We talk every day. Communication takes place in every aspect of our lives. We communicate with family at home, in college or school with equals, other students and teachers. At work we do it with boss, acquaintances and co-workers. In the library we say to librarian. Toddlers talk in the sandbox, teenagers on the party, elders at bus stop. We communicate everywhere where we are.
Everywhere? You ask perhaps. Even if I don’t say anything? You could add.
Yea. We do, because we communicate not only by words. We communicate by our body, our appearance, our smell and other ways.
Supposedly communicating is easy. After all, you only have to speak something. Though, you learned many words when you were little. And afterwards you captured grammar in school. Almost everybody can speak, except older ailing people, newborns and others who have hard case of illness.
Yea, speaking is easy for many, but is your speech understandable for others? Do you say real truth when you say something? Do you remember about important element of communication which is listening? Don’t you say sentences that makes somebody ends conversation? Do you make sure what your interlocutor communicated you?
Okay, I’m not asking more in order not to scare you. It’s about you realize how you communicate on a daily basis. Observe it.
What happens if you don’t have good communication skills?
- speaking but no reach an agreement
- you’re not satisfied with talk, instead of it you and your interlocutor are frustrated
- in your talk it’s about to prove own point of view
- your interlocutor isn’t glad and they are ending interaction with you
- fighting with somebody
- it’s more chance to misunderstandings appear
- people are not much for cooperate with you
- the interlocutor notices or feels that he’s misunderstood by you
- so they stop talking about certain topics with you or your talks repeat and look similarly
- the interlocutor feels worse, insulted, sorry, sad, rejection, loneliness or/and humiliation
Okay, you already know it how looks like when you communicate not so good, but when we communicate about communication it’s worth to explain what we’re on about at all.
What exactly is communication?
Interpersonal communication is process of exchanging information between sender and receiver. Giving information happens through words or non-verbal form. Purpose is achievement more level of cooperation. Communication can send knowledge, emotions, suppositions, interpretations etc.
All right, taking into account that we’re alternately sender and receiver, what is really important in those both roles?
How to improve your communication skills?
- try to focus and understand what person you talk wants to tell you
- paraphrase – this means that sometimes it’s worth to repeat aloud (towards person we talk) what somebody just told us, but using own words – in order to make sure that we understood somebody’s utterance well and if we didn’t, somebody can say more information when they hear that we didn’t understand
- if you don’t agree with somebody, ask why they think what they think – try to understand their point of view
- acknowledge emotions of your interlocutor “I see that you feel anger”
- ask questions about important things, get involved
- respect opinions of others
- try to give people sense of safety and concern, saying “I see this is hard for you”, “You have a right to feel that way”, “No matter what will happen, you can count on me”
- say what you feel (e.g. “What bothers me is what you said about your relation with your friend”, “It sounds great”, “I’m sorry that this happened to you”)
- try to understand and share the feelings of others
- if you can’t talk right now, tell it
- during talking about something that annoy you, say about yourself and your emotions “I feel anger when I see crumbs and unwashed dishes in the kitchen”, “I’m worried when I see my daughter watching TV a few hours” and say about facts
- express yourself precisely as far as possible; terms like “love” or “beauty” are variously understood by people, so if you talk about such topics, get to know what your interlocutor mean by those words and they them what you mean (in order you both talk about one topic 😉 )
- remember also about paraverbal communication that presents your attitude and intentions. Here it’s about your tone, pitch and pacing of our voices. Here it doesn’t matter what you say, but how you say something
- treat your interlocutor as equal – you’re not higher and they aren’t higher, you’re not worse and they aren’t worse. Everybody has its own values, priorities, system of convictions, expectations, needs, gains which want to obtain and losses that they incurred. Every human has the same right to this all
To become more communicative, you can firstly think now do or have you used some of the above points. It’s worth to look for your own earlier good examples of your communication. This way you know that you can and you have already some resources which can use in further improvement of your communication.
So, if you did it, I think it’s would be well to mention what is not worth to do. Not only not worth, but what harms usually.
What not to do that is to say communication barriers
- don’t blame
- forget about proving that you have a point and that they are wrong (I know that it’s not easy..)
- don’t convince them that they have to or should do something
- while somebody is confiding in you, don’t shift attention to you unless they want you to share own experience in aspect which you talk
- scoffing and insulting is misplaced
- don’t stand against person and their words and opinions
- generalization also
- don’t resign your own opinions and beliefs if you see them as right
- forget about giving advice unless they ask you about tip
- don’t convince people to own opinions
- yelling and criticizing makes people don’t feel safe and it doesn’t let them to open up and be honest with you
- lack of focus on listening disrupts process of communication
- “don’t worry” and “don’t be mad” aren’t magical methods to somebody stop feel upset; quite the contrary – those are good commands in order to your interlocutor feel more badly
- avoid telling you-things like “It’s your fault!”, “You still make a mess”, “You drive me crazy”, “You’re such an idiot!” – those expressions really don’t help
- more than words you show by nonverbal and paraverbal actions e.g. your tone presents hat you scoff, despise or worry.. And we people more believe in signs of.. Guess in which? How you know that somebody lie?
- using words like “You always..”, “You never..”, “You still..” inflames atmosphere
Big stuffs, heh? This is not everything, but don’t bother right now. If you want to make your communication better from today, choose one or a couple of above and try use something from list of supporting, more effective communication and avoid something from communication barriers.
The communication barriers have a detrimental role especially in relationships and families.
And if you hesitate is it have sense to put effort in this field, under you’ll get to know…
Why is communication so important in our lives?
- communication translates into impression of quality of relation
- it builds relations and agreement
- this is how you know that somebody cares or doesn’t care about you, that they are somebody close to someone
- we express ourselves
- communication let us to provide information and experiences
- it makes cooperation and organization possible
- using words, we handle many matters (e.g. at the offices)
- building opinions about people based on what and how they communicate
- creating people’s beliefs and attitudes
- we can see what attitude somebody has towards things that we say
- impacting on behavior of other people
- communication helps to solve conflicts
- it makes that atmosphere is tense, homey, warm or official
- way of somebody’s communicating introduce who they are
And if you want to develop this skill and improve your relations, don’t give up fact that above lists aren’t closed. I mentioned example of communication which I remember the most. The rest you meet in other post.
It’s hard way to communicate better. And there’s no that you suddenly start to communicate very well. If till now you were communicating using many communication barriers – they are your automatic way (most people have that way). It’s worth to stop when you want to use them and think if this what you want to tell will help somebody. Remember also that better is say nothing than communicate barrier after barrier. But of course, development is full of ups and downs.
Oh, and this is normal that at the beginning our new “speech” doesn’t sound naturally. It takes time. Don’t require from yourself to be perfect. And you don’t have to know what to say. Many of us don’t know how to behave properly in every situation. It’s important that you already are aware of some ways of providing effective and good communication and relationships, knowledge is first step.
Have you ever paid attention to ways how you communicate? If yes, tell what communication barrier is the most hard for you to avoid on a daily basis. Write also what progress you have made 🙂 And perhaps this is first time when you thought consciously about this issue? Share in comments 😉