A few months ago I’ve written an article on the most important skill of all which is, without a doubt, communication. Within this series, I would like to talk about what I think are the 7 essential skills that all truly successful people have mastered.
I’m actually so confident in the importance of these skills, that I can give you my written signature and guarantee that mastering them will lead levels of personal and professional success that you cannot even imagine.
I’ve divided all of them into smaller areas that you can focus on. This is useful because I personally consider that it’s better to focus on one singular aspect of a certain skill until you raise it considerably. Also, some people might be great writers, for example, but they paralyze any time you put them in front of an audience.
Though both writing and public speaking are parts of our overall communication skill, they are obviously different so I think that they should be improved separately. My honest suggestion is to focus on the area that is weakest for you in this moment.
You will see that working on one skill area, such as your manners for example, will directly and positively affect the other areas of that skill. To help you become better at these skills, you’ll notice that I’ve suggested many other resources that I have personally used and recommend.
I do not yet know how many articles I need to write in order to cover all the skills, but what I can promise you is that each one of them will be explained in detail. So without further ado, let’s start with number one!
As mentioned before, I consider that communication is, by far, the most important skill of all. Becoming a master of your words and thoughts will probably have the biggest positive impact on all areas of your life. I believe that there are four main aspects of communication that we should focus on improving:
Emails, letters, messages, descriptions, reports, books. Written communication is all around us and has become a key part of our daily lives. I personally cannot remember the last time I went a full 24 hours without reading. Probably because I was too young to remember anything.
Learning how to place your thoughts on paper (or on the keyboard) is essential if you to reach high levels of success within your career. The world today is more borderless than it ever has been. It is now not just possible, but many times recommended, to keep in touch with people from all over the world.
This will help you to get more opportunities, to widen your perspective of what’s possible, to leave your city or even country if one day you wake up with a Russian army in it that threaten the safety of your children (true story of a friend) and much, much more.
Being able to express your thoughts in an effective and timely manner is skill that very few people master. It’s much easier to write a letter, and email or a message because you (normally) have more than enough time to think over everything you want to say. But when it comes to live chatting, your have just a few seconds to transform your thoughts into certain sounds placed in a specific order and hope that whatever you wanted to say is understood correctly by the listener(s).
What I found is that the best way of becoming a better speaker is by reading. Yes, reading. In the past two years alone, I’ve read over 30 books. This has drastically increased both my vocabulary and my ability to use appropriate words in the correct sequence so that I come out as clearly as possible.
Now, whenever I have a discussion, I can not just use a seemingly infinite amount of words to express myself, but I can also understand anything that is being said to me. Of course, about 90% of what I read is nonfiction and even the fiction stories I read (such as The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari or The Alchemist) are also written with the purpose of teaching the reader how to grow as a person.
You may not know this (yet), but only 7% of live, face-to-face communication is verbal. The other 93% is non-verbal, which is made up of body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%). As a result, if you would like to become better at holding a presentation, your best bet is to study and practice how to improve the non-verbal side of your communication.
Just imagine me saying the following phrases, but with the accent and a specific tone of voice on different words:
- I did not say that he stole the apples.
- I did not say that HE stole the apples.
- I did not say that he stole THE APPLES.
As you can notice, the three phrases are 100% identical, BUT how you say them is MUCH more important. In the first one, it’s fairly obvious that I didn’t say that he stole the apples. In the second one, I’m communicating that HE didn’t steal the apples, but someone else DID steal them. And in the last one, HE stole something, but not the apples.
Women are naturals at noticing even the slightest differences in someone’s tone. Men on the other hand, need to learn and practice this skill even more. If you’re a man and have been in relationships before, I’m sure you’ve heard the classic: “It’s not what you said, it’s HOW you said it!”
Neurolinguistic Programing (NLP)
The part of communication that almost no one talks about, but which may very well be the most important. NLP is the skill that allows you to program yourself to become exactly how you want to become.
For example, you can go from loving cake to hating even the smell of it, from not liking the habit of reading to read a book per week and have fun doing it, or from finding it hard to work out to enjoying every second of it!
Becoming a master of NLP will help you to eliminate any belief or habit that is holding you back and will help you to make more progress in one year than most people make in five. No exaggeration. If you want to make a change in your life for the better, in the fastest possible way, pick up a book or a course on NLP and start applying!
As with any skill you want to master, the best way to increase your competency is to practice. Execute, measure, learn and repeat. The best way to become a better writer is to continually read books, learn from the best and… well… write!
At the beginning of 2014, when I decided to become the best writer I can be, I made it a daily habit to write at least 200 words. Some days I was bashing on the keyboard and would write 400 words in a matter of minutes, other days I would stare at the screen for 10 minutes before finishing my first paragraph.
Now that I know more about how to be productive, I dedicate one entire day to writing, but I learn on a daily basis, either by reading and following courses. I do not let not even one day pass by without investing into my education and growth. A habit that I warmly recommend to everyone.
As promised at the beginning of this article, after each skill I will recommend a few materials that have helped me a lot to improve that specific skill, so here are some very useful resources to become a better communicator:
Communication in general: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Writing and verbal: Just read and write a lot. This article might help.
Nonverbal: Be sure to read this awesome article and get a coach.
NLP: Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
Well, it looks like I needed an entire article to write about just one of the seven skills that I have in mind. I really hope you enjoyed it! If you would like to read about the remaining six, please be sure to sign up for our RSS feed which ONLY notifies you if there is a new post, and nothing more.
As always, thank you very, very much for your attention and I wish you a great day!
Creating a better tomorrow,