Very few people have the natural ability to communicate effectively. For most of us, it takes a lot of practice, patience, and thoughtfulness to become truly capable of conversing like a master. Developing this valuable skill is a major challenge for many people, but it is never impossible.

You can become an excellent communicator no matter how different your beliefs, values, experiences and upbringing are. I truly believe there is no limit to the ways you can improve yourself if you’re willing and able to put in enough time and effort.

How do you develop your conversational prowess?

Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mastering the art of conversation, but I have these basic tips to help you get started.

First, be as straightforward as possible. Beating around the bush can blur the message you want to convey, so be succinct and direct.

Second, know your audience. To deliver the right message in a way that doesn’t invite confusion or misinterpretation, you need to know where your audience is coming from.

Third, determine your objective. Your approach will vary depending on what you want to accomplish. If you have a clear view of your objective, you can evaluate your words, tailor your approach, and get your point across.

Fourth, understand the medium. While most of our day-to-day conversation is face-to-face, we often find ourselves relying on a wide range of mediums to converse with friends, family, and colleagues. Whether you’re using SMS, email or social media, it’s important to know how to maximise the medium.

How do you achieve all of the above?

The answer is PTC or present-time consciousness. Making sure you’re mentally present with the person you’re talking to is the main ingredient to proper communication and good relationships. Mastering this ability will not only enable you to communicate more effectively and ensure that you’re conveying the right message. It will also put you a step closer towards achieving personal empowerment.

How can you obtain PTC and become totally present and conscious in all your communications?

Your breath is the key. When you find yourself in stressful circumstances and feel like you’re not in control, find your breath, and focus on stimulating your parasympathetic instead of the sympathetic nervous system. Paying attention to your breathing pattern will help you relax and enable you to communicate with a higher degree of control. Present-time consciousness is indeed powerful.