The 3-Step Process To Become A Super Communicator

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Just identify one of the three conversation types to win!

Today I want to share with you the process of turning you into a super-communicator in three easy steps. 

Why is this even important?

It matters because strong, healthy relationships are the key to: 

  • More happiness
  • Living longer
  • More financial security

Yep, the trifecta of life. Harvard researchers followed over 700 people starting in 1938 throughout their lives. 

They were looking to unlock the key to happiness. The answer turns out to be strong relationships. 

And what’s the key to forming strong relationships? Strong communication. 

Simple, right? 

Hardly. Many of us struggle with communication. We are not good at engaging with others. Even the ones we are close to. 

So if you could use a little help – ride with me here. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to super communicator status. 

My source on this topic comes from a great new book by Charles Duhigg, Supercommunicators. It’s def worth a read.

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  Let’s. Get. To. It. 

Steps to Become a Super Communicator

1. Know The 3 Types Of Conversations

Step one understand there are three basic types of conversations.  

Over the past two decades, research has found our conversations fall into one of three main categories. They are: 

  • Practical convos
  • Emotional convos 
  • Social convos

Duhigg calls them: What’s this really about? How do we feel? Who are we? 

Another way to think about them is the way teachers have been taught to help students. 

  • Do you want to be helped?   >  Practical conversation 
  • Do you want to be hugged?   >  Emotional conversation
  • Do you want to be heard?   >  Social conversation 

It’s important to understand each one because knowing what type of conversation you’re having will determine how effective your conversation will be. 

Put another way, if you don’t know what conversation is occurring – you’re NOT going to connect. 

There’s even a good possibility you will end up feeling frustrated. 

Here’s a classic example. 

You come home after a hard day. Nothing seemed to go your way. Everyone you dealt with made things worse. 

We’ve all been there!

You get home and start explaining to your partner about how bad your day was. You’re having an EMOTIONAL conversation.

Your partner hears the frustration and immediately goes into problem-solving mode. They want to help so they start suggesting steps you can take to feel better. They are in a PRACTICAL conversation mode. 

The result – as millions of couples will testify – is someone is going to get frustrated. And the likelihood a fight will start becomes almost a sure bet. (Oh, don’t I know!).

When we are not having the same conversation not only are we not connecting. 

We can’t hear or understand the other person because each type of conversation uses a different part of our brain. 

What supercommunicators do so well, is they syne with conversation types. Duhigg refers to this as the “matching principle.” 

“Effective communication requires recognizing what kind of conversation is occurring, and then matching each other. On a very basic level, if someone seems emotional, allow yourself to become emotional as well. If someone is intent on decision-making, match that focus. If they are preoccupied by social implications, reflect their fixation to them.”

No matter the direction, successful communicators are able to match and stay matched with others because they are interested in finding out what kind of conversation everyone wants to have. 

They do this by observing and listening to the person they are trying to connect with. Are they emotional? Do they seem to be in a practical mindset? Or do they keep bringing up other people or social topics? 

The start of most conversations can be the hardest part

Therefore, it’s important to start on the same track. 

A simple way to do this is by asking: What do you want to talk about? Then listen for the answer. Watch the body language and try and match the flow of the conversation. 

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2. Ask Deep Questions

Supercommunicators have a special power. They ask questions. A lot of questions. 

What’s a lot? 

Somewhere in the area of 10x more than non-supercommunicators. 

Asking questions is the great unlock to strengthing connections.

Deep questions work so well because they create intimacy. 

They get people to talk about their beliefs, their values, their feelings, and their experiences in a way that might reveal something vulnerable. 

Once that begins happening…connections are formed. 

If you’re thinking to yourself, no way am I asking deep questions. Stay with me. Because here’s the thing – 

Deep questions don’t have to be cringe. But they do go beyond getting just the facts. 

Let me give you some examples: 

  • What’s the best part of your job?
  • Why is that the best part? 
  • What’s it like to be a …..?
  • Why did you decide to get into that line of work?
  • How do you feel about…? 
  • Why do you think you got frustrated at work when….happened? 
  • Did it make you happy when…..happened? 
  • Why are you so happy today?  

What do you notice? 

The questions don’t seem so bad. It wouldn’t be hard to ask another person any of these, would it? 

And you should ask these questions. 

Not only do they solicit more of an emotional response, but research indicates we like getting these questions. They indicate a level of concern and caring that makes us feel good. Like someone is genuinely interested in us. 

But asking is only the start. So let’s get to the third and final point. 

3. Loop For Understanding

So, if deep questions are the great unlock. What happens next? 

You want to make sure we show others we’ve heard them. Duhigg labels this technique looping for understanding. 

Here’s how it works. 

  1. Ask questions to make sure you understand.
  2. Summarize what you heard. 
  3. And this is the most important part – Ask if you got it right. 

For example, let’s say you’re having a conversation with a client. You begin by asking a series of questions about their travel plans. 

  • Why are you traveling now? 
  • Is this trip tied to a special event, an anniversary, birthday? 
  • Besides wanting to have a great time, is there anything else you want to get out of this trip? 

Next, you summarize:

What I’m hearing you say is this trip is tied to your anniversary and it means a lot that you can finally get away after a very stressful year at work. 

And finally:

Do I have that right? 

This technique proves to others we are listening and we are working hard to hear them. And it’s especially helpful to use difficult conversations.

Let’s review the three steps: 

  1. Understand there are three types of conversions. Which one are you having? 
  2. Ask deep questions to get more from a conversation. 
  3. Loop for understanding.

Start using these and go from an OK communicator to a supercommunicator in no time!

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