how to improve your communication skills

#54: How to improve your communication skills

How did Miruna end up in communication?

After coming to Belgium from Romania when Miruna was 20, she studied at ULB in Brussels and got the equivalent of a law degree. She then moved on to work in several large companies. At one time, she was part of a large project, involving departments and organizations all around the globe. She was in charge of the communication part of the project and at that point, she had completely fallen in love with it. After having learned a lot working on the project, she decided to do a master’s degree and started working in marketing as a content manager. Since then, she has developed a communication course to share her knowledge and show people that communication is, like she says, everything.

Miruna has taken a lot of theatre classes and implements the knowledge she got from them in her communication. In theatre, you experiment with emotions, with your body and your head at the same time. And experimenting is a whole other thing than identifying your own behaviors and emotions, without doing anything about it.

The psychology of communication

Communication isn’t always about communication. Whaaaat?

Let me explain.

In order to improve your communication and communicate properly, you have to look past the context of words and interaction, but take a deeper look at yourself. Communication is continuous, it simply doesn’t stop. It starts when you wake up in the morning. The first thoughts you have, are a form of communication to yourself. We are dependent on communication to act and react to the world around us. If you are kind to yourself and get to know yourself better, you can apply the same principle to others. If you are telling a story or delivering an important message to someone, your story has to be aligned with your body and your emotions. If that isn’t the case, the message will not come across effectively. That is why you need to dig deep into yourself and find what you really want and who you really are, to be authentic. Secondly, when you are delivering a message, you need to look at the other person as well. Who is the person you are trying to reach? How do they usually react to this type of communication? So before talking to them, realize who you’re talking to and adapt your communication to that person in order to better get your message across.

External and internal filters

Everything that is communicated is susceptible to interpretation. Our brain has to make an interpretation of what it perceives in order to get some sense out of it. What most people do not realize though, is that every interpretation is filtered before it gets to their brain. Miruna identified two types of filters. Firstly, you have external filters. This is everything we experience around us: societal rules, politics, social context, etc. Everyone is a subject of these filters and we can rarely escape from them. However, things become more interesting as we start to look at the internal filters. These filters exist in your own body and are a manifestation of everything you have been through your self-image, traumas, and other past experiences. 

As Miruna said, this filters all the communication you get, making it hard to perceive in another way. The key to communication is to look deep inside of yourself and identify your own filters. If you succeed in facing this, you can interpret communication in its purest form. If you succeed in learning your filters, you can also better understand the ones from the person you’re talking to.

Cultural differences in communication

Culture is a very, very hard word to define. In fact, try to define it yourself and see what you can come up with. After that, you can check your answer on different websites and interpret their definitions. The time of birth, being a parent or not, having a political or religious conviction, it all matters when you are speaking about culture. Even when you work in the same company, in the same city, everyone is still very different from each other. That’s why it is so essential to learn to communicate with people from different cultures. You cannot expect people to step out of their cultural habits to fit your way of working, because that will cause a lot of friction. So try to be curious! Learn how certain people think and feel because, in the end, that knowledge will help your communication skills tremendously. 

How should you start improving your communication skills?

I asked this question to Miruna because of course, she has a lot of expertise in this particular area. Warning: here comes a cliché… It all starts with yourself. Look at the way you communicate in a certain situation. What tone of voice do you use? Do you make a lot of gestures? When do you speak up to say something? How do you choose your words? If you want to improve your communication, identify why you communicate the way you do, and that means digging deep into yourself. So that you can align what you say with who you are. The authenticity that you emit will make you way more convincing and will improve your communication!

If you want to learn more about Miruna or her course on communication, be sure to check out the link in the show notes! I will see you in the next podcast!

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