We all like to pride ourselves on being effective communicators. I mean, even though we probably speak more than we listen, we still consider ourselves great communicators right?
We live in a time where texting is the preferred way to deliver a message. Throw in half a dozen emojis, and a simple message has morphed into communication that requires skilled deciphering.
But we can’t stop there. Effective Communication is not only about our keen listening skills and the words we speak, but it’s tightly woven with the unspoken.
Our body language is often shouting when our mouths are closed. You know what I mean. The rolled eyes, the arms folded across our chest, the deep sigh as we slightly turn our backs to the person speaking. Let’s also not forget how a look of complete disengagement can quickly sabotage a conversation before it begins.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
Now let’s take this one step further. How many times have you had a conversation with someone only to realize days later they said something that offended or vexed you. Your internal dialogue wishes you would have reacted at the time, and then you go as far as to wonder if it’s too late to bring it up.
My advice to you is it’s never too late! However, there are ways to effectively communicate without the anxiety of having a problematic interaction or the fear of rehashing an old conversation.
- Be Relevant – stick to the part of the conversation that triggered you
- Be truthful – Say how you genuinely feel using “I” statements (I feel…)
- Be Careful with your words – This is not a time to point fingers
- Be Receptive – Communication is not simple, but it’s a powerful tool that will strengthen your relationships
Remember, for communication to be effective, it needs to include mutual respect, communication that inspires, communication that encourages and communication that provides for active listening for understanding.
Effective Communication is more than one person talking and the other person listening. It’s more than the mere exchange of words. It’s about the ability to exchange information on a deeper level where at the end of it all, both parties can walk away with a real sense of understanding and being understood.