Communication Skills: A Quick Start

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

Here is the easy way to learn about Communication skills without going through a 300+ pages book which, one can forget about before he finishes it

Always start with an Intention:

Anything we start, including communication skills, usually has reason and a starting point. While we become conscious about this fact for the obvious things like brushing our teeth to avoid tooth decay, we forget to give the same importance to our communication. We start talking, go through all the niceties and then some how stumble upon the reason for conversation or make it up by that time.

The problem with this approach is that the message looses its power. If you keep doing this often, you loose the power to bring it to work when needed. As a soldier polishes and keeps his guns fit even during peacetime, we have to keep our arsenal of communication skills handy to use, when required.

Develop flexibility in language and in approach:

Most people will think being flexible means using all the words in the Dictionary. Having a good vocabulary does not mean that people have to run for a dictionary every time you speak. Instead, a good vocabulary means that you have created enough choices and variety in your language to suit the listening or reading requirements of many people.

Flexibility is also needed in your approach to communication. Developing more than one approach is really good. If your style of approaching women is the Nice Guy, try the cocky and funny approach. See how that works. One more area that we can change and notice the results very quickly is by modulating our voice. Here is quick exercise to learn how to modulate your voice. Practice speaking a Para in a British accent. Do your best to be British. If you find it hard watch BBC and imitate them. Next, try sounding American and then French or Chinese (speaking in English).

Once you have done at least 4 accents, switch between them as often as possible, in practice. After you do this for a while, notice how you naturally are modulating your voice and how you find it easy to choose from different tones and tonality. More about this, on my website.

One Caution: Please do not measure any new skill by the initial response you get because, all new skills need to be naturalized before it becomes effective. (

As you develop flexibility, you will find yourself more comfortable to live with and then others will also find you comfortable to be with.

Forget techniques and learn the principles:

A lot of managers are fond of using something called a Sandwich technique. It is situation where you slip in a negative comment or feedback layered in between two positive comments. It is a good technique no doubt. But if you repeat it to the same old staff for 2 years, it means you are not capable of innovating. People get conditioned to any one particular behavior over time and so the technique looses its impact.

We all have a favorite way of reacting to situations. We gather these techniques by experience and by learning from others. What we eventually forget is that they are just techniques, and are replaceable. Something like software programs which almost always gets replaced by a better version. But since it works so well to us, we get possessive about it and find our selves bound by it. It becomes difficult to break that mould. A person in a mould is like a frog in the well. He has limited reach and limited awareness.

Using techniques is like giving a fish to the hungry man while understanding the principles is like teaching him fishing. So, instead of getting all cluttered up with techniques understand the principles driving them. You will find many on my website. (See

So to be the survivor of the fittest in the field of communication skills, always start with an intention in your mind. Once you master this, your level of influence will increase rapidly. Take away your focus on techniques and learn the principles. This way you tap the source of power itself rather than a branch. The last and most importantly, develop flexibility in your language and approach. It will maximize your capacity to reach your audience and thus your power.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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