Exceptional Communication Skills Go a Long Way
Having the ability to communicate effectively is one of today’s most valuable skills. As our society gets more technologically advanced, some of the newer generations seem to be regressing socially. Most people nowadays exclusively communicate via text messages filled with slang, abbreviated words, and acronyms. Long phone conversations and pleasant chitchat on the street has long been replaced with endless scrolls on social media channels. However, this is still a people-world, and those with exceptional communication skills will always fare better than those who lack them. Having strong communication skills can go a long way both personally and in business.
The Eyes Are the Windows to the Soul
Communication begins with eye contact. When speaking to others it’s important to try and maintain eye contact to let them know you are paying attention and that you care about what they have to say. Most of us have heard the saying “the eyes are the windows to the soul”, so when you make it a point to look into someone’s eyes you’re literally allowing yourself to see who they really are.
Here’s an exercise we like to do on the first day of our Teacher Training. Grab a friend or a willing stranger and get to work!
Exercise #1 Get in Tune with the Energy of the Person in Front of You
Sit comfortably across each other. Close the eyes, allow the body to relax, and become aware of the person sitting in front of you. Notice what is going on the mind. Do you feel comfortable? Can you really sit still and be yourself, diving inward in the presence of another human being? Sit for 10 minutes and complete the exercise by opening the eyes and discussing what came up for each of you.
Exercise #2 Allows You to See the Person in Front of You
Sit comfortably across each other. Close the eyes first, then slowly open them and gaze directly into the other person’s eyes. Try not to move, don’t speak, blink as often as need, but maintain eye contact for five full minutes. Observe the mind feeling uncomfortable, feeling judged or rejected, and discuss after the time is up.
These two exercises teach us that connection and communication begin with energy and eye contact. The first time we did this exercise it was extremely uncomfortable. We noticed the mind judging and we felt vulnerable. We also realized that many people tend to avoid eye contact. However, to create a strong and positive foundation in any verbal or emotional exchange we have to begin by feeling the other person’s energy and looking into the eyes. When we do this it becomes easier to see ourselves in others and to be compassionate with whatever is going on in their lives. This will translate to better relationships, new friendships, and improved communication skills.
I Don’t Condemn and I Don’t Convert
People who maintain eye contact are usually perceived as more reliable, warm, sociable, honest, confident and active. Being a good communicator also requires good listening skills. In the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, he says, “in order to be interesting we have to be interested in others.” Most people just want to be heard, and if we listen closely it might mean the world to them. When it does come time for us to speak it helps to be concise, clear, and direct. Avoid giving advice and instead ask a lot of questions so people come to their own conclusions. Stay away from judgments, maintain a positive attitude, and allow everyone to have their own path no matter where they are in their journey.