Pay Attention: Tips for Effective Communication
When communicating with people, we just want to feel seen, heard, and understood, however, certain types of communication styles cause these objectives to easily get lost in translation. This blog will provide tips and tools to improve communication with the people you care about.
Communication is a two-way street because it takes a collaborative effort. Communication does not only entail what we say and hear, but we also communicate through our nonverbals. Nonverbal communication is when we express or react to what we are thinking and feeling through body language.
There are a lot of positive nonverbal cues one can present, while others put a strain on the conversations. This can be seen through eye-rolling, facial expressions, or even a lack of eye contact.
Communication is also the way we verbalize or articulate our words about what we are thinking and feeling. Problems tend to arise when these words are used in conjunction with certain tones of voice, sarcasm, or just using hurtful words.
Tips and tools to improve communication:
As mentioned earlier, communication takes two people actively participating in the conversation. This means there is an equal amount of both sharing and listening. It is important to be conscious of what role you typically take on (talker or listener) and work to achieve an equal balance.
When I was in grade school a teacher taught me to only raise my hand once they were done talking, rather than during. The reason was to encourage kids to listen fully to what was being said and not think about what they were going to say next. Obviously, we are not raising our hands in adult conversations, so I like to encourage people to take a second to reflect on what the other just said before jumping into their response.
It is important to establish a set of ground rules for yourself and with the person, with whom you are communicating. This could be setting personal boundaries for yourself such as counting to 10 when things are getting escalated, taking a few deep breaths, or making a commitment to yourself to not raise your voice.
When having a conversation with another person you can preface the conversation by establishing ground rules. For example addressing triggering words or phrases do not use throughout the conversation, agreeing on a stopping point if the conversation starts to be unproductive and a break is needed, or even reminding one another you’re on the same team and aren’t working against each other.