Improving Communication Skills
Communication is all around us. Whether we are actively engaged in conversation, listening intently for a newborn’s cry, or rolling our eyes in exasperation, messages are being sent, received, and processed every moment. While communication is somewhat instinctive, effective communication is a learned skill. It is more than simply swapping ideas or general information. Effective communication also grasps the emotion behind the message.
Mastering the skills of communication may improve relationships at home and work, aid in decision-making, and streamline problem solving. Additionally, strong communication is beneficial when difficult or potentially controversial messages are necessary.
Clear verbal and nonverbal messages, along with active listening, shape the skills needed for effective communication. Active listening is the art of empathic listening, where one hears the spoken words while striving to understand what the other person is feeling, sensing, and thinking. In active listening, you perceive the verbal messages and the nonverbal cues. Verbal words make up only a percentage of what is communicated. Therefore, it is imperative to train yourself to understand nonverbal signals and become a master at active listening.
There are many strategies for sharpening your communication skills. Consider these principles to help guide your speaking skills, body language and tone, and active listening skills:
Improving Verbal Communication
Improving Nonverbal Communication
Improving Active Listening
Remember, the goal of active listening is to understand, to the best of your ability, what the speaker is thinking, feeling, and sensing. Try to be empathic and really hear their point of view. Active listening goes much deeper than simply hearing the words; you also honor the person saying them. You do not have to agree with everything they say, but a good way to minimize conflict is to seek to understand and be genuine.
Communication is challenging because each person in a relationship has his or her own perspective on what happened. So perhaps one of the greatest strategies of communication is to own up to our mistakes and take responsibility for them. If you feel stuck in communication, be willing to ask for help. There are some conversations and conflicts that simply cannot be resolved between two people. Having a mediator or professional involved will help navigate appropriate and fair communication. This might truly be the best option to maintain or grow a healthy relationship.
Benefits of Improved Communication
There are many benefits to improving your communication skills. In addition to bettering your relationships, effective communication may help boost your self-esteem. Being able to clearly articulate thoughts, feelings, and needs demonstrates a level of self-worth. You also might notice a genuine enjoyment for your job or other roles in life. Last, being able to recognize your own emotions and those of others will prove an invaluable resource in your life. Improving and fine-tuning effective communication skills can be hard work, but the results are worth the effort.