“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~ George Bernard Shaw
Effective communication is imperative in any relationship, whether is is a romantic, work, family or friends. When your wires get crossed and ideas are not conveyed properly, this is when negative emotions begin. But there is a way to speak peacefully to one another. Check out these five ways to communicate more effectively:
1) Be clear
Say what you mean and don’t beat around the bush. Be mindful of how you say things, say them in a kind way. If you truly want to work on being a more effective communicator, being clear and succinct in what you are saying is necessary to have your listener take in what you are saying.
Try thinking about what you want to say with out an explanation. When things are conveyed in a succinct manner they are more likely to be understood. Remember, if the person does not understand you it is their job to get clarification. Communication is a two way street. Both parties have to work on understanding one another and reflect what they are hearing.
When one begins rambling the idea you are trying to convey gets lost and it is possible that the person is no longer following you. If you are at a loss for what to say, tell the person that you need a moment to gather your thoughts.
- Taking 5 breaths
- Think about what you are trying to convey
- Then move forward in the conversation.
2) Don’t mind read or expect someone else to
“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”
The biggest mistake that you can make in a relationship is having the expectation that your partner, friend or family member can read your mind. This creates an impossible expectation that everyone can cater to all your needs or that you have to do that for them. Having this belief gives away the ability and power to express ones needs and sets up a power and control dynamic. This is not what relationships are about.
Relationships are about building trust, mutual respect and compassion for one another. The belief that we or others are meant read others is a belief that is grounded in magical thinking and over responsibility. We can truly only be responsible for ourselves and our choices. Try practicing this tenant in your relationships so that you can stop placing responsibility on having to guess what others need or make others assume what you need.
3) Have your body language and words match.
Did you know that 60% to 90% of the way that we communicate is through body language? We tell people about ourselves and situations by what our posture is, how close or far we are from others.
When we cross our arms and legs we show that we are closed off and protecting ourselves. When we have are arms at our sides and legs uncrossed we are showing being relaxed and able to be vulnerable. When we move closer we are expressing interest, when we move away it can mean that we are uncomfortable, feeling disgust or a need for more personal space.
Also our facial cues tell people where we are at. When we smile we put people at ease and appear more approachable and less threatening when we are a stranger. Rolling our eyes shows disinterest, judgment and lack of support. Our eyes show fear, interest, concentration and many others things.
Having our affect match our body language it is extremely important in communicating effectively and having healthy relationships. Need help in working on these things? Try practing and gaining feedback from a trusted friend or work on your expressions in front of a mirror. It you need more help with this you may want to seek professional help to gain more insight on how you present yourself to the world.
Want to learn more about non verbal cues and feelings? Visit this site to take a quiz to learn how well you read other people’s facial cues.
4) Be mindful of your words.
The words we choose shape our world and how people interact with you. Do you want peace and understanding? Or chaos and drama?
Learning to be mindful of your words takes time, learning to slow down the interaction process. If you are one who flies of the the handle easily try being mindful about your breath and when you are triggered. Learning to pause before one speaks is a important. When you can slow down the process of interacting and not act as impulsively by instead of reacting, you will feel better and more in control of your uncomfortable feelings.
When we choose our words with mindfulness, we can live life with less drama, reactivity and feel good about how we are interacting with others. Words can be olive branches or they can be knives that cut. The questions is what do you want to use?
5) Respond in a timely manner
Respecting others time is imperative in a healthy friendship or relationship. I understand that we all have busy lives, however responding in a timely manner shows our commitment and the importance of the relationship with this person. The more that we ignore and avoid, creates a rupture between us and another person.
If you want to keep a relationship the key is to nurture it and make it a priority in your life. When you make people wait for days to respond you are communicating with the person that you are just not that into them or that they are not that much of a priority.
Be mindful of how you want to present yourself to others and how you want to make them feel. Do you want to treat them like the treasure that they are or do you want to send the message that you are unavailable?
I hope that you found this article helpful and it can help you to begin to improve your skills on how to communicate more effectively. Try these things out and let me know how they go! Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org or 323.515.2278.
Have a blessed week.
Image: Discussion at the table – Meeting over coffee by digital internet