, and we're all guilty of this. I'm guilty of this at different times of, you know, something distracting you or you're, you know, you're on a call, you see an email pop up, you see a text message come through.
That's from somebody that you need to pay attention to and all of a sudden your focus drifts.

Right.

And the person on the other side, you were having this good dialogue, Or they were on a roll and all of a sudden they kind of lose their steam. Cause they're like, I've just lost you hahaha.

Right. Exactly.

You're now somewhere else. Right. People can tell when your focus changes. So make sure that you're deliberately focusing on and giving your attention to the person or the thing that's in front of you.

And especially, well, it is. and also, in relation to your position in the organization also, And what I mean by that is it's the same advice, but, we give a lot of leeway to friends, to colleagues of equal level coworkers But if you manage a team, it is exceptionally hurtful in a deeper way if you appear to be not really paying attention.

You're right.

they're not going to say to you, "uh, can you please get off the phone or, or why are you looking past me? Or why do you not seem interested?"
They're not going to, but it's going to be in there in their brain. And this is what we mean by if you're trying to uncover. Things that are not working correctly.
That's not accomplished by not giving a hundred percent to the people you're speaking to.

And I think the other thing with that is because we all are guilty of it.
I won't speak for everybody. Right. Because I'm sure there are some people that don't get distracted and the undivided attention is always there, but I'll speak for most people, myself included, and say that. It's also okay. To admit it. And it's better
. To tell the person that you're talking to. I apologize. I just had a text message come through, or an email just came through with a, you know, a subject line that distracted me, please continue. Right. And go back to that. Cause the worst thing that you can do is be multi-tasking, distracted. , have the other person on the other side feeling that, but just kind of like steamroll through it.

Right.
Very good. Linked to that... and that's, I'm not minimizing that linked to that is not interrupting.

You're a hundred percent right.

Or

finishing sentences for people. Right.

Exactly how many times has that happened? Right?

And we all, we all like to, I think that there's this excitement, right? That you feel like, oh, I know what you're going to say.
almost like you're going to get an award for... like the person on the other side is going to be like, "Oh my God, we're connected. Huh? You, you were thinking the same thing. I was going to say."

Right but you didn't say that after they were done, you said it in the middle of what they were saying.

Exactly! Most of the time. Once in a while, you might complete the sentence and you guys might just be on fire and connected and you know, you finish their sentences and it's super cute.
But most of the time the person wanted to finish their own sentence, correct. Or they weren't going to say that at all. Hahahahahaha!

Then you really, you really derailed that conversation if it wasn't. Right.

Exactly. And I, I mean, I find that with my husband and me, like, I drive him crazy sometimes because he'll be telling me a story and I'm trying to like respond like, we're having a conversation and it's a back and forth and he's like, "No, I'm trying to tell you something. That wasn't what I was going to say." And I'm like, oh, I thought I, you know, it's not cute.

No, no.

So it's something that I think all of us need to work on. I say, all of us, I'm looking at myself, but try and put that into perspective that you're the only one that, thinks it's exciting to finish someone else's sentence.

Now, the only good part about that. And it's not good... but it does mean that you're listening to the other person because the flip and now you should, you still should not do that, but at least the person who was just interrupted knows that you were listening

Well, and I will say with one caveat because I think sometimes people have a tendency to speak way longer than necessary. So

Correct.

Because sometimes people say they repeat themselves. They say the same thing over and over again. Sometimes somebody might take a minute and a half to say something that should have been delivered in seconds.
So sometimes completing a sentence that's already been established is a way to say. I got it. Let's move on.

Correct. And that's your pivot point to move on?

Right. So, listeners, I would say really try and check yourself and be objective. Am I saying something in as few words as I can say something, am I getting to my point, and am I not beating a dead horse?

Right.

Get to your point and then move on because that allows everyone to be more efficient.

Right, right, And then, so, so linked to that is paying attention think about what that person is trying to say and resist.
So this is, how you stop this - resist the temptation to be thinking about what you are going to say next.

Yes.

Very often. and by the way, that is, uh, a clue. when people say, you know, I don't remember names or I don't, you know, whatever most of that happens when you meet somebody, I'm linking to two separate things.
But think about this when you're at a party or something, and someone says, hi, I'm. Right? Very often, you just shake hands say hi, and you're thinking about, oh, I want to talk to that person over there. I want to talk about this. You didn't really pay attention.

Right.

So one of the little techniques for remembering names better is to look the person in the eye say, "Hi, , how are you?"
Right? So similarly, pay attention to what the person is saying and resist the temptation to be thinking about the next great idea that you want to interject into that conversation.

And that completely goes back to the first point, which is focus on the other person.

There you go. Right.

And you know, more than just what they're saying, focus on them.

Right.

And I think, um, a great book that I believe that advice was included in, and probably has been in many other books, but the Dale Carnegie book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, I believe that's what, that that was a piece of advice that they gave because I used to have a lot of trouble remembering names and still do.
And I think that that's great... Take a moment and repeat their name back to them. Look them in the eye and... It should be easy enough to recall your own name. So you don't really need to be thinking about it.

That's where I got it from since I was a Dale Carnegie instructor. So...

That's true. I thought I would give credit where credit was due.
That's not a  grads original.

No, I didn't say it was. Now - Something that's very important is to ask questions. If you don't either understand or the person hasn't fully clarified and linked to your point where you said like that person is taking, you know, minutes to say something that could be said in a few seconds... You could interrupt them politely.
With a question. And the question can change the direction and all of these things. Now, remember what we're doing here? All of these,

Well and I think that's...

Go ahead...

I just interrupted you.

She just Interrupted me so go ahead.

Go ahead Dad I'm sorry.

No. You go ahead. No because you're going to forget because you're old.

Old Habits man. Old habits die hard.

I was just going to say that all of these things that we're talking about simply build on the perception of trust. Right. And that we're assuming you already are trustworthy, but sometimes you can throw that off and have a perception of mistrust because you do some of these things in communication.

Right.

So I just wanted to put that in a parameter that what we're doing is building great habits that will pay you dividends into the future. And will allow you when you need to find out, you know, help diagnose why something isn't going, right. Your team or coworkers or whoever will be more likely to participate in coming up with a solution by talking to you and so on. So I just wanted to keep that umbrella going as we're talking.

No, I love that. And I think that's the big thing with all of this, right. Is building an environment where people feel safe, they are bringing their ideas, their brain to the table.

Yes, exactly.

We talked about it a little bit last week.
There's no way to advance forward. If you have everybody around you just saying yes and everybody around you just You know, rolling. We all need people to challenge our ideas. We need people, we need back and forth communication

So they can't be yes people, and they also can't be afraid

Right.

Of you or, or whatever. Yeah.

Yeah. So I think that's important. one thing you said, dad, that I just want to take a minute, you were talking about how you can use questions when sometimes, somebody maybe. Way too verbose or, you know, maybe somebody is having trouble, communicating what they're trying, you know, or having trouble, getting to the point.
you can use a question in a way to say, okay, so I understand, you know, maybe like you're interrupting right. Gently to help them get to the point and also help them to kind of realize. All right. Let's focus, right. You're talking a little too long. you can use your questions to say, okay, so I understand this aspect of it.
Now I'm kind of lost. So let's, let's now focus on what's the pivot point here? What are, what is the call to action, if you will, right?

Right.

So I understand the background now let's get to, what do you need me to do here?

Yeah, that's an excellent use of questions and an excellent way to ask the question.

Cause you know, we don't want to be little people.

No! No.

But I think there's a, a good way to get to. You know, helping people and helping ourselves. Right. We all are guilty of sometimes, gosh, you guys are probably listening to this podcast sometimes and thinking like, okay, you know, get to the point. Word soup here, but we're all guilty of it.
Right. So I think it's a, it's a really good, reminder to think about the other thing. And this dad is something that I think is super important. Something I work on. Our faces tell a story.

Yes, they do.

Some people's faces tell more of a story than others, but I think we have to be really sensitive to that.
That part of effective communication is the story your face is telling just as much as it's the words that are coming out of your mouth, whether you're focused and all of that. So, listeners. I think this is really important because when you're on, it might be a challenging conversation. Sometimes we can set a tone with our face without even intending on it.
So if you are trying to drive a positive engagement, have a positive demeanor. And I think that goes for, for everybody in anything. If you roll your eyes, if you drift off, seem uninterested, if your tone or your facial expression shows an attitude, that's how somebody else is going to respond.
And you may wonder "Why is every engagement with this person so combative or negative?" Oftentimes it's our facial expressions, our nonverbal communications that cause that. So try and focus on that. I, sometimes when I am going to be in a situation where I know it's going to challenge me to stay positive.
I will, sometimes I say I try and smile with my eyes, right? And try and put a smile on because that will help, I think I to respond positively and other people to respond positively to me.

A hundred percent correct. And one little, one little piece of that. I love smiles. And I have to tell you, like, when I'm, on a zoom call or something, I, tend to try to smile.
And I like when people are smiling and to me, it, really lowers any kind of nervousness and, you know, but it's, it's not natural for some people because you kind of get on and you're focused on what you're going to talk about or what you're going to listen to and what the meeting's about.
I just try to smile. Cause I think, you know,

It disarms people, it disarms people. It also, gives you a dopamine boost for yourself, smiling.

Yeah, I thought you were calling me a dope hahaha.

Hahaha, you look a little dopey when you smile Dad hahaha!

Hahahahahahaha

But it does give a dopamine boost.

There you go. No, it does. And I know like in, in call centers, you know, and so on, they'll always have little things, you know. Smile even though a person can't see you when you have smiling eyes or you smile inside, it does come through vocally And a little, a little thing that I, if I have to control over it and I don't always, but on zoom meetings, I really like when people put their cameras on, uh, very often people don't because. They don't want to but with the advent of being able to have fake backgrounds and so it's not like we see the laundry pile behind your, your chair or the bed or something,

Or the barbies... that you had for a while.

Haha or the barbies. Yes.

When he used to, uh, work in my old room hahaha from growing up, that was memorialized. Hadn't been changed since I left it.

That's correct. But umm... you know, I really think it's important, when we have so many zoom calls to see the people I think it connects. It's a connection.

Yeah. I agree. I think it, especially... you have to pick and choose, right? Cause it's a lot to be on camera all day long. But I think when you have a meeting that there's something important or you need to connect with another person or you have challenges, if it's somebody, you have challenges with communication, the camera helps.
Right? Cause then you can, you can see, you can see more how people intend things versus just, you know, hearing the words.

Right. And a final piece that I'd like to just bring up is, and we touched on it, like by looking at the phone or, or this or that, but try not to multitask when you're having the conversation.
So you might say, well, you just said that we said that before, but if you think about it, we multitask in other ways. You know, especially on zoom calls, you could be reading emails and the person doesn't know it. So it's not like you're looking down at your phone and typing. But you're looking at the screen and on another window, you know, you have your email, right.
or even your brain is thinking about, "Oh, I have the meeting with the boss later. I have this..." A million things, and I know it's easier said than done, but if you can discipline ourselves for just that time period, while we're having that conversation.
we can be the difference between trust and mistrust.

It can also be the difference between an efficient meeting and an inefficient meeting

. Right.

Because if you're elsewhere, that's when sometimes I think things have to get restated and, you know, there's getting caught up.
Or you asked a question and you missed the meat of the answer. So then you're giving a response that doesn't really apply

Or, three hours or a day later, you're sending an email to the group asking a question that was dealt with, and you totally didn't hear it. Does that reflect well on you? Ha

I have tried really hard to be deliberate about, just turning off the notifications and you can do things on your phone.
Like you can put work mode on that, you know, gets rid of notifications from people that are not working, social media notifications... So I have worked to kind of like when I'm in a meeting and I'm not saying I'm perfect, right, there are certain times that it, that it happens, but. I try to not look at my email box.
I try to not, not look at other things because, that's when the communication effectiveness really drops because

It's true.

Most people are easily distractable myself included.

I know I am haha.

I am. Right.

Oh it's a shiny object over there hahaha.

Yeah! So is that a bird, plane? So it's so easy to get distracted and it's not malicious, but it's, that's where for me, I've got to be deliberate about, turning off the other things.
So I can focus on the person, the task at hand, and actually make sure I'm getting something done and moving it forward rather than trying to do three things and getting none of them done.

No, you're right. And actually, I should do it cause it's on a geek. I should do a technology. the thing on this, because both apple, iPhone, or Android has... if you have a meeting, it can automatically go into like a do not disturb mode for the meeting

Yeah.

Do you know? And that's very effective. I've used that.

Well, there are a lot of hacks, like I think when I start discovering all the different ways that we can have technology kind of automate some of these things to help us and protect us from ourselves. It's pretty cool.

So you're really good at like, recaps, you know,

oh, hahahahaha

Hahahahahahahaha

Are you sure I am??

Hahaha, I'm going to throw this out to you since you were so wild and crazy at the beginning of this episode. So to kind of bring this home and recap...

It sounds like I'm getting tested on my listening skills. It also feels a bit like you're trying to check whether my brain arrived for this..

Well, this was an excellent conversation. So I would love to see you recap it.

Okay, dad. All right. It sounds like I'm being called to the carpet here. So listeners, what did we talk about today? I would say...

I don't know I wasn't paying attention! Hahaha just kidding.

Hahaha, I would say that we have six tips for, more effective listening and communication. So let's start, you know, number one guys focus on the person more than just the words they're saying, truly focus on the person that you're communicating with.
Listen with an open mind. Right? So try to understand what they're trying to say rather than thinking about what you want to say next.
Try not to interrupt the speaker or finish their sentences as much as you feel like you're going to win the prize by answering the question correctly, it is never appreciated.

And I've been good. I haven't interrupted you yet.

You've been very good. And your eye contact has been a little bit... alarming. But good.

Hahaha, alarming...

Hahaha, I'm getting stares.

I don't know what that means now, so now I'm worried.

No, your eye contact has been good. It's good. But I would appreciate it if you blinked, it's making me a little uncomfortable hahaha.
Um, the other thing is to ask questions if you don't understand something that's being said, or if you want to clarify a topic and you can use those questions as ways to help somebody that's struggling to get to a point. you know, or kind of bring somebody back that might be distracted themselves.
Big one point number five, keep your facial expressions neutral or positive. Right? So avoid interrupting with facial expressions and also avoid setting a negative tone through your facial, or non-verbal communications

And try to smile. To keep people happy.

Yeah. Dopamine. And then finally avoid multitasking. It's easier said than done, but use whatever hack you can. If it's a technology hack or just a real discipline to not look at anything else and make sure you go back to point number one, which is maintaining that focus on the person or, or the task or what you're doing. it helps

And actually, if you stay on point number one, you don't have to worry about the other five. Pretty much they follow.

Wait, are you saying we could have just been done after point number one?! This whole freaking episode?

Oh, this could have been a  minute episode instead of haha! Oh sorry.

Dad that's so inefficient.

That was bad.

Hahaha well, listeners, we are very sorry for wasting your time this morning.

That's right hahaha!

Thank you for staying with us anyway. Hahahaha

Yes, this was good. Thank you very much.

Thank you, dad. I expect myself to be a better listener and communicator this week. So I ask all of you listeners that communicate with me - hold me accountable for that.
And you know what? Whoever is listening and talking and communicating with my dad this week, you better hold him accountable too.

Very good, very good. And I thought I interrupted you there and jumped in, but... Which I shouldn't have done,

It's alright.

But listeners, we do appreciate your feedback and comments and, episode topics and we've gotten more great reviews. So keep those coming and we really appreciate it.
Wherever you are, whatever your story. Thanks for spending time with us this morning. Now. Go and make a difference in your world.

Dad over here, over here. I see your attention drifting off.

And I'm starting to tap my feet again with the music.

Hahahahahaha

We appreciate you all. Thank you for listening.

Have a great week, everybody.
Yep!