Have you ever considered how effective your communication is? We can always improve our ability to communicate.
Here are some tips to improve communication which in turn help reduce misunderstandings or conflicts and increase positive and helpful interactions:
- Take time to think before speaking:
Saying the wrong thing, even at the right time, can seriously injure a person. Think, for example, of a doctor misspeaking an order for medication that turns out to be wrong and hurts her patient. Saying the wrong thing in a court of law could send an innocent person to jail for a long, long time. Since words have such power, it is very important how we communicate. Therefore, take time to listen, be careful how you answer and take time before speaking.
- Really Listen:
Most of us do more talking than listening. What is it that makes us more concerned about what we are going to say than what the other person is saying to us? Take the time to really listen to what people are saying, by their words, tone, and body language. If they know you are really listening to them, they will be more open and trust you with their real thoughts and feelings. You can ask questions about what they are saying to encourage them to open up more. The more you really listen, the more they will open up, the more you really listen, the more they will open up… and the cycle goes on.
- Check Your Tone And Body Language:
Body language is more telling than the actual words you say. Therefore, it is important to watch your tone and body language when you are speaking. Is your tone harsh? Does your face give away disgust when someone else is talking? Do you smile and reassure the person who is talking? Your body language says more about your feelings and thoughts than your actual words. You can keep that in mind the next time you have a conversation with someone. Check your body language to ensure it is consistent with your words.
- Be Real:
The best way to communicate is by being open and honest. If you are frustrated, say “I’m frustrated”. Being able to label your feelings and work through them can help you when communicating with others. If you don’t want to talk about a subject, say “I don’t want to talk about that” to let the other person know where you stand. Being able to articulate your thoughts and feelings can be a big step in getting good communication with others. Little kids are great at this as they have not learned all the social nuances of how to hide their feelings and be deceptive in their communication. We could all use a trip back to being a child when understanding how to communicate more honestly.
- It’s Not All About You:
I hate to say it, but communicating isn’t all about you. Communication is a two-way street and we need to remember that the other person’s thoughts and feelings are as important as our own. I know that it hard to comprehend, but we need to have that give and take when communicating with others. To have a truly good communication, there needs to be honesty going both ways and a good understanding of what is being said. Asking clarifying questions and letting the other person know you are listening are great ways to enhance communication.
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