Secrets to successful communication that you did not know
There are secrets to successful communication that you may not know about. Communication is an essential part of being human, yet we often do not get it right. It is so much more than just saying a few words. And that is why it is so difficult in many ways. Our interactions take place on many levels. Sometimes we miss out on some of the meanings and implications. And that is when things can go wrong!
So, let us first find out what exactly communication is.
What is successful communication?
It can be described as the successful sharing of ideas and feelings through speaking, writing, and other means. Other ways may include phone calls and text messages, emails, social media, video, radio, and TV. We talk to each other every day, and it seems like a simple act. But successful communication is very complex. The reason is that a range of things can influence it.
So, after all this, you may wonder why successful communication is so important.
Why is successful communication important?
When communication is not clear, it can lead to significant misunderstandings. Often disagreements and quarrels destroy a relationship, and the problem typically lies in failed communication. It does not only go for personal relationships, but it can be a severe problem in the workplace.
You have a “sender” and a “receiver” during communication. For successful interaction, both must operate on the same frequency. It reminds me of 2-way radios. When you speak into the microphone, the diaphragm picks up your voice. As a result, the movement of a small magnet in a coil creates an electrical signal. It effectively encodes the sound of your voice into a radio frequency. This frequency is transmitted through the antenna. The other radio receives the transmission with its antenna. The signal is then decoded back to your voice again, and the receiving person can hear you through the speaker.
Now you can see that a few things can go wrong during this process. One huge problem will be if the two radios do not operate on the same radio frequency. In the same way, our culture, previous experiences, or emotions can place us on a different frequency. When this happens, we may miss the original message completely.
So, our culture, place, feelings, and medium of communication all influence the success of the communication. Mostly, we are not even aware of these effects. Therefore we cannot take it into account in our interactions.
So, let us look at what we need for effective communication.
What is effective communication?
Effective communications are based on two elements: a speaker and a listener. And both are equally important in the process. Also, remember that communication does not only refer to what and how you speak (verbal communication). It also refers to your body’s message (non-verbal communication). And in both verbal and non-verbal communication, there is a speaker and a listener.
So, let us look at the role and responsibility of the speaker. The speaker’s part is to articulate her message so that she honestly says what she means. Sometimes you may say one thing but tell another. When your partner asks you what is wrong, you may say “Nothing,” but your body language reveals something different. That is not honest communication. Instead, it is an example of mixed and confusing messages. Rather say something like, “I cannot talk about it now. Can we discuss it later?”.
The listener also has an important role and responsibility. You must listen and understand without allowing thoughts and feelings to distract you. Do not think in advance about an excellent answer to the message, but make sure that you know the true meaning. You can ask questions like “Do I understand you correctly?” or “Is this what you mean?”.
What makes this process complicated is that both participants constantly and instinctively switch between the roles of speaker and listener. And if there is even one misinterpretation, the whole interaction can be skewed.
So, successful communication is a delicate balancing act of talking and listening between the participants. And it is understandable why it so often goes wrong.
The secrets to successful communication
So, what are the secrets to successful communication? The first thing to remember is that you are responsible for your part of the interaction. And although you cannot change how another person will react, you can do much to make the exchange more straightforward and comfortable. Your attitude towards the people you interact with can make all the difference. The following may help in your approach to people.
Respecting someone will change the way you think and act towards that person. A person will sense it through how you conduct yourself towards them. Showing respect will empower the person to be honest and sincere.
When you show empathy, it means that you care. It is much easier to be open and candid when you know that a person cares about you.
Honesty shows integrity. It means that you are true to yourself and can be trusted because you are dependable. It will be much easier to communicate with you in truth and sincerity when you show seriousness.
Self-awareness is an essential skill. It allows you to know what you think, feel, and do. The following are examples:
Awareness of feelings enables you to manage your emotions.
When you know your body, you can control your non-verbal messages. Likewise, you can manage your tone of voice or make eye contact. It is said that 93% of all communication is nonverbal.
Being aware of your stress levels allows you to destress timeously.
Being conscious that you are judging a person lets you rethink your views about a situation.
Humor is a clever way to help people relax and reduce tension. It makes communication much more effortless!
Being able to recognize the barriers to communication can also help you to communicate more successfully. So, let us investigate the communication barriers.
What are barriers to successful communication?
It refers to the factors that can interrupt and obstruct interactions between people. The following are essential aspects that can act as a barrier.
Physical barriers include noise, environment, inadequate internet, or unsatisfactory phone connections. Physical disabilities like hearing impairment and blindness may also harm interactions.
Language can be a huge stumbling block in communication. Each language has its nuances, and if you are not competent in a language, you may miss important messages.
Each culture has its values and codes of conduct. When you are not sensitive and respectful, your interactions will be fruitless.
Gender differences may be a critical barrier. Stereotypes and implicit gender roles can cause harmful interactions.
Different generations prefer to use diverse communication methods. Baby Boomers and Millennials both prefer face-to-face communication. But Baby Boomers prefer to phone while Millennials would text through their smartphones.
Not listening, interruptions, or talking too much can be lethal for good communication.
Body language is a nonverbal cue that can detract from your credibility. It includes your posture, facial expressions, and gestures. You may not even be aware of your negative body language. Still, it may severely impact the quality of your communication.
Disengagement is when you withdraw from the interaction. You may be busy on your cell phone, not make eye contact, or seem bored. That is not conducive to successful communication.
It is easy to see that interactions between people can be very complicated. And although you can work on many skills, one of the greatest secrets to successful communication is your approach toward people. Being positive, respectful, and honest will prepare a solid foundation for successful communication. And, if you want to sharpen specific communication skills, you can read “Your ultimate guide to good communication.”
We all want to learn to communicate better. Please share this article with friends and family.