Talk is something you do every day. And your life is literally shaped by it. Many of the decisions you make are decided by talking. You may be in a restaurant asking a waiter for an unusual substitution, urging a service manager to get your car finished sooner rather than later, or trying to sway your significant other toward a particular film or show. Or you might be trying to build more cooperative relationships at the office.
No matter why you engage in face-to-face talk, though, there's no way to insulate yourself from the dangers of miscommunication. Your ability to use the art of talk to effectively convey who you are and to build solid relationships not only influences the success of your friendships, romantic life, and everyday encounters, but also how you experience your workplace. Studies show that using conversational skills properly in that arena makes you more productive, happier, and less stressed.
But the truth is that most of us don't understand nearly as well as we could how conversation really works, whether in the office or out of it, with both parties often having entirely different perceptions of what the words and gestures passing back and forth are meant to convey. Even more important, most of us aren't as successful as we could be in making those conversations work better for us. Even when we're more skilled at it than the average person, we often give up the opportunity to be even better, leaving a lot of potential success and happiness on the table.
Effective Communication Skills is your chance to learn more about how you communicate verbally, the common problems you can encounter in doing so, and how you can improve your own effectiveness—especially by overcoming the psychological and biological hard-wiring that too often gets in the way.
In 24 mind-opening lectures, Professor Dalton Kehoe of Canada's York University brings more than four decades of experience as an award-winning teacher, author, and successful business consultant to this exploration of what's really going in any conversation you take part in.
Learn the Techniques for Successful Communication
Building on many years of revealing research, Professor Kehoe explores the scientific foundation of communication skills and offers practical techniques for managing your reactions and speaking effectively in conflict- and tension-laden situations.
He explains the conversational roadblocks we all encounter every day—many of them driven by culturally ingrained and biological processes that operate automatically in most situations—and offers techniques for eliminating them. Each technique he teaches you has proven successful and effective in the toughest laboratories of all: the home, the workplace, and the other social arenas in which you live, work, and play.
- how early cultural learning and deeply learned patterns of reaction in our unconscious mind affect how you see, think, and feel about other people and enhance or undermine your ability to communicate effectively;
- how your sense of self develops in everyday talk during your childhood and the ways in which your subconscious is built to sustain and defend your self-esteem, shaping how you think and speak to others for the rest of your life;
- the specific styles of talking you use in most situations, including different types of control talk—the unproductive and needlessly aggressive mode that almost always dooms a conversation to a fatal downward spiral—and the more desirable alternative of dialogue talk.
You'll grasp how the latter can facilitate bridge-building even between people who may have very different views of a situation, allowing them to resolve those differences without either party feeling they've been bullied into a solution or demeaned or humiliated.
Just as important, you'll learn the basics of perhaps the most important and neglected aspect of human conversation, the art of actually listening.
Discover the Secret of Active Listening
Professor Kehoe believes that what is called active listening, when done properly, is the only aspect of the art of conversation that engages all of the ideals of effective talk. These include
- mindful attention, not only to what you're experiencing outside, but also to what you're experiencing inside, a dual focus that requires conscious effort and thus makes the listening active instead of passive;
- an appreciative mindset open to the value, situation, and contribution of the person you're talking with; and
- a willingness to meta-communicate, to draw back and observe the conversation from an objective point of view and discuss it from that perspective as needed.
While recognizing that this form of listening is indeed unnatural for many people and must be learned and practiced, Professor Kehoe believes it richly rewards anyone willing to make that commitment. That's because it is the only form of talking that helps solve problems and simultaneously enhance relationships, one of talking's most important purposes, whether at home or in the workplace.
One of the reasons it seems unusual to have to learn new ways of talking and listening is because many of our conversational habits are deeply ingrained, passed on to us culturally as we were being raised. Many others, meanwhile, are the result of biological and psychological processes that function automatically, developed as we evolved to enable us to react in situations when there simply isn't time to consciously plan a course of action, or to free up our conscious mind for other items demanding attention.
But as these lectures demonstrate again and again, as useful as these learned behaviors and automatic reactions might be under the proper circumstances, they can pose extraordinary difficulties when it comes to effective conversation. Defensive reactions developed to protect one's self-esteem, for example, are rarely helpful in settling a marital argument. And an adrenaline-fueled, "fight-or-flight" answer to a supervisor's stress-filled question rarely leads to a satisfactory workplace resolution.
Get a Solid Guide to Effective Communication
Winner of the York University Teaching Award and internationally recognized as an effective instructor by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Canada's University Affairs, Professor Kehoe has made this course a solid guide to the essentials of great communication.
One of his enduring lessons is that effective verbal communication is never as simple as you may think. Indeed, when you consider the complexities of conversation, it is a wonder that things ever work out as well as they do.
But things can work to your advantage, provided you have the knowledge and skills to communicate in the best possible way. Packed with the tools and strategies you need, Effective Communication Skills will open an extraordinary perspective on what really happens when you open your mouth to speak in order to get what you want.