3 Ways to Communicate Better

Why is Communication Important?

Communication is key to how relationships work. I’m not just talking about boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, but ALL relationships. Many disagreements stem from the lack of effective communication and listening skills. Both of these go hand in hand. It does not matter how clear I am with my words, if you aren’t receptive or aren’t listening to what I am saying, it is just as much of a waste of time as it would be talking to a wall.

 

Why is it hard to communicate?

 

One reason is that we assume people follow our mental wavelengths.  We think they should understand what we are thinking and what direction our thoughts are going. Even people who have been married for many years have disconnects because one assumes that the other should be in tune with their thoughts, and many times they are. However, we are human and sometimes we can miss the ball and connection.

 

Another reason is that people become tired of explaining their thought process, especially if they’ve already stated it. I remember growing up people would say “I’m not a recorder. I don’t repeat myself.”  In this case, I assume you want to have miscommunication issues because you aren’t willing to be patient enough to help people understand your point of view. If they don’t hear you the first time or understand your intentions initially, why do you think saying it the same way will help them better understand you?  Sometimes it is a volume issue. Perhaps this person is hard of hearing and cannot understand what you are saying in its entirety. Other times, when you thought you were clear, you may not have been as clear as you thought you were to that individual. 

 

Sometimes you have to sit back and think, if there was something you did not communicate effectively, did you explain it appropriately?  Were you guys on the same page? These are things that we have to think of when communicating with others. Add a bit of patience to your communication basket and you will be an effective communication genius!

 

3 Ways to Communicate Better

 

1.       Ask For Feedback

I am one of those people who hate having people repeat themselves because I sometimes cannot hear people. Not sure if I’m losing my hearing or what, but I recognize that it can be annoying to have to repeat oneself. It can also be annoying if you are speaking too low or not phrasing your sentence correctly. 

When telling someone what to do, or giving directions, don’t be afraid to ask them if they understood what you were saying. Many people will just nod and move on if you do not seek feedback because they do not want to be frustrating or appear to not understand the topic. They may not understand based on how the information was provided to them, not because they lack the cognitive function of understanding someone. A simple “Hey did you understand that? I don’t mind repeating it”, is all that is needed. Some people are embarrassed to have to ask  you to elaborate or repeat yourself, when in actuality they truly want to just do what is asked of them.

2.       Repeat back what was explained

Good communication skills includes good listening skills. Have you ever provided someone an explanation for a process, but they are looking at their phone or doing some other distracting habit, while assuring you they are listening? Then after you have completed the discussion 10 minutes later they come back asking for the whole speech again? Frustrating? I know!

If I am not paying attention to you, how can I confirm what you said and what you wanted? Repeating back what was said, helps confirm to the speaker that you heard what they said and you understood what they wanted. It also is a great net for catching inconsistencies in what you heard. This means if you misunderstood something or the communicator misspoke,  you have the opportunity to hammer it out right then and there.

Don’t feel bad if you have to stop a meeting or a conversation to confirm what you heard. Too many people will let a whole hour lecture go by and afterwards are more confused because instead of clarifying what they heard, they chose to just nod and move on, causing more communication issues down the line.

3.       Shut up and listen

Have you ever been in a meeting and the speaker is trying to drive home a point and someone in the audience keeps interrupting them every time they are trying to make a point? If the listener had just sat and allowed the speaker to finish, many of their questions, comments, and concerns would have been addressed by just shutting the F up and listening. 

Listening is an art because today everyone wants to put their two cents in. They want to cut people off and they don’t want to listen to the entire phrase because they already know how they will rebut, when in actuality the way they will rebut would have been addressed had they listened.

Or their rebuttal will sound ridiculous because they missed the overall point trying to get their point across. Listen to what people are actually saying as it could bring you the information that you need. If after you hear them out, and your issues weren’t resolved, then ask what you need to ask. The point is that you take the time to hear instead of over talking the speaker. That won’t help your argument and will make you look more combative if anything.

 

What issues do you have with communication? How do you ensure you communicate well?

 

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