How To Be A Better CommunicatorDec 03, 2021
Sometimes communicating can be difficult, especially in stressful situations. Having strong communication skills can help remove any misunderstanding in a conversation while helping to create clear thoughts and expressions. Communication is much more than the words we use or write down; communication is also how we express ourselves physically.
When we are communicating with someone, it is important to keep certain things in mind.
It's important to understand that what we are feeling in the moment is not always what we actually think. When we are in an argument or stressed, it can be easy to become overloaded with emotion and harder to express ourselves clearly. This is especially true if we are arguing with a narcissist because they can end up using our emotions against us. They can twist our words or thoughts to confuse us and trip us up in an argument.
Next is being aware that silence is okay. Having a lapse in conversation is normal from time to time. Sometimes we need a chance to think and find ways to better express our needs or thoughts. Silence can be uncomfortable, especially in the middle of an argument, but having the occasional bout of silence can be a good buffer.
Context matters. Depending on the context of the situation, we may need to respond differently. We need to be aware that the way we talk and communicate with people at work would be different than how we would talk to a friend.
It helps to find common ground. When we are having an argument, it helps to find points that you both agree on. If we state clearly, what we agree on, it's becomes easier to figure out what points you're not seeing eye to eye on.
Some common mistakes
There are some easy mistakes that we can all fall into when having heated discussions, including:
- Sarcastic comments
- Bringing up past mistakes
- Giving the silent treatment
- Judging what the person is saying
The goal is to have open and honest discussions, and these types of behaviors or communication styles can have the opposite effect.
We can even make mistakes when listening. Common listening mistakes we can make include:
- Daydreaming or spacing out
- Thinking of what you are going to say next
- Listening for a specific goal
We want to be present when having a conversation. So if we keep drifting away mentally or focusing on what we plan to say next, we are taking attention away from what the other person is trying to share. The same thing can happen if we are only listening to what they are saying with a specific goal in mind. If you have a goal of what you want to happen from the conversation, you're less likely to understand things from the other person's point of view.
So what can we do to have better communication?
The first thing is to Actively Listen. We want to make sure that we are present and paying attention to what the other person is saying. Ask questions, request clarification, and paraphrase what the person has said. When we ask questions or paraphrase, we are not simply showing them that we are listening, but we are making sure that we understand what it is they are saying. We are ensuring that we're both on the same page and not misunderstanding their message.
Next is to watch our body language when we are talking with someone. If we are looking off in different directions or staring at our phone, the other person can see this as being disrespectful or uninterested. When you're talking with someone, especially in a serious manner, you will want to make sure that you are giving them your full attention. We also want to be more aware of subtle, sometimes unconscious behavior such as smiling, fidgeting, and yawning.
Finally, you want to be simple, clear, and concise. When we are anxious or upset, it's easy to over-talk. This type of situation can happen to all of us, where we have so much to say and so many emotions going through us, that the words just spill out. When we go on and on, it can become a lot of information for the other person to process. When we are talking to someone, it helps to be simple, clear, and concise with our words so the other person can understand the full message. You want to stop, take a breath, and think about what it is you want to say.