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Brush up on your communication skills!

Technology has made communication faster and easier, but it has done nothing to alter the quality of human interactions.

Communication competency, however, may soon become one of the most in-demand job skills. As automation progresses, robots will be able to perform an increasing number of job tasks – but they are unlikely to overtake humans in being personable. While working alongside intelligent machines, the ability to establish strong rapport with customers, patients, or co-workers will become all the more important.

Besides, who doesn’t want to make a powerful first impression when meeting new people at a dinner party, have a meaningful conversation with their teenage child, or enrapture an audience when giving a presentation?

The good news is that effective communication is a learned skill.

Internationally renowned communications expert Leil Lowndes has compiled a whopping 92 tips and tricks in her book: How to Talk to Anyone that will help you speak effectively, exude charisma, and win people over.

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Among her take-aways:

–      Mind your body language– maintaining perfect eye contact and pivoting directly toward the people you are talking will show them that they have your undivided attention.

–      Get a sense of the other person’s mood– before talking, gauge the mood of the other person and try to match it.

–      Provoke “sensations of similarity”– people will accept you as one of them if you subtly match their body movements and speaking style.

–      Praise, don’t flatter– a more discreet way of praising someone is voicing your compliment to that person’s closest associate.

–      Come prepared – Before joining a function or social gathering, find out who will be there and for what purpose.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Leil Lowndes

The noted philosopher and academic Mortimer J. Adler echoes some of Lowndes’ advice in his classic communication guidebook How to Speak, How to ListenHe draws on the wisdom of some of the great thinkers of ancient Rome and Greece, who considered rhetoric an essential component of a well-rounded education.

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Fast-forward to today, and communication, in the classic sense, has become a lost art – email and social media notwithstanding. So before sending that next tweet or checking your Facebook account, pick up a communications guidebook – and put its valuable lessons to use.

“Human beings cannot form a community or share in a common life without communicating with one another.” Mortimer J. Adler

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