Communication Skills – Part 1

December 18, 2015

Hi and welcome to this video. In this video I want to talk about communication skills because I think that communication skills are very much at the heart of everything that we do in our life.

Every day we have so many different interactions and so many different conversations with other human beings. We ask our friends, our family, our coworkers, friends and peers for help to complete projects, start new projects, go to a movie, have dinner, and plenty of other examples.

Each of these activities requires us to have conversations and get commitments and actions related to those conversations. So that’s why I believe that effective communication skills are really about mastering conversations.

Communication Skills via Coach Training

One of the best things that I did in my life was to take on coach training. The course that I took was an ICF accredited Coach Training program and it was tremendously powerful because it allowed me to view conversations in a whole new light.

One of the things that I learnt was to take a look at our communication skills in a new way. That is to say, I was given an opportunity to view my conversations as a puzzle that could be taken and teased apart. Then, the next skill was to identify all of those components that went into the conversation.

And so when I discovered and heard about the speech acts, I was thrilled. For me this was a new way and a powerful way to apply a very objective perspective onto the whole series of communication and conversation.

So what is really fascinating for me was to understand and grasp the idea that no matter what we say, in whatever language we say, and to whomever we say it to, all of our conversations and all of our words boil down to six different speech acts.

And it’s truly amazing when you consider that of all the things that we say, whether it’s email, SMS, via telephone or in person, it just comes down to one or more of the six speech acts.

Six Speech Acts To Master Communication Skills

The six speech acts are:

  • Requests
  • Offers
  • Promises
  • Assessments
  • Assertions
  • Declarations

I like to group the six speech acts into two different groups. The first group includes requests, offers, promises. This is actually my favourite group because this is how we, you and I, spend the bulk of our day in conversation with others around us.

The second group of course consists of assessments, assertions and declarations. The second group is just as vital as the first one but the first one for me is a little bit more fun.

An Example…

As you go throughout your day, what were doing is we interact with people to ask them to help us create something, an event, in our life. So for example, if you wanted to have dinner at a fancy restaurant with your spouse or partner or business colleague, you would make a request of them. That request would include certain specifics of time, date, location, restaurant and all sorts of things. And then the invited party would either respond to your offer and make a promise or commitment to that offer so that you can actually create that event for yourself.

So what I just described was a very simple conversation of “going out to dinner” which consists of all of these little, itty-bitty pieces that creates an event for you. And this event is as meaningful to you as you want it to be.

Your life, my life, our friends’ lives, are a series of events that have gotten us to where we are now. Our lives are a series of conversations that involve us asking for help to create certain situations and events in our life or offering our help and services to create situations and events in other people’s lives. And the way we interact with requests and offers are through the promises and the commitments to those requests and offers.

What Have You Learnt?

So at this moment I want to take a pause and just invite you to consider what you’ve just learnt. Do you see the incredible possibilities of categorizing your conversations into just these three speech acts?

When you have a conversation with your boss, or your spouse or partner, or your family, or your friends, do you know whether you’re actually making a request, making an offer, or making a promise in your conversation?

  • How would your life be like if you knew what exactly you are speaking?
  • Wouldn’t that improve your communication skills?
  • Wouldn’t that create a new set of conversations that you can have?
  • What possibilities do you see in your future conversations now that you know a little bit more about requests, offers and promises?

I hope this video was helpful to you. Please leave your comments and share your thoughts about this video below… I would be very grateful to you.

So take care of yourself, have a beautiful day I’ll see you soon!

P.S. Keep an eye out for my next video when I talk about the second set of speech acts.