Try to set aside judgment. In order to communicate effectively with someone, you don’t have to like them or agree with their ideas, values, or opinions. However, you do need to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand them. The most difficult communication, when successfully executed, can often lead to an unlikely connection with someone.
How to communicate with others: The effective communication skills
Developing your communication skills can help all aspects of your life, from your professional life to social gatherings and everything in between. The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended, is a vital life skill and something that should not be overlooked. It’s never too late to work on your communication skills and by doing so improve your quality of life.
Communication is the act of expressing (or transmitting) ideas, information, knowledge, thoughts, and feelings, as well as understanding what is expressed by others. The communication process involves both sending and receiving messages and can take many forms.
Verbal communication is the spoken word, while nonverbal communication involves actions, facial expressions, body position, and gestures. Communication can occur in one-on-one or group settings, and in written formats (e.g., printed materials) or in visual formats (e.g., pictures, videos, and observational learning). And it involves not only the content of a message but also its emotional impact or the effect the message has on the person receiving it.
In fact, communication experts suggest that between 65% and 93% of the meaning of a message is conveyed through tone of voice and nonverbal behaviors (Johnson 2003). Thus, in addition to becoming aware of the words you use, it is essential that you become aware of your tone and nonverbal behaviors so that you understand the messages you are sending to partners.
Beyond message content, then, communication also involves the emotional impact of the message on the partner. Effective communicators give equal weight to message content and emotional impact on the receiver.
Emotional awareness is a skill that, with patience and practice, can be learned at any time of life. You can develop emotional awareness by learning how to get in touch with difficult emotions and manage uncomfortable feelings, including anger, sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, and joy. When you know how to do this, you can remain in control of your emotions and behavior, even in very challenging situations, and communicate more clearly and effectively.
How to Communicate Effectively
1. Listen so you can understand.
When it comes to communication, listening is just as important as expressing yourself. Learn how to be a better listener so you can understand the needs or concerns of your audience and address them effectively.
Interpersonal communication is an exchange between two or more people. If you only focus on what you’re going to say and don’t pay any attention to what the other person is sharing, then you’re not really communicating.
Without actively listening (which is more than just hearing), you could easily miss important details and other cues, which can lead to misunderstandings and more problems down the line.
2. Ask questions.
The goal here is not to control the conversation (though questions can help you do that) or to quiz your listener. Rather, you should use questions to better understand the person you’re engaging with.
Ask questions to gain clarity. If you’re confused or unsure of what the other person meant, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Questions aren’t a sign of stupidity or weakness, but rather of someone who’s confident and self-aware enough to seek help so they can understand something important.
Questions are also an important aspect of active listening. Asking the speaker how they feel about the situation they’re describing, or asking for clarification to better understand their situation, indicates that you’re actually paying attention and showing empathy.
3. Think before speaking.
Words are powerful, and speaking carelessly can have serious consequences. You should be able to speak your mind, but pause for a moment to consider how you can do that in the most effective, considerate way.
4. Speak with straightforwardness.
We often tend to play games with people by not being open and honest. This is a practice for those who have learned to be passive aggressive. However, the people we admire the most are those who are honest and truthful. Men or women considered to be leaders, or have charisma, or are given high respect are those who can speak with candor.
Speaking candidly does not mean speaking harshly, rudely or in a way that can harm. Learning to speak the truth with tact or finesse will give you freedom in your ability to work with people and reward you with positive regard from others.
Skill 3: Keep stress in check
How many times have you felt stressed during a disagreement with your spouse, kids, boss, friends, or coworkers and then said or done something you later regretted? If you can quickly relieve stress and return to a calm state, you’ll not only avoid such regrets, but in many cases you’ll also help to calm the other person as well. It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you’ll be able to know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it would be better to remain silent.
In situations such as a job interview, business presentation, high-pressure meeting, or introduction to a loved one’s family, for example, it’s important to manage your emotions, think on your feet, and effectively communicate under pressure.
Quick stress relief for effective communication
When a conversation starts to get heated, you need something quick and immediate to bring down the emotional intensity. By learning to quickly reduce stress in the moment, you can safely take stock of any strong emotions you’re experiencing, regulate your feelings, and behave appropriately.
Recognize when you’re becoming stressed. Your body will let you know if you’re stressed as you communicate. Are your muscles or stomach tight? Are your hands clenched? Is your breath shallow? Are you “forgetting” to breathe?
Bring your senses to the rescue. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell—or movement. For example, you could pop a peppermint in your mouth, squeeze a stress ball in your pocket, take a few deep breaths, clench and relax your muscles, or simply recall a soothing, sensory-rich image. Each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find a coping mechanism that is soothing to you.
Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress when communicating. When you or those around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or an amusing story.
How To Improve Communication – 27 Tips
When it comes to how to communicate, we need to come in with complete and utter honesty and authenticity. I think the hardest thing for humans to do is to be authentic. We either hold back as we want to keep our walls up in order to not get hurt or save face. Or we exaggerate things, truths, emotions or scenarios in order to make us or our stories seems better or more entertaining and to add more emphasis to the effect we have on people. So one of the best ways to communicate to people is to be completely honest with all your might. People will feel your authenticity and appreciate it.
We are so used to people exaggerating, lying and even holding back on some of the truths or facts about things we are talking about. People will respect the fact that, although at times tough, you are being completely authentic to them. It seems to speak to a place to people or the need and desire to be respected. When you do this, you satisfy a deep human desire where the connection with this person will be genuine. It will also allow you to build a better relationship with the person and making proper communication much easier with them in the process.
Building this habit with people will also make communication with everyone else easier as you will be breaking through fears that we have with communication. We will begin master it and make communicating with anyone and everyone else much easier.
When we are at any degree vague about what someone is saying, hinting or even holding back. The best thing to do is to get clarity right away. By getting clarity right away, you will be able to move forward more effectively in your communication with this person. Instead of trying to get clear about it later on, when you may have forgot what it was, or it is too late to circle back to in order to keep communication effective.
Often times we forget or refuse to communicate what we really want from the person or people we have relationships with. Romantic, work related, friends family. The best thing to do is to tell these people EXACTLY what you want and need from them. Along with of course, doing the same for them. This can break down the wall of awkwardness between you two. It will allow there to be more trust build in the relationship because you are being real with each other. We all have needs, and when they are satisfied, we can open up more so to the person that is satisfying them. We are more apt to go out of the way for each other and be honest with each other. As we have a feeling of getting each other and feeling each others pain and pleasures. This builds a more emotional bond with someone that allows for both verbal and non verbal communication to flow between you two.