A lesson in communication

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Good communication serves you well in life, whether it is in the relationship with your partner, family, work or social life. The following are some useful strategies to improve your communication with others.

Pausing. This is important so that you not interrupt the other person, you show that you are considering what the person is saying and also this helps you to listen better.

Ask questions. This helps to understand what the other person really means as opposed to presuming what he/she means. Don’t make assumptions, don’t jump to conclusions about what the person is thinking or feeling.

Paraphrasing. Feeding back to the person though paraphrasing can help to cut out misunderstandings and also shows the other person that you are really listening to what they are saying. When the other person knows that you are listening this can help to build trust.

Open-ended questions. Questions using what, when, how, why can open up a conversation but closed questions that call for a yes or no answer can kill a communication.

Assertiveness. While it is important that your needs are catered for in your engagement with others. You must stand up for your right but do so in a respectful way without impinging on the rights of the other person. You always face into communication for “win-win” outcome: Before you go into a conversation, ask yourself what’s your one desired “win-win” outcome. It must be “win-win” as not all outcomes your desire are good for the relationship. You may want to prove you are right as the outcome, but that by default would mean the other person needs to be proven wrong. Then you may have won the argument but lost the relationship.

Have an open-mind. Be open to other perspectives, if you are stubborn you don’t allow yourself to grow as a person.

Be present. If you are engaged in an activity like being on the computer, stop engagement with what you are doing and look at the person while engaged in conversation.

Empathy. We must learn to tune in yo the feelings of others. If not, the other person can perceive us as not being understanding on their feelings. This can be perceived as not really caring about how they feel.

Useful practical strategies.

Bring you attention to your breathing, you find it easier to stay calm and relaxed when confronted by an irate person.

Develop a mindfulness of your verbal & non-verbal communication, your tone of voice, gestures, etc. By bringing what is normally subconscious into your conscious awareness, you can be amazed as to how you can transform the way you are perceptually perceived by the other person.

Touch is very powerful Reaching out and touching someone while they, or you, are speaking helps “sell” an idea or anchor a point. While it’s not always appropriate to touch other people in conversation, when it is appropriate, it can be very powerful. Many people will be able to remember and connect with something you said at that moment just a few seconds after you reached out and touched them on the hand, arm, or shoulder.

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