Communication and being able to articulate myself in the way that I have wanted to has been a growing challenge that I’ve realised over the last 6 to 12 months. I often use filler words, such as ‘hmm’ or ‘umm’ to bring space so I can think about what I want to say next and how to say it – maybe this is me overthinking, but it’s a natural part of my communication style that I’ve learned and am consciously working on.
This episode alone, was a game-changer for me as I welcomed and got to speak to Brenden Kumarasamy who is a communication coach, and shared valuable insights on how to become an exceptional communicator. He delves into what is effective communication and provides us with practical tips and strategies for how to improve our speaking and listening skills.
Brenden starts by explaining how communication starts with listening and acknowledges how this is a challenge for most people. Listening goes beyond just what you hear and is a full-body experience. There are levels to listening but with the lack of practical tips available to help people become better listeners, many never do!
One of the concepts that Brenden introduces is questions versus statements, which highlights the importance of asking more questions in conversations, rather than blank statements and expecting a response. By shifting our focus from making statements to asking questions, we can engage in more meaningful discussions.
To illustrate the power of questions, Brenden offers a fun exercise that can radically improve communication and listening skills. He suggests making a list of three people you love and respect the most, and then having a one-to-one goal call with each of them. During the call, the goal is to share a goal or project that you’re currently working on with the other person to ask questions, take notes, and restate what they’ve heard without giving advice. Then, vice versa. This exercise allows us to practice active listening and shows the value of asking open-ended questions to deepen our understanding of others.
Brenden also addresses the challenge of navigating relationships where questions may be perceived negatively. He suggests starting with easy relationships, such as those with close friends or family members who share our enthusiasm for personal growth. By establishing trust and understanding, we can gradually grow our communication skills to more challenging relationships.
We also discuss the importance of effective boundary communication in relationships. Brenden highlights the need to clarify our boundaries and communicate them in a respectful and open manner. Brenden suggests starting with simple boundaries and then gradually progressing. He shares the significance of reciprocity in relationships, where both parties respect and support each other’s boundaries. This is a challenge that I’ve faced myself, as I’m sure many people do, and these simple tips have helped massively. Every day, I’m learning to key to our relationships is effective communication – only if we were taught this in school 🙄
Towards the end of my time with Brenden, he poses a thought-provoking question: How would our lives change if we became exceptional communicators? He encourages us to consider the broader impact of communication on all categories of life, such as parenting, friendships, career, and personal growth and leaves with us a powerful message that by becoming skilled communicators, we can enhance the quality of our relationships thus improving our entire lives.
If you would like to continue learning from Brenden, you can check out his YouTube channel, “MasterTalk,” where he provides hundreds of free videos on public speaking. Additionally, Brenden offers free communication workshops over Zoom, providing an opportunity to apply the tips and techniques discussed in this episode. Click here for more details.