The Key to Better Communication
Communication is key in practically everything. Have you ever gotten frustrated because your significant other didn’t pick up on your hints? Have you ever had a great idea, but couldn’t manage to get it heard? Have you ever had problems with people not responding to important emails? If you could relate to any of those scenarios, you’re in luck! It’s a lot easier than you think to improve your communication skills.
Subtlety is dead. Seriously, it just leads to misunderstandings. If you want something or want someone to do something just ask. Nobody is a mind reader. People appreciate it if you just tell them what you want and expect instead of hinting at it. You might feel like you’re being rude, but a majority of people would prefer to have clear instructions.
This applies to everything, even spouses! So next time your birthday or anniversary is coming up just tell your significant other what you want. They’ll appreciate it, I know my husband does!
Seriously, be painfully clear! Leave no doubts about what it is that you’re saying. What is common sense to you may not be to another. This doesn’t mean you start talking down to someone or treating them like a child. Say exactly what you mean while still being respectful.
This applies to giving feedback too. Don’t be vague, if there is something that needs improvement, let them know. Keep all criticisms constructive! Just remember what our moms taught us: If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.
Change How You Word Things
This one is huge. By trying to be polite, your meaning can be lost. The wording is so important in this age of digital communication! Texting and emailing can be difficult because you need to draw people in and make them see what you mean, without you actually being there.
If you’re very polite it can sometimes be taken as disinterest. So, if you’re trying to get someone to like something you want them to by being polite, they might misinterpret your intentions and assume that you don’t really care about that thing.
You need to phrase things in a way that shows your feelings. If you don’t show any emotion in your words your correspondence will feel boring and awkward. Don’t be afraid to be a real person, even when being professional, be personable!
Don’t Be Afraid to be Assertive
Nothing gets a point across by being assertive. There will always be those people that talk over you or disregard you. While it’s not guaranteed to always work, usually people will listen when you step up and show you mean business.
Being assertive doesn’t mean being in someone’s face. Confidence goes a long way to help with assertiveness. Make sure you seem confident, even if you’re not, and make your point!
Communication is a two-way street! You can’t expect to be heard if you don’t listen to others. Let the other person speak and listen. I mean seriously listen because ultimately people want to know that you care enough to listen intently.
Don’t immediately jump in and respond when someone is talking to you. Think over your responses and make sure you’re contributing something of value. When someone wants to talk, don’t give them advice unless they ask for it!
Your posture and expression can say more than you do. If someone is leaning back with their arms crossed you would probably assume that they are bored or disinterested, even if they’re telling you that you did a good job on something. You might even think that they are being sarcastic.
So, your posture means a lot and you should make sure that it matches what you’re saying!
This is an extension of body language. Stay positive and make sure to smile. Even when you’re talking on the phone because that smile comes through in your voice. Facial expressions can make or break a conversation. If you’re rolling your eyes or frowning it shows a bad attitude, and no one wants to communicate with someone unpleasant.
Consider Who You’re Talking to
When you’re hanging out with friends and family you may use slang terms and really casual language. That makes sense because they are people you can be relaxed around. However, if you try to use slang and very casual language with your boss it would probably at least get you some weird looks. Unless your boss specifically asks for a casual environment, keep a professional and semi-formal tone!
A few small changes can make a huge difference in your communication. Make sure your message is clear and your body language is saying the same thing your words are! Always listen when someone is talking if you want to be listened to in return. If you have any tips for improving communication, let me know in the comments!!