Master the five steps of Listening, Acknowledgment, Observing, Clarifying, and being Selective to become a master communicator.
Listening. The best way to keep a conversation alive is listening. How many times have you found yourself using the time the other person is speaking to gather your thoughts and points for when it is your turn to speak. Don't speak at people, a conversation is between two or more people.
Although most people can tell when they are not being heard, we often don't acknowledge it as to not be considered rude. Which leaves us feeling trapped in which case we then avoid those people or they avoid us. This can lead to a fragmented conversation that lacks real connection.
How many times do we walk away from a conversation that was too superficial or one sided and feel that it was all a waste of everyone's time and energy.
"We are talking but not connecting" -Tania M Garcia
Acknowledgement. Most of us will end a conversation quickly if we feel that we are not being acknowledged. Acknowledgment is huge because it shows the speaker respect, appreciation, and empathy. Showing empathy isn't agreement it shows the speaker that we care about what they have to say and understand their feelings. Phrases like, "I hear you", "I see what you mean", "Wow, really!" can be used to show acknowledgement.
Observing. Body language gives us an unfiltered visual of what the speaker is feeling as well as the intensity of what they are saying. Observing helps us to read between the lines and hear what they are not saying.
Clarifying. Clarification is important because what we think we understood may not be what they meant. so paraphrasing briefly will affirm what the speaker is saying and that one was truly listening while giving the speaker an opportunity to clarify.
Be selective. When it is your turn to speak be clear and focused about your message. Don't bury the lead of the conversation. Use your common sense and intuition to know WHEN and HOW to say something important. Also be aware of your own body language and tone as this can push away or confuse people if not used properly. When used properly it attracts and engages the right people. Timing is of essence.