Effective communication can be a challenge but with these tips you can conquer any part of your life. Be a better employee or a better partner with proper communication tactics.
Overthinking or having a short fuse can create some serious road blocks in communication. There is a lot of personal work we all need to do in order to achieve effective communication. This simple guide will not only help you identify poor communication but also give you tips to become a master communicator.
Indentifying poor communication
Poor communication can result in all sorts of stress and even trauma. Proper communication is crucial for not only your relationships but your professional life as well. Here are several examples of poor communication.
This is an indirectly aggressive form of communication. It looks like avoiding the direct or clear communication, playing the victim, blaming others and sarcasm.
This can look like making jokes about coming in late to work or coming home late from a night with friends. It can even be the silent treatment. Passive aggression is essentially hiding anger instead of dealing with the issue directly.
Brushing Things Under The Rug
Avoiding conflicts or issues is a form of poor communication as well. When we ignore things that bother us, they tend to build and over time it could lead to an explosion of anger.
When someone either a co-worker or partner becomes angry, hostile or defensive. Active aggression looks like voice raising, blaming or criticizing, insulting, controlling or dominating the conversation.
Being interrupted or talked over when trying to have a constructive conversation is not only annoying, it is rude. A normal conversation looks like allowing each person to finish there thoughts and sentences. Additionally, it is important to actively listen while talking to someone.
Benefits of effective communication
There are many benefits that come from communicating effectively. It is important that everyone has a chance to speak and is heard. Some of the benefits of effective communication are:
- Conflict Resolution – Meeting in the middle and coming to a resolution you can both agree on without anyone getting their feelings hurt.
- Creates Better Relationships – Listening with intent and offering quality or constructive feedback can help all relationships (professional and personal)
- Increases Engagement – When people feel important and understood it creates a healthy environment of active members.
- Builds Trust – Listening and communicating effectively builds trust within relationships. Being able to understand, promote honesty and see different perspectives is key in both professional and person life.
Related – 24 Warning Signs of a Toxic Relationship
20 effective communication tips
Now that we now how beneficial effective communication is, let’s check out some tips to boost our communication skills. These tricks will help in both your professional, personal and romantic life.
1. Process Your Feelings
Before talking and confronting an issue, take time to yourself to process and reflect your feelings. This way you’ll be able to construct your communication tactics with confidence and a calm mindset.
Take a walk, write in a journal, or listen to relaxing music before you talk to your partner or go into a meeting.
2. Use “I” Statements and Feelings
How you talk about feelings and emotions is important because it can often lead to miscommunication. Not pointing the finger and saying how you feel with “I” statements is how you convey your emotions properly.
Example – “I feel hurt when you spend more time with your friends than me.”
3. The Right Timing
Choosing the right time to talk to someone about issues you are having is also key. Be sure to make it private and at a time that is convenient for both of you.
At work, ensure you give your coworker a heads up or schedule a meeting. With your partner, let them know before you hand you’d like to sit and have a chat. You don’t want to blindside someone because that can increase conflict and confrontation.
4. Compromising & Resolution
Keep an open mind to compromising and resolution. When heading into a meeting or a conversation with your friend or partner, go in knowing you want to meet a solution that serves you both.
Most often, solutions are met with some compromising. We can’t always get exactly what we want, especially when it involves other people. A good conclusion is where everyone gets a little and everyone gives a little.
5. Set Boundaries
This is a challenge for many of us. Setting firm boundaries can help avoid conflict and miscommunication.
Workplace boundaries can be saying no to working on weekends or committing to family time after work and not checking emails or working on projects.
Relationship boundaries can being ok with texting throughout the day but not all day long. Additionally, a boundary could be needing quiet time to your self once every day.
6. Listen With Intent
Don’t just hear what they are saying, really listen and try to understand. Refrain from judgement and wait for a pause to ask questions. Maintaining eye contact can help show you are listening. Additionally, try to visualize what the speaker is saying.
Location is important when communicating. Tone can be hard to detect over email and text which can lead to misunderstanding. Face-to-face whenever possible is important for proper communication. A phone call or video call can help as well as some people may find it easier to express themselves with a slight barrier.
8. Ask Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no stupid questions. If someone makes you feel as thought your question is invalid, they are the ones lacking communication skills.
Additionally, it is ok to say “I do not know enough to have an opinion.” Asking questions is a form of effective communication because it shows you are listening and willing to understand.
9. Don’t Get Too Personal At Work
Keep your personal life out of your work life. This can be tough especially for those who have worked in the same place for many years. Even within certain industries, the people you work with can become a part of your personal life.
Disclosing to much information about your life can be regarded as less credible. Controlling your emotions at work is also crucial. Leaving your personal issues at the door or taking a mental health day is an important part of professionalism.
10. Avoid Controversial Topics
At work or even with some family members, avoiding controversial topics will help with positive communication. What is not ok is becoming hostile or defensive with coworkers or family members because of it.
Keeping it neutral at work will avoid the possibilities of offending anyone or becoming offended yourself. However, that is not to say you shouldn’t stand up for your beliefs and speak out against something that is wrong.
11. Positive Feedback
Stay positive! If someone does something well, tell them! This kind of encouragement is great for moral and engagement. Additionally, positive feedback boosts employee communication.
Having a positive attitude in all aspects of your life will lead to effective communication.
12. Take Time to Respond
Don’t rush into a response, take time to think and process before you respond. Doing this will ensure a sincere, well thought out and respectful reply. Draft in your head or even write down notes beforehand.
13. Respect Your Audience
Whether you’re talking to coworkers or your spouses, show them respect. Your message isn’t just for you, it’s for them as well. You need to show that you care for them and their needs when communicating. Listening to their responses and questions is a great way to show respect.
Body language is very important and often goes under utilized. There are visual signs when someone agrees or disagrees with us and it’s all shown through our bodies.
Keep your center open which means refrain from crossing your arms or leaning on something. This shows that you, yourself are open to communicate.
Keeping eye contact is also an effective communication tip. This can be hard but when we stop making eye contact it can be shown as disrespect, disagreement or disinterest.
15. Refrain Gossip
Office or work place gossip is inevitable, but if you can avoid it or refrain from sharing your opinion that will help you in the long run. Gossiping will put you in a negative light and make people question your authenticity.
Additionally, refraining from gossip will gain you more respect and credibility. It’s all apart of staying positive, and gossip is not a positive attribute.
16. Take Notes
If you are having an issue, jotting down notes about how you feel and what you want to say can help you communicate. When talking to your partner it is ok to even read off some of your notes. Taking notes will help you process and reflect.
At work, if there is something that needs to be communicated, jotting down notes can help you organize your thoughts. This will help you better articulate your ideas or concerns.
17. Don’t Interrupt
A part of effective communication is to listen without interrupting. When you interrupt you are telling the other person that you do not care what they have to say. This only furthers the issues and can even result in further damage.
Wait your turn, listen with intent and wait for them to finish speaking before you start.
18. Stay On Topic
When communicating, stay on topic until it is resolved. Don’t bring up something unrelated or off topic during an important conversation. When you deviate from the topic at hand it makes the entire conversation seem meaningless.
19. Stay Neutral – Avoid Being Defensive
During conversations or during conflict resolution it is key to stay neutral. Becoming defensive and even attacking the other person is extremely harmful and ineffective.
Take deep breaths and try to avoid becoming over excited when someone disagrees or points out mistakes. This can ruin your reputation and relationships very easily.
20. Be Open Minded
This is one of the most significant tips for effective communication, be open minded. Being open minded shows that you are receptive, willing and mature enough to deal with the issue at hand.
Go into every situation in life with an open mind. It will help free you from negativity and keep you cool in high stress situations. Additionally, this will show others in your life that you care about there thoughts, feelings and needs.
Effective communication is all about a positive attitude, open mind and being an active listener. Asking questions and staying cool during conflict will not only show that you care but that you are credible and professional.
These tips can be carried into both your professional and personal life. Relationships go through ups and downs but effective communication is always vital. When you care about something or someone you are going to need to have these skills.
Always give yourself time to process and reflect in order to be mindful and respectful.