The Importance of Learning to Communicate Well
How many times do you say something and find that others have interpreted it rather differently from what you intended? How many of your personal conflicts are generated from misunderstandings? You live in a society in which you depend on other people in countless different ways. Therefore, it’s essential to have the ability to express yourself by learning to communicate well with others.
Whether you want to prosper or just improve your social life, you should try and improve your communication skills. In order to do this, you must take note of certain guidelines.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
The keys to learning to communicate well
1. Be concise, not repetitive
When you transmit a message with too many repeated explanations, your interlocutor may feel slighted, as if you think that they’re not capable of understanding. However, it’s perfectly possible to raise an important idea or concern in a simple way, without so many clarifications and repetitions.
Furthermore, if you’re extremely repetitive, the attention of your interlocutor will decline and they’ll stop listening to you, even when you’re transmitting important information. That’s why it’s important to speak clearly, concisely, and not repetitively.
2. Try to be specific and get to the point
Learning to communicate well involves expressing yourself specifically and directly. Put aside any ambiguities and generalizations and say exactly what you want. If you express yourself directly, the effect will be much improved.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw-
Giving too much thought to the matter can also cause confusion. You might find yourself asking your interlocutor if they’ve actually heard you. They may protest that you’ve told them so many different things they don’t know what you mean. At this point, you may feel angry because you don’t feel as if they’ve listened to you. Nevertheless, it could well be your way of communicating that’s failing.
3. Don’t go back
The only thing that comes out of bringing up past issues and going over old grudges is pain and trouble.
On the other hand, the past can be useful in showing you the way forward, as long as you’re willing to consider it in a positive way, and you try to learn from it. Repeatedly going over what happened, without the intention of learning from it, doesn’t ever bring good results.
4. Find the right time and space to communicate
There are always certain issues that can’t be spoken about in front of others. Therefore, when you have to communicate something difficult to another person, it’s best to do it in private.
On the contrary, if you’re going to congratulate or praise someone, it’s advisable to do it in public, where others can also hear. It isn’t necessary to go overboard with the flattery but, if you do it in a natural way, the person will feel highly valued.
5. Address issues separately, one after the other
It’s not advisable to address several topics together that have nothing to do with each other.
Understandably, you sometimes want to take advantage of the moment and bring up a long list of pending issues. However, this will most likely only cause anger and discomfort in your interlocutor.
6. Monitor silent communication
What’s said verbally isn’t everything. Your gestures, the tone, and the volume of your voice, as well as the faces you make, must accord with what you’re saying. Otherwise, the message gets lost. In fact, how you say something is as important as what you say.
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
As Elisabeth Corrales (2011) states, we must be careful with the non-verbal message since “Many times this message is stronger than the verbal one, because it can even betray a lie”.
Along the same lines, McEntee (1996) claims that “Through gestures, facial expressions, and body tension or relaxation, certain information is communicated about the relationship between two characters”.
7. Don’t speak in absolute terms
When you say things like “You’re always the same”, you’re applying labels that aren’t true. Indeed, if you express yourself like this, you’re probably being unfair and not particularly honest. If resolving a conflict is your goal, try to use more relative terms such as ‘sometimes’ or ‘frequently’, which will make your interlocutor feel better.
When you have to give constructive criticism, refer to the behavior and not the person. After all, most of the time it’s the behavior and not the individual that upsets you. It’s essential to understand the difference and also to make it clear.
In conclusion, learning to communicate well is an art and it’s worth making an effort to do so. It’ll mean you’re successful in your relationships, allowing you to stay away from misunderstandings and conflicts.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Corrales-Navarro, E. (2011). El lenguaje no verbal: un proceso cognitivo superior indispensable para el ser humano. Revista comunicación, 20(1), 46-51.
- McEntee, E. (1996). Comunicación oral para el liderazgo en el mundo moderno. E. M. Entee, COMUNICACIÓN ORAL PARA EL LIDERAZGO EN EL MUNDO MODERNO, 132-182.