Benefit 1: To be better understood
Strong conversation skills will virtually guarantee that you will be
better understood by most people.
Because misunderstandings can
cause such troubles in life and because they can be so costly, reducing
misunderstanding to a minimum allows our lives to flow along
more smoothly and productively.
Before: George, the manager, had a tendency to talk in generalities and
use a lot of jargon that confused his people. As a result, they were
guessing at what he meant and made many mistakes.
After: George got more specific by using less jargon and more examples.
Also, he made it comfortable for his people to ask questions for clarification,
And he checked to see that they understood what he intended. The result
was less frustration, greater trust, and higher effectiveness.
Benefit 2: To have better understanding
Conversation competence almost always results in your better understanding
Why? Because when you are not sure you got the intended meaning,
you have ways to check and clarify. Furthermore, you have good listening
skills that allow you to listen deeply instead of rehearsing what you're going to
Before: Henry's wife was frequently frustrated when he didn't seem to pay
attention. He'd bury himself in the newspaper and "sort of" listen with partial
attention while doing other things.
Many times he'd misunderstand or remember
only bits and pieces of what she considered important. His behavior was
straining their relationship.
After: Now Henry doesn't multi-task and listen at the same time. He and Betty
have designed a "talk time" when they give one another full attention during
a 30 minute period, with each one having 15 minutes. They found a quiet
place on their patio where they can talk without interruption.
Betty feels heard
and understood, and Henry is sharing more of his personal concerns and feels
Benefit 3: Better self-confidence
Knowing that you can manage a wide variety of conversations builds your
self-confidence for navigating social life. You can say to yourself, "I can do
it because I've done it." Your competence is a solid platform that supports
Sue was uneasy when around people she didn't already know. She
avoided social functions and mixers even though those would be valuable to
her profession as an accountant and her life as a person.
After acquiring new conversation skills, Sue became less self-conscious
and more outgoing. She was now fun to be with, lively and engaged, and less
concerned about what others might think of her.
She has been invited to
interview for a better position with a different firm and feels confident that
she can win the job.
Benefit 4: Workplace value
For at least 50 years, the majority of companies rank "communication skills"
at the top of their list of competencies for new hires. As top-down management
flattened out, more employees have been expected to be effective in self-
managed teams of equals and be able to coach or mentor new hires.
promoted to managing a group, an employee has even greater conversational
challenges because of the diversity of others and needs for adapting to different
styles. People who have outstanding interpersonal skills tend to be rewarded
with promotions and benefits.
Benefit 5: Better self-care
The better your conversation skills, the better you can take care of
yourself in life. You'll be subject to less manipulation, for example.
You will have tact as well as skill and be able to minimize contact
with toxic people and verbal trouble-makers.
Like the great samurai
warrior in the movie Yojimbo (played by Toshiro Mifune), difficult
people will be far less able to mess with you. When your skills are
higher, your verbal bullies will be fewer.
Benefit 6: Better relationships
As your conversation skills develop, so can your relationships. After all,
relationships are primarily based on how we talk to each other and build
bridges of understanding.
During my 25 years of helping couples in marital counseling, the biggest
problem presented was "communication." Not only problems in the
communication process, either. As well, the impact of other problems
like money, in-laws, and child-rearing was compounded by spouses
unwillingness or inability to talk them through to resolution.
partners learned better ways to talk with each other, their difficulties
Learn from the masters
Better conversation skills are both an adhesive in relationships and a
solvent for troubling problems.
Fortunately, you can steadily build
your skills day by day by observing ideal models of conversation
and adopting their superior skills. You can learn from masters
if you spend time with them, pay attention to what they do, and put
their skills into your personal practice.