We talk everyday. Communication takes place in every aspect of our lives. We communicate with family in home, with equals in college or school, with other students and teachers. At work we do it with boss and co-workers. In a library we talk with librarians. Toddlers talk in the sandbox, teenagers on the party, elders at the bus stop. We communicate everywhere where we are.
‘Everywhere?’ Perhaps you’re asking. ‘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 clothes, our smell, our postures and other channels.
Supposedly communicating is easy. After all, you only have to speak words. Though, you learned many words when you were little girl or little boy. 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 always truth when you say something? Do you remember about important element of communication which is listening? Don’t you say sentences that make somebody ends conversation with you? Do you make sure what your interlocutor communicates you?
Okay, I’m not asking more to not overwhelm you. It’s about realizing 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 quickly are ending interaction with you
- fighting with somebody
- it’s more chance to misunderstandings appear
- people are not much for cooperate with you
- interlocutors notice or feel that they’re misunderstood by you
- so they stop talking about certain topics with you or your talks repeat and look similarly
- your interlocutor feels worse, insulted, sorry, sad, rejection, loneliness and maybe even humiliation
Okay, you already know how it 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, opinions 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 will 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 one thing you said about your relation with your friend”, “It sounds great”, “I’m sorry that something like that 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 e.g: “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 daily” and say about facts (not about your interpretations of situations)
- express yourself precisely as far as it 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 tell them what you mean (in order you both talk about one topic 😉 )
- remember also about paraverbal communication that presents your attitude and intentions. It’s about your tone, pitch and pacing of our voices. It’s about 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 that all.
To become more effectively in communication, 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. Then you know that you can and you have already several clues which you can use in further improvement of your communication.
So, if you just observed it, I think it’s would be well to mention what is not worth to do. Not only not worth, but what usually harms.
What not to do that is to say communication barriers:
- proving that you have a point and that they are wrong (I know that it’s not easy at the beggining..)
- convincing them that they have to or should do something
- while somebody is confiding in you, shifting attention to you
- scoffing and insulting
- standing against person and their words and opinions
- telling generalizations
- resigning your own opinions and beliefs when you see them as right
- giving advices when no one ask you about tip
- convincing people to your own opinions
- yelling and criticizing (that’s 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 (it disrupts process of communication)
- saying “don’t worry” and “don’t be mad” (words like those aren’t magical methods to somebody stop feel upset; quite the contrary – those are often good commands in order to your interlocutor feel more badly
- 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 that you scoff, despise or worry.. And we people more believe in words or body language? How do you know that somebody lie?
- using words like “You always..”, “You never..”, “You still..” inflames atmosphere
Big stuff, 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 points, 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 by it
- communication lets 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 other people’s behaviors
- communication helps to solve conflicts
- it makes that atmosphere is tense, homey, warm or official
- way of somebody’s communicating introduces who they are
.. & extra information..
And if you want to develop the skill and improve your relations, don’t give up despite fact that above lists aren’t closed. I mentioned examples of communication which I remember the most. The rest you meet in other post.
It’s hard way to communicate better. And it’s not like you suddenly start to communicate very well. If you have communicated using many communication barriers by now, now they are your automatic way (most people have that way). It’s worth to catch the moment in which you want to use them, and think if the words that you want to tell will help somebody, will bring something good. Remember also that better is say nothing than communicate barrier after barrier, hurting somebody. But of course, development is full of ups and downs.
Oh, and that’s normal that at the beginning our new “speech” doesn’t sound naturally. It takes time. Don’t require from yourself to communicate perfectly. 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 which can providing effective and good communication and relationships. Your 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 about progress which you made 🙂 And perhaps this is first time when you thought consciously about this issue? Share in comments 😉