Effective communication is one of the key skills one must master in order to succeed in life. It’s the base of any great and lasting relationship, whether personal or professional. Many people believe that communication is all about choosing the right words and saying what the other wants to hear, but there’s so much more to it. Communication can take many shapes, and navigating them effectively can help us relate better with others and find greater fulfillment in all corners of our lives. Read on for five intentional methods that can help you communicate more effectively with those around you.
1. Be an engaged listener
Of course, the way you choose to send your message matters. But, equally important, if not more important, is how well you know to pay attention, to listen, and to receive your interlocutor’s message.
As Mark Richards, HR manager at U.K. BestEssays, advises, “An effective communication requires genuine listening, which requires five main aspects: center all your focus on the speaker, don’t interrupt the speaker, leave your judgmental side apart, present your interest in his or her message by adding small comments like ‘yes’ or ‘I understand,’ and ask questions to ensure that you’ve fully understood.”
It’s not the same thing to shut up and listen to a person than to actually be there with your thoughts and emotions, to be an engaged listener. We never speak just words. Most of the time, the real message can only be told by our gestures and facial expressions. Keep this in mind as you listen to others.
2. Express yourself
Communication is about expressing yourself. It’s about sharing your thoughts and feelings with others in an honest and open way. As well, you can assert yourself, meaning that you stand up for your beliefs while respecting the opinions of others.
As Jenifer Denver, human resources manager at Writing Service Australia, states, “Being assertive doesn’t mean to be hostile and demanding. It is more about respecting yourself, your needs, and values. Knowing how and when to say a firm ‘no,’ knowing how to express something negative in a positive way, and how to receive feedback no matter of its nature.”
3. Pay attention to nonverbal signs
When we communicate with each other, we rarely use only words. Most of the time, we are using our body language—which includes gestures, facial expressions, voice tones, eye contact, posture, and even breathing—to send our message.
That’s why we must learn to spot all these nonverbal sings and learn how to properly use them in order to send our message as accurately as possible. Learning to read and use body language will help you connect and establish relationships with others more easily, because everyone wants to communicate with a person who truly listens, cares, and understands.
4. Control your emotions
Far too often, when we touch on a sensitive subject, we allow our emotions to lead us in a conversation. Sometimes, we then forget the whole point of that conversation, leading to an unpleasant situation where we say things that we later regret.
Strong feelings like love and stress can easily cloud our minds during conversations and make us no longer think rationally. In these situations, emotional management techniques can help us return to a relaxed and rational state and enable us to engage with others without losing our cool.
5. Make intentional language choices
Last, but not least, the words we choose to speak can have a great impact on our message, and they can determine how effectively it is passed on to others. For instance, if you’re a team leader and want to let your team know that you’re in this together, use pronouns like “us” and “we” while speaking. This way, they will start to think of themselves more like a part of the team and less like an individual part of the company. In short: Words can have a lot of power if you know how and when to speak them. You can study techniques like neuro-linguistic programming to understand more about how to leverage the power of words.
The devil is always in the details. Even while we communicate with each other, we must pay attention to those small details like gestures and sights, because communication isn’t all about words. Actually, communication is rather a complex process that makes our entire being speak what’s in our hearts and minds.
Lauren Adley has been working as a writer at a publishing agency in Boston, USA for 3 years. She is an expert in such topics as education, motivation, blogging, business, and social media.