The great deception of communication is that we don’t have to worry about it because we do it all the time.* This complacency leads to damaging problems: we wing it through important conversations pulling our responses out of thin air, we say what we feel even if it sabotages our long-term goals or our underlying relationships, and we accumulate bad communication habits that ricochet through our conversations causing trouble with each encounter.

The good news is that our communication is eminently adaptable—just think of how much variance there is between the way you talk with your boss and the way you talk with your best friend. And the great news is a small change in your communication can have a big impact in your life.

It’s easier than you think to improve your communication. It only takes a pause of a second or two before talking to engage the thoughtful side of your brain and to consider the impact of your words on the other person. Although you can’t always control how you feel, you can always control your words. And when you control your words, you’ll have a much better chance of having the kinds of productive and meaningful interactions that you desire.

Good communication = good relationships = good life. Happy New Year.

Question: How will you improve your communication in 2014? Please leave a comment below to continue the discussion.

For a great communication improvement how-to book, buy a copy of Stop Talking, Start Communicating. Autographed copies are available online through Brace Books.

*John Daly at UT taught me to think about communication like this.

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