Good communication refers to a specific set of skills that you can learn to improve your communication. Yes, you can learn to improve your communication. It is a learnable skill. And since good communication is invaluable in all relationships, it is certainly a skill you must attend to.
In the article Secrets to successful communication that you did not know, you already learned what effective communication is. You will also understand the barriers to interactions and how to recognize them. But most important is to realize that your attitude towards the other person can destroy any attempt at successful communication.
So, let’s dive into the skills that you can learn.
Self-awareness is of utmost importance for good communication.
Awareness of your thoughts and feelings enables you to determine your stance toward the person you want to communicate with. And even if you do not say it, she will be able to detect your attitude through the little nuances of your conduct. It will help you remember what you want to achieve with the conversation and stick to it. Some interactions are easier than others, but self-awareness will help you regulate your contribution to the discussion.
Respect for the other person
Respecting people around you are a value that may influence your impact on them extensively. Regardless of gender, race, or social standing, every human being deserves respect. And the way that you treat others says a great deal about who you are as a person. Even if you do not like a person or do not agree with her values, she is still worthy of being treated with respect. Disrespect is not only shown through your words but also through the way you talk down to her or how you disregard her presence or her ideas and feelings. Thus, respect is one of the cornerstones of good communication. And this leads us to your body language.
Be aware of your body language.
Your body language is the most significant part of face-to-face communication. People tend to believe your body language rather than your words. These postures and movements indicate your feelings and thoughts towards the other person you interact with. Body language or non-verbal communication refers to the way you conduct your body. It includes your facial expressions, tone and pitch of voice, eye contact, and gestures. The problem is that body language often is unconscious and may contradict your words. And that is why it may convey a more truthful message than your mouth.
Choose the right timing.
The correct timing is most beneficial for good communication. Educate yourself to read and understand the messages from people around you. When your teenager comes home from school crying, and runs into her room slamming the door, give her time. Now is not a good time to yell at her because she slammed the door. She will let you know when she is ready to talk to you if you are available. And then show respect for her feelings and views.
Listen, listen, and listen again.
Few of us are adept in the skill of listening. And yet, it may be the central pillar of good communication. To be a good listener, you must see the person behind the words and reactions. You must put yourself in her shoes and understand how she feels and thinks. A skilled listener reads between the lines and gets to the truth. Remember that all interactions are not just about you; it is like two-way traffic. It goes both ways.
So, what is a good listener?
A good listener does not interrupt someone who is speaking to her
She is aware and respectful of the other persons’ thoughts and feelings
She does not make assumptions
During the conversation, she stays fully present and is not distracted
A good listener makes eye-contact
Ask skillful questions
A principal aspect of good communication is that you genuinely understand the other person’s message. And sometimes, when we are upset, it isn’t easy to convey a simple message. Asking skillful questions enable you to ensure that you hear the actual meaning. Be genuine and involved in the process. You can start questions with “I hear ….” or “Do you mean …”. Continue till you get to the heart of the matter.
Paraphrasing is essential for good communication.
Paraphrasing is a tool you can use to get greater clarity on a matter. It means that you use different words to express the meaning of something. Although the terms differ, the initial meaning must stay the same. You truly understand the message once you can explain something in different words. Look at the following example:
A daughter comes home with a bleeding knee and expresses her sadness.
Mother: “I hear that you are sad because you hurt your knee?”
Daughter: “My best friend pushed me.”
Mother: “You are sad because your best friend pushed you and so you hurt your knee?”
In this case, the mother now understands the real reason for her child’s sadness. She can therefore act appropriately to comfort her.
Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback enables you to understand what the other person means truly. It is crucial after paraphrasing. Ensure that your rewording of the message is correct. If not, try again.
Speak clearly and be truthful
To enable good communication, you need to be truthful. Saying that nothing is wrong when you are angry with your friend is not honest. Being sincere means communicating your genuine thoughts and feelings but doing it clearly and without accusation.
I – messages make it easier to communicate when sad or angry. “I feel disrespected when you do not show up for our appointment. Please let me know if you cannot keep an appointment”. It is also acceptable to say, “I cannot talk about it now. Can we discuss it later?” But you must discuss it appropriately.
Staying cool is essential for good communication. You must be aware of your emotions, but you must also be able to manage your feelings. These are tips to help you:
Take a deep breath.
Ask for a time out to calm down and ground yourself.
Make a cup of tea and drink it. Drinking tea is calming.
Stop the conversation and get back to it later.
Knowing what triggered your feelings may help you to manage them better.
Silence is golden
Communication does not mean that you must blabber through every minute of the day. Do not be uncomfortable with silence. It can be a powerful way of communication. Silence allows you to think about the messages that you give and receive. It provides you with the opportunity to hear the other person and become aware of her body language. In addition, it can slow a heated conversation down. Silence can also be calming and comforting.
Suppose you practice these eleven pointers to good communication. In that case, you will learn to be more aware of yourself, be conscious of other people’s messages, and judge the effectiveness of interaction. Then you will be able to communicate clearly and honestly.
We all need a guide to good communication. And all of us can learn to communicate better. Please share this guide widely.