Borrow this book if you have to!
Borrow the information inside of the book if you are smart!
And make it yours if you are wise!
Nido Qubein is a true American success story; a rags to riches type of guy. He is an immigrant who landed on the shores of American with only $50 in his pocket and couldn’t speak a word of English. Yet, somehow, he climbed his way to the top as someone who now has a firm grasp of the English language and has become one of the top professional speakers and seminar leaders in this country. Qubein’s central message is that no matter where you fall on the spectrum, from beginner to expert, we can all become better communicators. In addition, we can all also benefit from becoming better communicators. After all, 50% of all marriages that end fail because of a breakdown in communication. Sixty percent of work related disciplinary actions are a result of a communication breakdown. And 90% of all criminals have some kind of difficulty in communicating effectively. So if you want to speak and communicate well on the big stage, or just to the lone person next to you, or maybe you’re interested in improving your personal and work relationships while getting promoted more often, then you are going to want to pay close attention to the following strategies an tips from Nido Qubein found in this blog.
First of all, Qubein wants you to know that great communicators are not born; they are made. Becoming a great communicator is a lot of hard work. Some of our most famous orators and master communicators know how true this is, including Winston Churchill! Churchill had a speech impediment and had to work tirelessly to overcome this difficulty. Thankfully, for England and the English speaking world, he did overcome his personal challenge. Through his incredible abilities to communicate masterfully with his people he helped them get through their darkest nights when Hitler bombed them mercilessly. Churchill literally changed the course of history with his oratory skills during WWII.
Qubein says that there a five conditions we all have to be aware of if we want to become effective communicators like Churhill. First, we have to have a burning desire to succeed. Here, according to Qubein, want power becomes will power. And I like to think that will power eventually leads to skill power. The second condition is to understand the process of communicating. We talk in words, but we communicate in images. It’s really a mind re-creation as two minds send and receive images via words. The third condition is mastering basic skills like learning how to connect with an audience, convey messages in ways that they can understand, and then check for understanding. The fourth condition is practicing. Most of us are satisfied with good and thus we won’t put in the extra practice to become excellent. The final condition is patience and persistence. Growth takes time. And it’s frustrating in how long it really does take. But, regardless, one still has to be patient and eventually with enough persistence we will become great communicators.
So, now that you are aware of these conditions, how do you get people to pay attention? Well, again, according to Qubein we need to first pay attention to others and then they will pay attention to us. We need to be attentive to their needs and what they want to hear at that moment in time from us; just like Abraham Lincoln did in his short and simple, but yet profound Gettysburg Address. If we do this then we too could give a speech that people will remember. Next, we have to overcome all the completion out there that is vying for our listeners’ attention. Today we are bombarded by messages screaming to get our attention, but yet your lone voice floating out there in the middle of a sea of others has to somehow find its way through to a willing listener. Finally, if you want people to pay attention to you then you have to be interesting and interested. Don’t amble into a room and say, “I’m HERE!” Instead, confidently stroll into a room and say, “Ah, there you are!”
Alright, so now you’ve managed to get people to pay attention to you. What do you do next? Well, according to Qubein you now have to get people to feel connected to you; and that is done through these next six tactics. First, organize your thoughts before you speak or they will come out mixed up and rough sounding. Second, get right to the point. People hate walking away from a conversation confused. Third, translate what you have to say into benefits for them. Fourth, ask questions to involve the audience. Fifth, be real. Nobody wants you to be a cheap imitation of someone else. Talk about what you know. And finally, be ENTHUSIASTIC! Enthusiasm is contagious and will win many people over to your way of thinking.
Qubein’s book is filled with a myriad of advice on communicating effectively. Obviously, there are way too many ways to communicate presented in his book for me to include in this blog, but let me at least mention a few more here in closing. Good communicators often repeat what they said. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage of tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. And then tell them what you’ve told them. Next, talk through images. We think in pictures not words. Use stories. Even one of our greatest communicators, Abraham Lincoln started off with a story about a nation struggling to find its identity in one of our most remembered speeches of all time, the Gettysburg Address. Remember that most people don’t communicate well because they are instead participating in monologues in duet. Sadly, both are thinking about what they want to say next instead of truly listening. Active listening is vitally important. And our success in winning others over to our way of thinking is in direct proportion to how well we actively and perceptively listen to others. Enjoy the book. I know I did!
Daniel Blanchard is the author of the teen leadership book series, Granddaddy’s Secrets.
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