How to Become a Natural Born Communicator

jackJack* is a natural born people person. And that makes him a natural born communicator. When you first meet him you’ll notice his calm, steady eye contact and his friendly smile. But as you begin a conversation with him, something special begins to happen. He asks a few questions until he finds something you have in common, listening with interest and respect. After listening fully to what you say, he adds pertinent comments or opinions, or tells a funny story that compliments what you said. As your conversation progresses, you move effortlessly from topic to topic, and his interest never flags. By the end of the conversation, you feel just a little smarter, a little cooler, than you did before the conversation. You feel….appreciated. And Jack does this with everyone he meets, from the smallest child to a powerful business associate, making everyone he meets feel valued.

What is Jack’s secret? Could it technique? Attitude? Charisma? All of the above? I think it’s not so much that Jack is fascinating; it’s that he makes you feel like you are fascinating. And I think we could all learn a thing or two from Jack that would help us engage in interesting and meaningful conversations.

Consider the following:

What is your intention? Are you trying to impress others, make a sale, or overwhelm them with your expertise? Try Jack’s approach; approach each conversation without an agenda, or else with an agenda of making a connection.

Are you curious? Jack is somewhat of a “renaissance man;” that is, he knows about a wide range of topics and can speak credibly on many of them. But more importantly, he is curious to learn from, and about everyone he meets. He isn’t acting interested; he really is.

Where is your attention? Are you thinking about yourself and the impression you are making? Are you looking at your watch, or looking over your listener’s shoulder to see who you could be talking to? Jack does none of these and that is why he never seems disengaged. He is into the conversation you are having, and his attention is on you.

Do you feel a sense of appreciation?  Or do you find yourself judging the person you are talking to, just a little? Sometimes we fail to find the connection and feel the person we are talking to is “boring” or not going to be of interest to us. Maybe we haven’t approached them with a sense of appreciation. That person you are talking with might be fascinating, once you find out what makes them tick. Look for the good in people, and you make them feel valued.

Whether you are in sales, accounting, customer service, marketing, engineering, teaching, training or leading others, a good part of your day is spent communicating with others. Conversations with customers, team members, bosses, colleagues, friends and family– each presents an opportunity for friction or friendliness.  Follow Jake’s lead and you too might become a natural born people person, and a natural born communicator.

*not his real name


Author Gail Zack Anderson, founder of Applause, Inc. is a Twin Cities-based consultant who provides coaching and workshops for effective presentations, facilitation skills for trainers and subject matter experts, and positive communication skills for everyone.  She can be reached at

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