Tips for Effective Communication

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“Of all the life skills available to us, communication is perhaps the most empowering.” – Bret Morrison

Do you feel it’s challenging to get your point across? Are you frustrated by saying the same thing over and over? Do you want to be heard, but it feels like nobody is listening?

Communication in every relationship is essential, whether it’s with your spouse, partner, boss, coworker, kids, neighbor, the lady at customer service, or yourself.

When do you do it? Communication is happening all the time. It never stops!

What’s stopping you from effectively communicating?

  • Strong emotions which can cause outbursts
  • Rambling on and on
  • Your mouth is saying one thing, and your body is saying another
  • Refusing to try or giving up

So, how do you effectively communicate?

Make communication a priority – It is not easy, and to be successful, there are skills that need to be learned. 

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

Stay calm – Do you react in the moment? When what you’re saying is being misunderstood, do you get angry? Do you start talking and can’t stop because you need to get it all out?

  • Breathe
  • Practice what you’re going to say
  • Take your time when sharing your thoughts and ideas
  • Make one point – pause – then make the next point

Nonverbal communication – Says as much or sometimes more than your words. Do you get the feeling someone isn’t listening to you? Is their body language giving you that impression?

Being able to read facial expressions and watch someone’s body language will help you understand where someone truly stands on a subject.

  • There are six universal emotions that can be read on someone’s face
    • Happiness
    • Sadness
    • Surprise
    • Fear
    • Disgust
    • Anger
  • Body language and posture
    • Are they wagging their finger in your face?
    • Do they bite their nails?
    • Do they run their fingers through their hair?
    • Are they nodding along with what you’re saying?
    • Are their arms folded or legs crossed?
    • Are they facing you or turned away?
  • Eye contact
    • Do they look you in the eye, or do their eyes dart around?
    • Do they roll their eyes?
  • Tone
    • Do you hear sarcasm, understanding, or confidence?

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker

Your opinion matters – You have every right to your emotions and thoughts. And the right to express them.

When speaking with someone:

  • Send a clear, straight to the point message
    • Consider your tone
    • Choose your words carefully
    • Be respectful
    • Don’t blame or attack
    • Use “I” statements
    • Say it clearly, so the person hears you and doesn’t infer something else. It will lessen misunderstandings – for both of you
  • Be an engaged, active listener
    • Listen more than you speak
    • Don’t interrupt – let them finish
    • Don’t try to “one-up” them
    • Listening means listening not waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can have a turn

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen R. Covey 

And know that it’s okay to agree to disagree

  • Respect that each other has different opinions
  • It’s okay to say, “no,” which might mean more conversation is needed
  • Compromise

Communicating effectively allows one to be heard, therefore, seen as worthy. It’s imperative that listening and observing take place to communicate effectively.

“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.” – Tony Robbins

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