Is Communicating With Others Hard? Then This Is For You
NEWS FLASH: Just because you know how to talk doesn’t make you a good communicator
In fact, being a good communicator means being a good listener, based on what psychological research tells us. It also means being mindful of your words and tone, rather than taking someone else’s tone.
Instead, excellent communicators “decide to ask questions to gain understanding, rather than give explanations to induce agreement. They decide to make the implied feelings explicit by responding to the feelings behind the words.”
Excellent communicators keep eye contact and pay attention to another individual’s verbal and nonverbal cues
They don’t get swept up in protecting themselves. “When you defend, you lose.”
Beneath, are some of the strategies for helping anyone become better communicators in every area of their lives, including at home and at work.
1) Take ownership of your own reactions.
A very common phrase is, “they made me feel ___ or “I had no choice but to yell back.” But, while you may not love your choices, you always have a choice.
You have a choice in how you react, and what comes out of your mouth
You can choose to take control of yourselves whenever you are about to explain, defend, debate, cajole, nag or antagonize, and choose to not do it.
As an example, attempting to defend yourself is really futile and generally only backfires.
This rarely makes the other person change their mind, and all that defending only gets ignored. What it does cause is more miscommunication and accusations between the 2 parties.
2) Agree with feelings, not the facts.
You don’t have to agree with the other person’s “facts.” But you can agree with how they feel, and communicate that you’ve heard them.
As an example, you might say: “You seem hurt. That must be painful.”
You can try these other examples…
- “You seem very ____.
- I do not blame you for feeling____.
- I’d be ____if that happened to me.
- I’m sorry you are so ____.
- It’s awful, isn’t it?”
- Bear in mind that “feelings are neither right nor wrong; it is what we do together that’s right or wrong.”
As much as we’d like to think that people are logical creatures, we are actually all emotional creatures.
And our emotions are a very, very strong controlling factor in our lives.
3) Ask for clarification.
If you’re not sure you understand what the other person is saying, repeat your interpretation, and ask them if you have it right.
You might start with: “So what you are saying is that…”
Based on research, 63% of all conversation details are “lost” due to miscommunication.
You may assume one thing, while the person you’re speaking to is referring to another.
4) Ask questions.
Asking questions helps you get a deeper comprehension of the situation and possibly reframe it.
- “How does that make you feel?
- What’s the worst part?
- What would you like instead?”
Also, people are happy to answer questions because it makes them feel like you are genuinely listening and concerned about them.
With these 4 tips, I can assure that…
ANYONE can take them and immediately use them in our everyday lives!
Communicating well is a skill. And with more practice, you can definitely be a master at it too!