Learning how to speak is hard and it takes a lot of practice. When people learn how to communicate better, they do it because they finally understand this is another skill that’s directly impacting the quality of life.
You may set yourself to learn how to communicate better for various reasons. Here are a few:
- Ask for a better salary at work;
- Convince your group of friends to travel to a specific city;
- Have better relationships with those around you.
Whatever your reasons are, eventually the process of communication can be summed down to winning an argument. Of course, it’s not always about it, but in most cases, you’re trying to convince someone of something.
As I said, maybe you’re trying to convince your boss that you deserve a better salary. Or, maybe you’re trying to convince a friend that, if they want to grow up and learn how to make decisions on their own, it’s better not to ask for help.
With this being said, here are 7 ideas on how to communicate better so you can win an argument.
- Try to treat everyone as a friend
- Make sure you listen so you can understand
- Facts are an important part of making a point
- Detach yourself emotionally so you can understand the situation
- Be as specific as you can
- Make sure you know where you are and where you want to be
- Create a friendly environment that encourages honest communication
1. Try to treat everyone as a friend
For sure, not everyone is your friend and it’s impossible to only have friends. But you should make the effort to see the one you’re speaking with as a friend. At least for a few minutes (during the conversation).
One way of doing it is to imagine you’re speaking with someone who’s a friend. Or maybe with someone who’s part of your family. This way, the chances to have negative feelings towards that person are low.
The purpose here is not actually to make friends (even though it would be great). But maybe you’re speaking with someone with whom you’re not resonating and you don’t feel like having that person in your life. At the same time, it doesn’t mean you have to hate the poor soul.
More than that, if you’re in a situation where you have to convince someone you don’t like of something that’s important to you, you’ll have more chances of doing so if they believe you’re their friend. Again, it’s not about becoming friends – it’s about letting them believe you can be considered a friend.
If you show negative feelings and you make them feel like you have something against them, winning an argument will be, in most situations, impossible.
Therefore, try to treat everyone as a friend. That’s the first step in learning how to communicate better.
2. Make sure you listen so you can understand
Winning an argument is not about what you want. It’s about how you can provide the feeling of comfort to the person you’re speaking to so they can share meaningful and private information with you.
But if you don’t listen, you won’t be able to hear it. Listening is a great part of learning how to communicate better.
Most people only hear what the other person is saying because most people want to win the argument. The secret is you never have to win an argument ever again if you know how to win the person.
I’ve met many people who can speak for hours about something just so they can get the other person to say ‘YES’. But that’s an illusion. It’s never about you and what you want. It’s always about the person in front of you.
If you’re looking for the other person to say ‘YES’ to you, there’s only one of the next three types of ‘YES’ that you should be interested in:
- Confirmation ‘YES’: when people are saying it just to show they agree;
- Counterfeit ‘YES’: when people are saying it but they do it just so they can get read of you;
- Commitment ‘YES’: when people decide they’re going to do something as a result of what you shared with them.
The third one is the one you’re looking for and you’re not going to get it without listening.
3. Facts are an important part of making a point
When it comes to difficult conversations, learning how to communicate better is crucial.
Imagine you are in a situation where one of your best friends isn’t keeping their promises anymore. In such a situation, the worst thing you could do is to tell them they forgot how to be friends or something that’s close to this.
If you do that, you may end up having no friends whatsoever and I believe that’s not the result you’re looking for.
Instead of saying that, you should mention the actual problem, with as many details as possible.
For example, if your friend isn’t keeping their promises, make a list with all the moments when they promised something and didn’t keep their word. After that, present the list as friendly as possible. Remember the first point of the article. If you want to win an argument, you have to treat the other person as a friend.
Don’t get angry and keep your mind focused on trying to help your friend understand what the problem is. After all, they may not even be aware they’re doing it.
4. Detach yourself emotionally so you can understand the situation
Understanding the world as it is, requires a lot of self-detachment.
If you’re looking to understand the world, you have to set yourself on a path where there’s no good or bad, no beauty or ugly, no up or down, no left or right. A path where you force your mindset into accepting things as they are, not as you want them to be. A path where you don’t judge things anymore.
When you let yourself influenced by emotions, you decide that you want to see the world differently. It won’t make the world better or worse as your decision is not good or bad. It will simply make it different.
When it comes to learning how to communicate better, seeing the world in its raw format is crucial. Otherwise, if you look at the world while you’re impacted by emotions, you won’t be able to understand the reality of the one you’re speaking with. Therefore, you won’t be able to truly understand that person.
5. Be as specific as you can when you learn how to communicate better
Learning how to better communicate has a lot to do with how specific you are when you share your thoughts.
For example, instead of saying ‘Let’s meet tomorrow so we can grab a coffee’, you could say ‘I’d like to meet tomorrow with you so we can catch up. Would you like to meet at 14:00 at Coffee Premium for one hour?’
The first example is not as specific as the second one, but what is it missing?
First of all, when I say ‘I’d like to meet tomorrow with you’, I’m making it clear that it’s going to be only you and me. When I say ‘let’s meet tomorrow’, somehow I leave open the idea of a 3rd person.
Second, in the first example is not mentioned the hour and the place. Also, on the second example I’m also stating for how long I’m thinking the meeting will last.
When you’re as specific as possible, the most important thing that’s happening is this: you make sure that both you and the person you’re speaking with are on the same track. The more details you provide with your request, the more you’ll help the other person to understand your request.
When it comes to negotiations, being able to specifically state what you’re requesting is crucial. Otherwise, you’ll give the other person the opportunity to give you whatever they think is fit.
To make sure you learn how to communicate better and become a little more specific, make a google search for 5W1H: where, when, what, why, who, how. You’ll learn more about it.
6. Make sure you know where you are and where you want to be
Building on the previous point, the 5W1H can help you define where you are and where you want to be. Use them to properly understand your current position in relation to whoever you’re speaking.
When you’re learning to communicate better, it’s really important to know where you want to be. After all, what is the reason behind the ideas you’re sharing? What’s the argument that you want to win?
Knowing that as specific as you can, will give you clarity.
But before that, you have to know where you are. It’s not as important because you can get somewhere only by knowing where you want to get. But when you know where you are as well, it will be easier for you because creating a plan for reaching a goal is easier where you know both factors of the equation.
7. Create a friendly environment that encourages honest communication
As I mentioned before, if you know how to win a person, you won’t have to win an argument ever again.
But winning someone is hard and takes time. To do it, you’ll have to build trust, make sure you understand that person, and provide them with at least three of the following:
- Status: the most significant determinant of human longevity and health;
- Certainty: when sufficient certainty is present, our brain senses patterns, successfully predicts next steps, and operates much more efficiently;
- Autonomy: when we feel more autonomous, we’re much more resistant to stress;
- Relatedness: the ability to feel trust and empathy about others is shaped by whether they are perceived to be part of the same social group;
- Fairness: the perception of unfairness creates an environment in which trust and collaboration cannot flourish.
To do that, you have to create a friendly environment where honest communication is encouraged. When two people have an honest and clean relationship, the five things mentioned above have more chances to be present.
With love and optimism,