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Old 03-30-2009, 07:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
Location: My head.
Communication and getting your message across.

OK. So, this thread is not quite the same because I never quite got >>(read understood) what was being discussed. Where as that thread dealt with being direct as an ideal method of expression I look at another way of communication. The process of conviction.

Basically this is the question I pose to you TFPer's. How exactly did you get and maintained your conversational skills as well as your ability to put across an argument concisely and simply without confusing others.

I had a math teacher in high school who had a terrible accent due to his mother toungue dialect. He was, however, a very good teacher who was capable of breaking down algebra and calculus to everyone with ease. Getting past the point of trying to understand what he's trying to say, once you actually listened to him, his explanations would unfold beautifully. Needless to say, he was a smart man.

How the heck did he do it?

I am trying to learn how to explain things to people. You know, technical stuff. People say patience is required. But I have to say, patience can run thin after 3 seconds when you learn that the person you are trying to explain something to is intimidated by his television set or his cell phone.

That is question number one. Number two is, how do you get an argument to be clear and straight to the point so that the person on the receiving end doesn't just try to shut it down but instead consider things from your point of view? I lack severly when it comes to creating analogies. I can't make a good comparison to save my life. I'll explain.

I live alone because I like leaving things lying around. Money for instance. So when I leave it on the counter top at night I want it there in the morning. I very much think this is very reasonable. All things considered you don't wanna live with thieves. I however couldn't justify this particular desire (**screams** FOR THE LOVE OF ME) when someone said to me "your too careless to leave money lying around." I mean, ... realy? We can't trust people we live with now? This reduced me to a sputterring idiot and I'm not known for stammering at all.

That said. When practicality is presented at little or no cost (Like not stealing motherf***ers!!) I am unable to make the proper argument suitable to frame my perspective. I think additional english classes are due.

So, teachers, group members, supervisors, managers and TFP at large ...

a) Where did you learn your communicational skills?

b) How/Where do you practice them?

c) Teach me the art of analogies
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
I have eaten the slaw
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Number two is, how do you get an argument to be clear and straight to the point so that the person on the receiving end doesn't just try to shut it down but instead consider things from your point of view?
This depends heavily on your listener. The first thing to do is listen to what they're saying. This will give you a good idea of what their perspective is, and (if applicable) what kind of fallacies they're operating under. Then you can direct your message to their assumption, rather than talking about a different area that will be viewed in a skewed manner because of their different (perhaps flawed) perspective, or viewed as beside the point.

For example, let's say you're asked to describe how a telephone sends someone's voice across the country. You might be describing how satellites relay the signal, when the other person is really wondering how sound moving through the air turns into an electric signal. By asking a few questions about what the person means or understands, you can save a lot of unnecessary difficulty.

Also, this asking and listening tends to affect someone's mood. People are more receptive to your ideas when they feel that you're listening to and understanding them. Your tone of voice influences this as well; getting frustrated and angry changes the tone of your voice, which in turn tends to make the other person less receptive and more difficult. In your money example, the other person calling you careless impeded the discussion by surprising/shocking/offending you. It was, perhaps, a poor choice of words. It also indicates a difference in perspective that should have prompted you to investigate their point of view. I suspect that while your point of view was "leaving money lying around is convenient, at the minor cost of not stealing" their pov was "the minor cost of putting your money in a more secure place protects you from loss and theft". From this understanding of different perspectives you can move to a more productive discussion about the relative merits of each side, provided everyone can keep their emotions in check.
And you believe Bush and the liberals and divorced parents and gays and blacks and the Christian right and fossil fuels and Xbox are all to blame, meanwhile you yourselves create an ad where your kid hits you in the head with a baseball and you don't understand the message that the problem is you.
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
Location: My head.
Thanks inBOIL.

It's amazing how common sense like asking "Have I lost you?" I have missed.

And why aren't the teachers, managers and the self employed alike, responding?
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Old 04-01-2009, 04:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
ring's Avatar
Location: ❤
This particular Dummies book is not as fluffy as some of the other Dummies books.
I don't know if they are available where you live.

...oh, and I am not calling you a dummy,
so we are clear on that, right?

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Old 04-01-2009, 01:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
Location: USA
I am a big fan of the "How to Win Friends and Influence People" book written years ago by Dale Carnegie. I found a great summary on Wikipedia (copied below), but strongly encourage anyone who is interested to read the book. It all sounds way too obvious out of context. My biggest takeaway...you persuade people far more easily by listening to them than by talking.

Trust me. Read the book. It is short and very helpful.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You
Become genuinely interested in other people.
Remember that a man's Name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Talk in the terms of the other man's interest.
Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
Avoid arguments.
Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Begin in a friendly way.
Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
Let the other person do the talking.
Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
Sympathize with the other person.
Appeal to noble motives.
Dramatize your ideas.
Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to other people's mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes first.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise every improvement.
Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
Tilted Cat Head
Cynthetiq's Avatar
Location: Manhattan, NY
excellent Hamic!

those are excellent points, and an excellent book.

I have a PDF version somewhere and it used to be on my PDA.

here's the simplest thing I can say, don't use jargon or big $5 words. The most effective communicators I have ever listened to or read used simple but eloquent speech.
I don't care if you are black, white, purple, green, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, hippie, cop, bum, admin, user, English, Irish, French, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, indian, cowboy, tall, short, fat, skinny, emo, punk, mod, rocker, straight, gay, lesbian, jock, nerd, geek, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, driver, pedestrian, or bicyclist, either you're an asshole or you're not.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
That's a pretty good list, I think I'll save that Hami.

Really know your audience/who your speaking to, that's key.

As for analogies, take something you really enjoy and compare it. I don't really have a method for this, these ideas just kind of come as I'm speaking.

I'd say I learned my communication skills mostly from schooling, socializing and breaking down conversations and their meanings between myself and other people.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
Knight of the Old Republic
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Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Great list HamiC!!!!!!
"A Darwinian attacks his theory, seeking to find flaws. An ID believer defends his theory, seeking to conceal flaws." -Roger Ebert
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communication, message

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