More than any one factor, the quality and success of our lives depends on our ability to communicate. What we say, how we say it, and to whom we speak is the equivalent of who we are as a person. The more abundantly we communicate – and the more we communicate with abundance – the greater our successes in life.
So what does it mean to be an abundant communicator? Surprisingly, although educational level can certainly determine things like vocabulary, diction, and complexity, education does not necessarily dictate abundance and success.
Here are ten factors to consider in becoming an abundant communicator:
1. Get what you want by demonstrating an attitude of giving.
Often referred to as ‘an attitude of gratitude’, this simply means that one is grateful, humble, and thinking of the perspective, needs, and ideas of the other party or parties in every conversation. So often when we give, we get; in other words, when we make others feel that we want to satisfy their need, they will seek to satisfy our need.
This means more than just listening carefully. This means using language that clearly illustrates concern for the reality and the needs of the other person or persons in any given conversation.
2. Always use two parts listening to one part speaking.
We each have two ears and one mouth and we should use them in that proportion. “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand” (unknown author).
Listening carefully shows respect, expresses active concern, and plants the seeds of abundance in a conversation.
3. Exhibit integrity in both words and actions.
This goes beyond thinking clearly and carefully about what you say and how it is said, and into the world of your principles. A simple definition of integrity is: a foundation of honest principles that cannot be compromised for any reason. In all communication, look for opportunities to share your integrity.
The actions of your body – your body language – also exemplify your personal integrity. Your very character is evident in the manner of your body language. Take note to be certain that your words and actions are always in line with your principles, your integrity.
4. Always consider “what’s in it for them”.
The very best of abundance in all of life is found in the exploration of situations in which each person involved wins, or gets what they want. As we communicate, we should always be considering “what’s in it for them”, meaning that we must be as aware as we can of the needs of others.
5. Make allowances for people.
So often when someone upsets me I have to think about the very nature or character of that other person. Do they have- or might they have – some sort of disorder that I should consider and therefore make an allowance for that? Are they simply unable to be objective or to see the whole picture? Do they have a different perspective for a good reason? Am I considering the possible shortcomings of the other party or parties?
I find that when I am able to make allowances for people, the opportunity for a positive experience (or conversation) increases dramatically. When one allows for the reality of the other person, one becomes open to greater possibility, better understanding, and constructive result.
6. Consider the matter of credibility.
Similar to making an allowance for another person is the matter of credibility. When I allow anyone to affect me in any way, this effect is in direct proportion to how much credibility I give to that person. If a person does not deserve – or has not earned – any credibility, does it matter what they say to me?
When I am in a conversation with someone who has not earned credibility, I must make an allowance for that fact and not allow his or her words or actions to affect me negatively.
7. Carefully pick your battles.
When communicating, always ask yourself the question of value. If the subject matter has value, then perhaps it is worth “the battle”. Just like when dealing with a child, we must pick our battles carefully and debate only those points that have merit or value.
8. Know your desired outcome.
It is virtually guaranteed that when you have in mind a desired result (from a conversation) before having the conversation, the chances of a favorable outcome are very good. This means a visualization in advance of any given conversation – whenever possible – as to what you want or need from the conversation. Then you can always steer the conversation in that direction.
9. Adjust your verbiage to fit the situation.
Abundance in communication means tailoring your words to fit the situation. For example, I would not use the same words to talk to a child that I would use to sell a business plan to a corporate executive. Be cautiously aware of the exact words you use to communicate.
10. Seek objectivity or open-mindedness and flexibility.
When emotions are stirred, it is easy to become subjective as opposed to objective. Emotions tend to cloud judgment; remain as calm as possible, and yet passionate as appropriate. The greater objectivity or open-mindedness one employs in communication, the greater the abundance in communication.
Along with having an open mind come flexibility. No matter how much thought and care we give to our communication, it still will not always go the way we want or hope. Flexibility means acceptance of that fact, and perhaps using a new, different approach.
In conclusion, abundant communication means being conscious and thoughtful in any given conversation. When we keep in mind our own integrity – our unswerving principles – and the character, credibility, and needs of the other party, we can begin to communicate effectively.
A word of warning is appropriate, however. Perhaps it is consistently effective communication that is the most challenging task that any of us will ever undertake. In my mind, it is something that takes a lifetime of practice, and still may not always work. Even so, when we keep in mind these ten factors we stack the odds of abundant communication in our favor every time.