Honest communication is the basis for any healthy relationship. It is necessary to work well with others at our jobs. It restores closeness with friends and family. It also helps us clarify our thoughts and feelings, keeping us centered and grounded. Unfortunately, no one is naturally gifted with this essential skill. It is something we all must learn through practice and experience.
Here are 5 things you can do to make sure that you are communicating well with others:
Understand that Communication is more than just hearing.
Have you ever spent a good bit of time with a friend and left wondering if they even understood your concerns? Perhaps it’s because you were heard but not listened. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is being aware of the chatter of words. Listening is trying to understand their meaning and giving them importance. You don’t necessarily have to agree on the same principles, but listening ensures that everyone’s opinions are being understood.
Be Aware of Interrupting
If we are honest, most people will admit to having a habit of interrupting others while they are speaking. Our fast-paced world can often feel like we are pressured to convey our own thoughts and objectives. I firmly believe that many people are unaware when they are interrupting another person. It seems to be a cyclical pattern. Since no one listens to one another, we interrupt others to ensure we are being heard. Perhaps try giving your friends and family permission to tell you when you are interrupting to help improve your listening skills.
Get Rid of Assumptions
Assuming is the end of communication toward working with others. No one can presume to read another person’s mind or know what the other person is going to say. Rather, this information is only gained by listening intently to what is displayed. Ridding your relationship of assumptions will elevate it to a new level of respect. Additionally, taking the time to really understanding the message that is conveyed reinforces collaboration and importance. Asking questions is a great way to clarify and to make sure that you are understanding the other person.
Eliminate Name-Calling and Yelling
If there is one thing that will create disrespect and alienation in a relationship, it is name-calling and yelling. This has been tried and true. Name-calling often begins when a heated argument escalates and has derailed from the original topic.
Staying focused on resolving the conflict can prevent getting off tangents or distracted by unrelated topics. Calmly discussing things invites further dialogue. Do whatever you need to do to remain calm, both for your sanity and theirs. Count to ten. Or go for a brisk walk. The important thing is to regroup and resume the conversation later. Otherwise, issues fester more because they are unresolved.
Stifling the Relationship By Not Moving On
This unhelpful behavior is exemplified in different ways. For some it may be lecturing and belittling the same point over and over. For others, it can be remaining focused on the other person’s offenses instead of looking at your own faults. It also occurs when we commit to change but fail to do so.
Communication may sound easy, but follow-through can be difficult. It is easier to talk to a person than to listen to one another. With some practice, you can be on a new road to improved conflict resolution and mutual respect in any relationship.