Communication is key when it comes to the success of all our relationships from our lovers to our work colleagues. We need to learn to communicate more effectively so that we can get the most out of our relationships and in return be the best versions of ourselves possible. It’s so important to learn the art of communication and trust me, it is an art!
I’ve put together 6 tips that will help you start communicating more effectively today so that you can enhance all of your relationships and give the best version of yourself to those around you.
This was something I learned in school – the art of body language. If you want to have an open, honest and trusting relationship then you need to mirror that in your body language. If your arms are crossed in front of your chest then rather than coming across as approachable and warming, you’re coming across as closed and abrasive. Similarly, if your slouching your shoulders then you’re coming across as disinterested and exhausted, rather than enthused and energised.
Your body language is almost more important than the language you use to verbally communicate with. It speaks volumes about how interested, engaged and present you are. Although it might be more comfortable to slouch in your chair with your arms crossed, sit upright and use your eye contact to engage the person you’re talking to. You might find that they open up to you even more. By fine tuning your body language, you’ll open yourself up to more abundance in all of your relationships by sharing your openness and vulnerability with the world.
This might sound like an obvious point when it comes to communication but it’s probably one of the hardest to put into practise.
When you’re conversing with someone, listen clearly to everything they are saying. It’s so easy to read in between the lines and start making assumptions. Rather than playing the guessing game, ask meaningful and open ended questions. Get more information before you jump to a conclusion.
Listen to the language that they’re using and avoid misinterpreting what they’re saying. The words, tone of voice and speed of speech are all great indicators of how a person is feeling and where they want the conversation to go. Use these as clues so that you can communicate more effectively back to them and get the most of the conversation.
If you need more clarity then ask for it! It might seem embarrassing, especially if you feel that they might have already covered that point, but if you need to hear it again then ask. Being clear is one of the most important points when it comes to effective communication, so if you’re confused then ask again and again until you feel confident in the message you are hearing.
Engage in the conversation and keep peeling back the layers. So many of us are afraid of being our most vulnerable selves but at the same time we need to talk and get things off our chests. When you’re talking with a friend or lover, try to peel back the layers. Ask those meaningful questions so that they know you’re listening to them. More often than not, we just need someone who hears the words we have to say - so listen clearly, engage and reflect back what you have heard.
I’m more than happy to admit my flaws and share them with you – and this, is probably my biggest downfall when it comes to the way I communicate with Ben. In fact, he calls me out on it ALL the time – Having a break when you’re talking.
There are so many times when I’ll be talking to Ben and I won’t pause for even one breath. By the time I’ve finished, Ben has completely forgotten where I started, I get upset because it seems like he wasn’t listening and those important points I wanted to talk about get overlooked.
I know how easy it is to NOT stop talking! When it comes to communicating effectively, you also have to learn how to talk effectively so that you get the most out of your conversations. After all, a conversation is communication between yourself and another. If you’re not pausing to allow the other person to speak, then you may as well not be having that conversation at all.
It doesn’t matter how amazing your friend, lover, partner, relative or Starbucks barista is at listening, if you’re not pausing then they WILL forget where the conversation started or they might forget to share some much needed wisdom with you.
When you break your speech it means that the person you are conversing with has an opportunity to add to the conversation and share what they need to before you move onto the next point. That way all of your points are addressed, none are forgotten and you will have gained so much more from that conversation.
Just as listening to the language of another person is important, so is the language YOU use to communicate with.
The language you use will differ depending on the person you are communicating with. For example, you wouldn’t send kisses after a text message or email to your boss, just like you wouldn’t finish a text to your lover with ‘yours sincerely’.
When you’re talking to someone, monitor the language you’re using so that it aligns with your relationship with that person and what you want to get out of that communication.
There are so many times that I see communication overlapping in so many different areas of people’s lives. Such as bringing the way you communicate at work home with you, or talking to your husband the same way you talk to your kids. It’s important to realign yourself and communicate effectively for that particular relationship and use the appropriate language.
Yes, by all means be yourself and embrace who you are but don’t mistake embracing who you are and using the same language for everyone in your life.
When it comes to communicating effectively, it’s about sharing what you need to say in the most productive way possible.
It’s so easy to ramble on, forget what you came into the conversation for and not actually get what you needed out of it. So be certain and be clear on what you’re wanting to gain out of the communication you’re entering into.
Maintain respect for the person you are communicating with.
It doesn’t matter how angry, upset or frustrated they make you – never lose that respect. Share your compassion with them whilst maintaining that honesty you have with yourself.
Be respectful to the opinions of others. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and there with inevitably be times when your opinions will clash with another’s. This isn’t a time to force your views on someone else, rather acknowledge that their opinions differ, stand by your own values and remain respectful to the person you are talking to.
Respect also comes from the way you address another individual, the language you use whilst communicating with them (see point number 4) and respecting their views, culture, spiritual beliefs, race and values.