Communicate & Listen – Improves your Understanding of PeopleBy Angela Marshall, 24th Apr 2014
So many people have so little time these days that communicating with people outside their inner circle and taking an interest in other people is becoming a thing of the past. Not paying attention, a lack of interest and an inability to have a good discussion can cause problems, it leads to arguments, irritation and a lack of understanding in both personal and professional relationships. Whatever our age we can all learn from other people’s experiences. Communicating with people – both by talking and listening – from another country, faith, age, race or business improves our understanding and knowledge about the world in general. Taking a genuine interest in other people’s experiences, helps us broaden our own outlook on life.
Successful communication is about exchanging information; but it’s also about understanding people’s opinions, views and emotions. It is good manners and polite to show an interest in others rather than expecting other people to just show an interest in you.
Next time you attend an event, whether social or business, don’t just speak to people you know or are familiar with, try to engage with people you haven’t met before. Ask questions and try to find some common ground. You will be surprised what information you can find out. I recently attended a social event and a lady was standing on her own. I asked her if she would like to join us? It turned out she owned an art gallery and we discussed various artists and I learnt that a painting I owned may be worth more than I thought as the artist had died last year.
We generally communicate best when it is spontaneous rather than prepared e.g. a speech that is read very rarely has the same impact as a speech that is delivered spontaneously or appears as if it is. If you are not used to small talk then it can be useful to think of topics to discuss with people. What is in the news. In Britain we are great at talking about the weather or traffic problems as a starter.
The more you practise small talk and listening to others the more you will broaden your knowledge, which will help you both socially and professionally.