"Say what you mean" sounds so simple when you speak about it. But often, our communication gets lost in translation even though we have all the intention to bring it to notice. We say a thing, the person on the other end hears something else and this creates frustration, misunderstandings and results in conflicts.
Luckily, there are ways through which you can learn to communicate in an effective way and more clearly. Whether you are trying to communicate with your kids and coworkers or boss, the skills can be improved immensely. You can bring in changes to effectively communicate with others, build respect and trust as well as feel that someone is able to understand what you are trying to say.
What is Effective Communication?
Effective communication involves more than just the use of right words and it involves various skills that involve nonverbal communication, affianced listening skills, assertive communication and the ability to know as well as understand the emotions of the opposite person.
Effective communication works as an adhesive that helps in deepening the connection and improving decision making, team work and skills to solve any problem. It allows one to communicate even when difficult messages are received without building any tension or distrust or conflict.
Although effective communication is a skill that is learned, it is more effective when it comes out spontaneously rather than being formulaic. A speech that is merely read has less impact than the one which comes out spontaneously. It is true that it takes equal amount of effort and time for developing these skills as well as becoming an efficient communicator. The more practice and effort you employ, the more spontaneous and instinctive your communication becomes.
Tip #1: Be an Engaged Listener to Become the Master of Effective Communication
Most people often lay an impact on the things that they should speak about, but when the communication is effective, there is more listening and less talking. Listening carefully does not only mean understanding the words of the opposite person but also knowing about the emotions that are involved. This makes communication even better and helps in avoiding the clashes as well.
How Can You Become an Engaged Listener?
If you aim to completely understand and connect with the speaker, engaged listening will pay off more naturally. If it does not hit the spot, try these tips. The more you put them to practice, the more rewarding and satisfying your interactions will be when you communicate with others.
- Make the speaker, the center of attraction. Concentrate on his or her voice tone, body language and other nonverbal signs. The voice tone conveys emotion, so if your mind is wandering in some other place like messaging or squiggling, then you may miss these cues and the emotional content of the words that are being spoken. If the speaker is distracted, you will be able to recognize it instantly. If you find it difficult to concentrate on the words of the speaker, try repeating their words in the back of your head and this will help you in staying focused at all times. This will help you in reinforcing on the message and concentrate on the words of the speaker.
- Avoid redirecting the conversation or interrupting the speaker with your concerns. When you try to speak about your issues amidst the problems that are discussed by the speaker, it may send wrong signals to the speaker. Listening is not the same thing like waiting for your turn to speak. You will not be able to concentrate on the words of the speaker and frame sentences that you are going to utter the very next moment. It is seen that the speaker is able to read the facial expressions of the listener and know that their mind is in some other place.
- Try to confirm your interest in the things that are spoken by the person. Keep on nodding amidst the sentences that are spoken and maintain your posture right so that you seem inviting as well as open. Support the speaker to go on by saying small words like "yes".
- Try not being judgmental or showering your opinions on the speaker. When you are trying to be an effective communicator, you have to agree with the values, opinions and the ideas of the person. You will have to hold back your criticism, blame and judgments for understanding the person completely. Even if the most difficult communication is executed in the right way, it can help in building a positive relationship with some person.
- Give feedback. If there is any sort of disconnection, paraphrase the entire thing and reflect it back to the speaker. Do not utter everything word by word as you may sound unintelligent or insincere. Try to speak about the words in such a way that the speaker understands the right meaning from it. Clarify the points by asking questions.
Tip #2: Paying Attention to Nonverbal Signals Can Help You Communicate Effectively
When we try to speak about things that we are concerned about, we use too may nonverbal cues. Nonverbal communication involves gestures or body movements, eye contact, voice tone, facial expression as well as breathing and muscle tension. The way a person moves, listens or reacts to the words will show the way he or she is feeling while sharing that piece of information with you. Paying attention to nonverbal signals can help you communicate effectively.
When you develop the ability to use nonverbal communication and understand what the person is trying to say, it helps in expressing what you mean and maneuver through difficult situations as well. Better relationships at work and home are built through effective communication.
- You can augment effective communication through open body language such as; maintaining an open posture, keeping the arms uncrossed and keep a constant eye contact with the person who is speaking to you.
- You can also make use of certain nonverbal cues to enhance or emphasize the message you are trying to deliver. This may involve complimenting or patting the back of your buddy on his or her success.
- Beware about the differences between every individual. People from different nationalities and ethnicities tend to use diverse gestures when trying to communicate nonverbally. Hence, it is important to consider the gender, religion, age, emotional state and culture into consideration while understanding the signals through body language.
- Try to consider all the nonverbal communication cues as a cluster. Do not read from a single gesture or signal. Make a note of all the signals you receive, ranging from body language, voice tone or eye contact. When you consider all these signals in group, it will be better to understand the person better.
Tip #3: By Learning to Manage Stress You will be Able to Communicate Effectively
To build an effective communication, you have to be aware and be in control of the emotions. This means learning to manage the stress. When you are under stress, you may misread the emotions of the speaker and put some nonverbal cues that may offend him or her. You may also lapse into some unacceptable behavioral patterns that may seem uninteresting.By learning stress management you will be able to communicate effectively.
If you are able to revive from such stressful state into a calm mind, you will be able to calm the speaker and avoid all the abovementioned situations. When you are calm and in a relaxed state, you will be able to know as well as respond better to the person.
Staying Calm Under Stress Helps in Communicating Effectively
In instances like high-pressure meeting, introducing the loved one to a family member, attending a job interview or giving presentations at a business venture, it is extremely important to keep your emotions in check. Learn to think better and develop and effective communication while being under pressure by following these tips:
- Use tactics to pause and give your mind sufficient time to think. Ask for repetition in the question or for the clarification of the statement before replying to a particular situation.
- Stall to collect all the thoughts in the right manner. Maintaining silence is not a bad thing and it can help you in being in control of your emotions as well.
- Create relevant examples to support the information that you are sharing with others. If your response is lengthy or you stumble upon certain points, the listener may lose interest in it. It is important to gauge the attention of the listener to know if you are allowed to present another point.
- Present your words in a clear manner. In most cases, speaking clearly along with maintaining an eye contact can be of great help. Try to maintain your stance open and relaxed.
- Sum up everything and then halt. Conclude your response and then discontinue your speech, even if there is complete silence in the room. You do not have to make up for the silence by speaking continuously.
Tip #4: By Being Confident You will be Able to Communicate Effectively
Assertive or direct expression helps in developing an effective communication as well as assist in boosting your decision making skills as well as self-confidence. Being positive while expressing your thoughts in an honest and open way can mean as if you are standing up for yourself while respecting others. It does not mean that you have to be demanding, hostile or aggressive. Developing an effective communication is to understand the person and not about winning the situation or an argument by forcing your mindset on others.
Tips to Improve Self-Confidence:
- Learn to value own self as well as opinions. Your opinions are as important as of others.
- Know about your wants and needs. Learn to convey them without forcing your opinions on others.
- Express about your negative thoughts in a positive manner. It is pretty normal to be frowned but you must also try to be respectful towards others.
- Accept all the feedbacks in a positive way. Graciously accept the compliments, seek help and learn from the mistakes you make.
- Practice to refuse or deny. Know about your limits and never let other take advantage of you. Look for other options so that others feel good from the same result.