One way to become a more effective and productive person is to become a better communicator. Excellent communication is key to delivering your message to the world. You can become better at communication by learning to understand people better. This requires that you let go of judgment and learn more about the world.
1) Withhold Judgment
Every one of us has preconceived notions about different individuals and groups of people. It’s in our DNA and is hard to fight. We know what we know due to being around people who are most like us. When you find that you are going to be around people, you’re not used to letting go of any judgments that you’ve built up over life. They are likely wrong, and you don’t want anything to get in the way of your understanding.
2) Let Go of Assumptions
This type of thing can happen due to having ideas about what it means by how someone dresses, or what it means that they have a specific job, or what it means that they have gone to a particular school. Some of the assumptions that we carry with us are due to marketing and aren’t even close to being right. Let them all go as you meet new people.
3) Clarify What You Heard and Understood
When communicating with people to be sure that you understand them, reflect what you think they mean in your own words. Ask them if that’s what they mean so that you can ensure you know. Keep going until you are sure.
4) Get to Know Yourself Better
You may think you know who you are. However, if you haven’t experienced much outside of your own life it’s hard to understand. If you’ve never had Asian food, how do you know you don’t like it? If you’ve never seen the ocean how do you know you like it? Examine the assumptions you have about yourself.
5) Experience the World More
Travel, read more history, learn about different cultures. The more you learn and experience the world the more you’ll understand people. Exposing yourself to people outside of your circle and culture can make all the difference in how you see the world and opportunity.
6) Be Mindful and Present
As you go through life, focus on being in the here and now. When you’re with others and trying to get to know them and understand them you can do that better if you’re focusing on them 100 percent instead of checking your phone or worrying about what you are wearing.
7) Get to Know Body Language
Studying body language within the confines of various cultures is a fascinating relation to human nature. It’s surprising how something like proximity and eye contact is different depending on the culture. What might be rude by one culture is seen as polite by the next.
8) Give It Time
Take your time getting to know people. It’s not going to happen overnight. You cannot study human nature today and suddenly know all there is to know. Instead, realize it takes work to really learn how to understand people, even yourself.
Learning to understand people better will help you become more a more effective communicator. Delivering your message in a way that resonates with more people due to your empathy shining through will make all the difference in your ability to influence people and make your way in the world.