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The 5 Golden Rules of Communication

You say more than thousands of words every day, but are you always conscious about the meaning of these words? Do you really accomplish what you want with these words? Communication is very important in daily life. Especially if you want to convince someone of something. But what is the best way to do this?

To get more insight in how to communicate better, we first have to look at the ‘bigger picture’. There exists a ‘reality’ which is stable, it is the way it is. But everyone has a different perspective on this ‘reality’. This is because of a personal filter. This filter originates from influencing factors like culture, friends, colleagues, interests and context.

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A lot of people are unaware of their filter, but we can use this for being in charge of the conversation. Now that we know this, we can focus on the five golden rules of communication.

1. Ask open questions
Most people are unaware of their personal filter. When you start a conversation with someone, you need to dive into their filter to find out what someone’s opinion is about the subject that is discussed. To get their own opinion you have to ask open questions. This way you get the most information as possible.

2. Enhance the positive
While asking open question you will get insights into the perception of the other person. Within this perception we can distinguish positive and negative feelings. At this point it is important to ask more questions about the positive. This way, you let the other person unconsciously think more about these positive sides, which makes the positive sides even bigger.

3. Turn the negative into the positive
People tend to focus on the negative. When you encounter a negative opinion, do not deny it. If it is really true, admit it and after that ask an open question to turn this negative opinion into a positive one.

4. Customer is king
It is important to follow the subject the customer wants to talk about. Let the customer talk about what interests him or her and go along with this conversation before you start talking about your own goal. For example, if the customer wants to talk about Japan, just talk about Japan, even if you want to sell your product. In addition, a convenient tip is to say ‘yes, and’ instead of ‘yes, but’. With ‘yes, and’ you show that you understand, whereas ‘yes, but’ will just start a discussion.

5. The power of silence
When you are listening to people you have to be truly interested and listen actively. People tend to think they already know what the other person wants to say, and they want to talk themselves. If you want to get all information, you have to listen until the other person is done talking. If you ask a good question, there can be a silence and that is okay because the other person will probably fill this silence. For example, with price-negotiation, when the price is too high just answer with: “okay”. The other person will probably come up with another proposal that’s a bit higher than they were intended to.