Think back! Was it ever hard for you to talk to someone? Who was that and when did it happen? Do you remember why you found it so hard? Have you thought about how others might be perceiving you and the possibility that they might find it difficult to talk to you?
There are many reasons why some people seem to be unapproachable or just not easy to talk to. Sometimes it’s simply the result of our culture where there are so many more ways to communicate and things happen very quickly. Everyone seems to be communicating “on the fly.”
When there is something important to talk about, everyone wants to be heard and understood. Unpredictability puts people on guard, therefore, it’s important to know what kind of response to expect from others.
It’s also possible that we are not even aware of exhibiting off-putting behavior. Whatever the reasons, there are steps that we can take to encourage others to talk with us. The ability to draw people to us instead of “scaring” them away is critical in both our personal and professional lives.
Here are some useful tips to help ensure people’s ease in talking with you.
• Make yourself available whenever possible. It’s not always easy to make time for others, but it’s key to nurturing relationships with your co-workers, your spouse and children, friends, new clients, and others.
• Take phone calls. It is one way to show that you are interested. Email conversations are not always an effective way to communicate and unless you’re setting a time for a lunch date, neither is texting. Hearing the tone of someone’s voice is often telling and can offer reassurance.
• Pay attention to what the other person is saying. Don’t look at papers or check your smart phone. If you’re having the conversation in person, just have the conversation.
Even during a phone conversation, we can often easy to tell when the person at the other end is distracted.
• Give verbal feedback by expressing genuine interest, care or concern about what someone is saying. Something as simple as nodding your head can show that you are paying attention.
• Be aware of non-verbal cues and respond accordingly. Is the person making eye contact, smiling, nodding, leaning forward, looking interested, sitting or standing with an open posture.
Remember that when you listen to others, you don’t have to agree with what they are saying. However, you do need to acknowledge their right to opinions and feelings. In any relationship, easy communication brings with it many rewards.