Learning to Communicate Effectively
How many times have you tried to communicate something, only to have others interpret it very differently than expected? How many personal conflicts arise from a misunderstanding?
We live in society and depend on each other in countless aspects. It’s therefore essential to have the ability to express ourselves and communicate effectively with others.
Whether we want to prosper, or cultivate an intense social life that satisfies us personally, we need to improve our communication skills. A few tips to keep in mind…
- Be brief and non-repetitive. When you reiterate your message and give too many explanations, again and again, the other person can feel slighted – as if you don’t think they’re capable of understanding the first time. It’s always possible to raise a topic that’s highly deep and meaningful. Simply remember to do it without as many clarifications and repetitions.
- Get to the point and be specific. To ensure that your communication is effective, you have to express your thoughts specifically and clearly. Leave aside the ambiguities and generalizations and say exactly what you what to say. If we express ourselves bluntly, the effect will be more more positive.
- Don’t go backwards. Nothing good comes from bringing up past issues and keeping old grudges. The only things you’ll gain are pain and problems. It’s true that the past can be a huge help and show us which way to go, but only as long as we’re willing to consider it in a positive light. That is, by trying to learn from it.
- Find the right time and place to talk. Obviously, there are certain issues that can’t be addressed just anywhere. When we have to communicate something difficult to another person, this is best done in private. On the contrary, if we are to congratulate someone or give them recognition, this should be done in public where others can listen too!
- Address issues separately, one after another. It’s not recommended to discuss several topics together that have nothing to do with each other. Sometimes we do our best to seize the moment, and in doing so, quickly end up bringing a long list of outstanding issues to light. However, it’s likely that this will lead to irritation in the other party.
- Monitor silent communication. What’s expressed verbally isn’t everything. Your gestures, volume and tone of voice, and expressions have to be in line with what you’re saying. Otherwise, your message is lost. How you deliver your message is just as important as what you have to say.
- Don’t speak in absolute terms. When you say things like: “It’s just that you always act this way,” you’re applying labels that simply aren’t true. If we express ourselves in that manner, we’ll undoubtedly end up being unfair and disingenuous. If resolving conflict is the goal, try to use more relative terms such as “sometimes” or “often,” which have much less chances of making your partner feel bad.
- When you have to give constructive criticism, be sure to reference the person’s behavior and not the person himself. Most of the time, in any given situation, what we truly dislike is a person’s behavior– not the person. It’s essential to understand the difference and make it abundantly clear.
In conclusion, to communicate effectively is an art, and it’s well worth our time and energy to strive to make it better.
Photo courtesy of smarnad – freedigitalphotos.net