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Last week, we introduced the concept of “wasting words” and discussed the ways that people are being wasteful with their language. This week, author Sean Mahar joins us again to address how people can have better conversations and stop wasting their words.

You’ve explained the idea of wasting words to your employees, but how do you actually change their mindset about conversations? It can be difficult to adjust your conversation tactics so that you are talking with people rather than at people. Instead of talking at people, try to accomplish something with your conversation. This is your opportunity to make a difference.
For example, your goal should not be to simply compliment someone - it should be to make them feel good. Rather than delegating something to a colleague, your goal should be to encourage them to actually get the task done. Instead of giving feedback to your employee, the idea should be to help them to become better next year.

It’s also a challenge to ensure that the information is actually received - not just delivered. We have been trained to believe that if the person we are speaking to is able to repeat back to us the information we just shared, then that means the message got through to them. This is not the case, as it’s easy for someone to repeat back exactly what they just heard. To confirm that the message itself actually got through to the person you are speaking with, try asking them to repeat the information back to you in their own words. If they’re able to accurately restate the message - perhaps with words that have more meaning to them - then you know that your words were absorbed by them.

Another way of ensuring that your message is received is by being selective about the questions you ask. Rather than asking questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no” - for example, “Do you understand?” - ask a question that forces the person to respond in their own words. “What is the actionable item?” is used often around here.

The more conscious you become of your own communication processes, the more successful you will be in every aspect of life. You can start by looking at the way you treat people and your conversations with them. Strong communication will result in you being able to do an action based on what they said (or vice versa). Ultimately, this will help you sell more for your business, enjoy talking to your clients, and feel happier when walking into meetings or appointments that you may have otherwise dreaded.

When we make those important connections and build up strong relationships by being more conscious about our communication style, we can feel more confident in our conversations. Next time you have a conversation with someone new, ask yourself at the end what you have learned about them. What do you know about them? How can you get on the same page as them? If you are able to answer these questions, you’re on the right track to better communication. Changing your conversations is key to your business.

A technician can spend all day changing their process to be better at their job, but they’re ultimately just chasing pennies. Learn to be a better, genuine communicator to chase the real relationships that lead to huge success.

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