2 Simple Skills To Supercharge Your COMMUNICATION

Discover the keys to making a quantum leap in communication that delivers results in every area of your life.

86% of employees and executives cite ineffective communication for workplace failures

Why should those numbers alarm you?

Because they make one thing abundantly clear - communication is a fundamentally important skill for any kind of success in life.

Yet it’s an area a staggering number of people still struggle with.

Thankfully, it’s a subject where some simple adjustments can make a remarkable difference in terms of positive outcomes.
We’ve put together the two most effective strategies for improving communication to share with you. They come from Paul Blackburn, world leader in the personal growth and mindset field, and stem from decades worth of coaching, instructing and courses on reaching your true potential.

Implement these two simple strategies and you’ll supercharge your communication, regardless of who you’re interacting with.


1. Listening

While around 85 per cent of our knowledge is gleaned from listening, the International Listening Association suggests that we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful 75 percent of the time. We can usually only recall half of what a person has told us immediately after hearing it. After time passes, it is reduced to 20 percent.

We can all listen, so why don’t we do it effectively?

When we converse with another person, we tend to think that we are having a dialogue – one to another. But in reality, we are often having two parallel monologues in opposite directions. Most people don’t listen with the intention of understanding the other person; we usually listen with the intent to reply.

One of the first things any successful communicator learns is truly to listen to what other people are saying. When people notice how well we listen to them, they usually reciprocate and try to understand us better. Relationships improve. Friendships develop and deepen. Interacting with other people becomes rewarding.

65% of people surveyed cite communication problems communication problems as the most common factor leading to divorce divorce

What’s more, we receive more accurate information. When we’re listening carefully, we’ll find people are inclined to give us the whole story. And we can discover not only what people are saying, but also why they are saying it. We learn more about what is really going on “between the lines”.

It’s important to remember that people cannot always serve their spoken messages to us in neat, organised packages. We need to learn to extract the main ideas from among the other points. To do this, we must be listening actively or we miss things. Try to listen for key “themes”. Watch body language and facial expressions. Think about the meaning behind words. Facts, data and examples are sometimes added only to support the main topic, which might be non-factual (for instance, how others feel about a controversial issue).

All of us get distracted at times. But a good listener gets back on track and asks questions when things aren’t clear.

A good listener guards against the prejudices, closed-minded opinions, defences and fears of being wrong, which prevent us from hearing what is said.

Good listeners check what they hear against their knowledge of the situation and human nature. Consider asking: “How is the talker feeling and thinking about himself?” or “How does she see the world?”

So, how can you improve your listening skills? The answer is not rocket science – just some good common sense and a great deal of discipline.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Know why you are listening. If you don’t know why you are listening, you won’t gain as much from communicating as you would if you have a definite purpose in mind.
  • Listen with your whole body. Active listening involves you physically and mentally. Read the sender’s body movements, and exchange non-verbal feedback. Look directly at the sender, express interest with your face, eyes and hands.
  • Give feedback; respond to the person. The best listening also involves talking, as you respond verbally to what you hear. If you agree, say so, don’t leave the other person guessing. Seek further information by asking questions like: “what happened next?” or “what do you think your options are?”
  • Show empathy. Make it clear that you understand the other person’s point of view, even if you do not agree with it. Active listening requires sensitive judgement about when people want to talk and when they don’t. Use one ear to listen to meaning and the other to listen to feelings (like reading between the lines). Remember, words often mask real feelings. 

Truly listening is more than hearing the speaker’s words – it is understanding and accepting the other person’s message and his or her situation and feelings. The Sioux Indians have an expression for this. They call it “walking a mile in another person’s moccasins”. This is more commonly known as empathy the other key to communicating well.

8 out of 10 people rate their own communication as
average or below average

2. Empathy

The Oxford Dictionary defines empathy as, “understanding so intimate that feelings, thoughts and motives of one person are readily comprehended by the other.” In other words, empathy means listening so intently and identifying so closely that you experience the other person’s situation, thoughts and emotions. It’s the ability to sense how others are feeling without them saying so.

Empathy means being aware of, understanding and accepting the feelings and needs of others. The empathetic person has a sensitive and accurate understanding of (without having to agree with) how another person may be feeling, while maintaining a certain separateness and distance from them.

Empathy allows us to understand what has contributed to or triggered those feelings. The empathetic person will also communicate with others in an accepting and understanding manner.

Empathy is a fundamental social competence vital to work and social life. Empathetic individuals understand when it is time to say more, or when it is time to pull back. They can read signals well and therefore their timing is usually accurate.

of people believe

effective communication effective communication

is extremely important

To better communicate, we must also try to see ourselves through the eyes of others in the communication link. By developing some empathy with the people to whom we will be directing our message, we might recognise the need to modify our message from time to time before sending it.

Individuals who successfully practice empathy have learned which strategies and tactics to use with various types of people, knowing that no two are alike. They can modify their approach to suit anyone. They are good at reading signals – clues about when the boss is not happy or clues to encourage others to ‘tell more’. This ability means that they can work, socialise and relate effectively with others, always seeking out the most advantageous route for success.

So, how can you improve your empathy?

Like most things, empathy can be learned. But to do this, it must be understood and then practiced. Here are some ways you can start to develop your empathy skills:

  • Learn to look for signals. Read body language and listen to tone of voice. Learn to read between the lines when someone is talking. Try to detect incongruence between what people are saying (words) and how they are expressing themselves (body language).
  • Listen to understand: not with the intent to reply. Use all of your senses, not just your ears. After listening, ask questions of others to ensure that you understand exactly what they are saying.
  • Wait before you give advice. Avoid giving solutions before you fully understand the person’s situation, motives and expectations.
  • Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Step out of your shoes and try to consider the situation from the other person’s perspective. Before jumping in with your opinions, reflect on why this person may be feeling the way they do.
  • Show you care. Actively demonstrate concern for those around you. Watch how this affects them, how they react to your concern and how it makes you feel in return.
  • Become a student of empathy. Watch for how others demonstrate empathy and consider how you feel when others show empathy towards you.

81% of recruiters identify interpersonal skills as more important than any other type of skill

Learning to be more empathetic requires a conscious decision to listen and learn from others. We intuitively know what empathy is, but we often fail to show it because we are too busy trying to ensure our views get heard.

By consciously focusing on other people you’ll improve your ability to understand others, and in turn they will become more willing to understand you.

Your communication skills will improve in leaps and bounds if you simply make an effort to consistently practice the two great keys to communication – listening and empathy!

People will most likely
forget what you say,
but they will  never forget
how you make them feel.

People will most likely
forget what you say,
but they will  never forget
how you make them feel.

People will most likely
forget what you say,
but they will  never forget
how you make them feel.




"I’ve been trying to listen more actively since I found this article - I can’t believe the difference it has made! I pick up on so much more than I used to, my relationship is better and my interactions with my workmates have improved too.”

Alora smiling at camera
Brussels, Belgium


"I had no idea it could be so simple to improve my communication! I’ve applied the strategies from Quantum Orange and my relationship has already improved!"

Kaye looking at camera
Perth, Australia


“I always felt like people didn’t understand me, but since I started using the skills above my family life is so much better! I feel heard and understood for the first time in years and my wife says she does too.” 

Nicholas with his wife smiling at camera
Gold Coast, Australia