You Can Communicate

Revealing something of yourself

When we reveal information about ourselves, we show people that we trust them by letting them into our life and allowing them to see what makes us tick. They will also feel safer about revealing something of themselves in turn. It is not necessary to reveal information which is personal and private unless you know the person well or have a specific reason for doing so. For example, you can tell somebody you don't know well about how your car lets you down on the motorway at 5 o'clock on a rainy afternoon when cars are banked up for miles behind you. But if you are feeling depressed and unable to cope with life, you would be wise to reveal this only to a close relative or friend with whom you have built up a trust relationship. The point is that self-revelation can happen in both circumstances to the degree that is wise and appropriate.

Talking about what interests the other person

If you are having difficulty communicating with a person, draw them out by getting onto a topic that interests them as quickly as possible. It doesn't take much skill to find out what interests the other person, just genuine interest and a little persistence. Most people love talking about themselves and what interests them, including their work, hobbies, family, creative activities etc.

If you really want to learn communication skills in the quickest possible time, I would recommend you to do the following exercise on a daily basis.

Practise drawing somebody out, using all four methods given. Do it for at least three minutes a day, giving that person your total concentration and attention during that time. Really practise your skill, giving it everything you've got, but still being relaxed about it. Choose a different person each day, and don't make it a close friend or family member, that's too easy. We can all talk our heads off to somebody we know and are very relaxed with. Make it a little bit difficult for yourself: choose an acquaintance, somebody you work with. Perhaps and are on `Hello nice day' terms with. Perhaps it a neighbour, or somebody you meet every morning at the bus stop. It could even be somebody you attend a class with or meet frequently at the corner shop. There are lots of ‘suitable people’ around if you care to look for them. Do this exercise daily, if you want good results; it's not nearly so effective if you just do it occasionally if you're in the mood. Remember it's the daily build-up of confidence and communication skills we're after.

I should warn you that just occasionally you may strike a person who will not respond to your friendly remarks. They probably wouldn't respond to mine either; some people have deep-seated problems that prevent them from being able to respond to others. Recognise that it's their problem and not yours, and don't lose confidence because of it. Don't stay and try to the point where you are losing confidence; if you're being given the ‘ice treatment’ withdraw after a couple of remarks. Your confidence is too hard won to lose it this way. Feel sorry that this person has such problems that they can't respond to normal friendly overtures, then forget it; put it right out of your mind and don't let it affect you.

Most people are only too willing to chat for a couple of minutes, and respond very positively to friendliness and interest. So go to it with no fears, and look forward to how much further on you're going to be in even one month's time through doing this exercise on a daily basis. You may even have made a new friend or two! You haven't got a thing to lose.

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