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Communication Skills to Improve Relationships

Updated on March 25, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I'm interested in social issues, good relationships, problems of daily living, jobs, exercise and fiction and safer living conditions.


Effectve Communication

In this new age of technology effective communication sometimes goes by the wayside. We send emails and text messages, but that is hardly the same as having a spontaneous conversation with an individual or a group. Going on a job interview or conversing with your doctor is also an important time to communicate effectively.

Effective communication is extremely important in business and in relationships. It is the foundation of all healthy relationship. Staying on topic and listening to the other person is half the battle. As the old saying goes, listen twice as much as you talk.


Effective Communication - Listening

There are several criteria that impact effective communication, such as our listening skills, our nonverbal communication and the words we use to communicate.The ability to accurately receive and interpret messages explains effective listening.

Have you ever been in a conversation with an individual that is texting someone on their phone? The individual is only half list listening at best, and it is frustrating to the speaker.

One of the genealogy meetings I attend has a nice lady, but she talks continually and often during the meeting. I was secretary for the group last year and had to make sure I didn’t sit anywhere near her, or I couldn’t hear to take notes.

It is really important to respect the rights of others as well. Common courtesy and thoughtfulness goes a long way toward making friends and having healthy relationships.

Do you give someone time to complete a sentence before you jump in and interrupt? I have gotten excited and interrupted, so it is something I have to be conscious of when talking.

Have you had the experience of trying to relay information to a person who continues to interrupt you, and your message doesn’t get across? The frustration of these types of conversations is obvious and certainly not effective communication. Listening while looking into the speaker’s eyes shows that you are interested, and that you are truly listening to what they have to say.

The Key to Powerful Leadership Communication

Personal Space


Nonverbal Communication

There are many nonverbal cues that speak volumes. Have you ever had someone speak to you and smile, but when you look in their eyes they are focused elsewhere or sometimes they just have a blank stare? Or, have you been talking to someone while they keep moving away? I guess you assume they are not interested, or you have talked so long they are trying to escape.

We give and receive wordless signals continually when we are talking with another person. Nonverbal communication and listening will let the other person know whether you care or not. It can be confusing to talk with someone when they’re saying one thing, but their body language is sending the opposite message.

Some of the nonverbal communication includes:

  • Facial expressions
  • Gestures, which can mean different things in different cultures
  • Eye contact
  • Posture
  • Tone of voice or how fast someone talks
  • Standing still or moving away from the speaker

Silence can also be considered nonverbal communication, particularly if the other person is expecting some input. I have known some people to use the silent treatment to punish their partner for some perceived wrong, but it seems rather childish to me. Of course, there are times where you might treasure that silence.

We can’t overlook touch, as a firm handshake, a hug, a slight tap on the shoulder or someone grabbing your arm are all very significant.

Another nonverbal aspect is space. Have you ever had someone who stands too close when you’re talking to them and you get this feeling that they are invading your personal space? According to Edward T. Hall's personal reaction bubble, the intimate space for lovers and family is just 1.5 feet. The comfortable social space is 4 feet, while the public space is between four and 25 feet. This is probably more accurate in the United States than it is in other cultures.

Even Babies Communicate

Thank you alibr media
Thank you alibr media | Source

Effective Verbal Communication

Communicating effectively is actually a learned skill, and most of us probably can use some improvement. The benefits of effective communication can definitely improve relationships, while deepening your connection with those you care about. In a larger group effective communication can improve teamwork and decision-making. Learning the tips concerning non-verbal communication is just as important.

Some tips they may help improve your communication skills:

  1. "Pause before responding.
  2. Be trustworthy and honest.
  3. Don't rush communication.
  4. Adapt your ideas to others.
  5. Stay in the moment.
  6. Pay attention to non-verbal cues.
  7. Intend to understand.
  8. Be patient and open-minded.
  9. Follow up after communicating.
  10. Ask for feedback from others."

Spontaneous communication is much more effective than formulaic. Think of someone who’s reading a speech from a paper as compared to someone who is delivering a speech from memory that appears to be from their heart. There is no comparison between the two for the listener. Stay on topic and making sure the ideas you wish to share are understood by the other party.

Ideally, we want to use communication to help us better understand each other, to work out our differences, to build trust and have the ability to solve problems together.

This means listening to the other person’s ideas, even if you don’t agree; then, express your ideas. Obviously both people have to be willing to participate in this manner and leave their tempers somewhere else.

It isn’t always easy and sometimes you just have to “agree to disagree”. We are not clones. and we are not going to look at each situation the same no matter how much we love someone.

3 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills


To sum up effective communication some of the key points include; make eye contact, and nod occasionally when the other individual is making an important point.

Never cross your arms, but just stand with your hands clasped in front of you or at your side. Try not to display nervous tics, such as picking at your nails or wringing your hands as this is very distracting to the person who is speaking.

Try to be clear, concise and stay on topic during the conversation. Be open minded and listen to the other person's point of view. Never be condescending in your replies, as nothing will shut down a conversation any faster.

Your Communication Habits

What bothers you the most about poor communication?

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The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Submit a Comment
  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    3 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi L. Artiste,

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad you found the article helpful.

  • artisteworld profile image

    Liquid Artiste 

    3 weeks ago from Delhi

    Thank you for giving such excellents tips.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    5 months ago from Sunny Florida

    Hi Peggy,

    I couldn't agree with you more. I think courtesy is very important. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    5 months ago from Houston, Texas

    You have given some excellent tips here when it comes to good communication skills. Much of it comes down to common courtesy, doesn't it.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Martie, They say it takes 30 days to change a habit, but I don't know if that is true. I have just worked on being a better listener as that is the most important improvement for me. Thanks so much for your comments and the share.

  • MartieCoetser profile image

    Martie Coetser 

    6 years ago from South Africa

    Pamela, you have hit so many nails on their head... Gosh, if I am not guilty of one, I am guilty of 5 others. This is the kind of hub most, if not all of us, should read at least once a week until every wrong you have mentioned disappears from our source of habits.


  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Jeannie, I really hate to try and talk to someone who is texting at the same time also. I am glad you take an action and set that boundary. I think if more of us acted like you we would have less problems with these people. Thanks for your comments.

  • Jeannieinabottle profile image

    Jeannie Marie 

    6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

    This is such useful information! I am constantly surprised by the people that don't understand texting in the middle of a conversation is rude. I usually just stop talking or walk away. When they accuse me of being rude, I explain how rude their behavior is and how I won't have a conversation with them until they stop. Sigh. I guess this is the way society is now! I hope more people read your hub!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Patricia, I have had to learn to just shut up sometimes, and life is so much better when lived that way. I am glad you enjoyed this hub, and I hope all is well with you also. Thank you for the angels, and more are coming your way as well. God Bless.

  • pstraubie48 profile image

    Patricia Scott 

    6 years ago from North Central Florida

    I love this Pamela.....listening is just that LISTENING....

    you nailed it when you said..."knowing when to shut up!!"

    We do not need to drone on and on when someone is trying to share with us....

    That is so important.

    Thank you for sharing this. I hope all is good in your world.

    Many Angels are on the way to you this morning. ps

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Jo, I can't stand when people start texting during a conversation either. It is very irritating. At least you got your point across. I appreciate your comments.

    Paula, It is so good to hear from you. I am glad you enjoyed this hub and I sure agree with your statements. Thank you so much for your coments.

  • fpherj48 profile image


    6 years ago from Carson City

    OUTSTANDING, Pam! I love your bold text...."It is really important to know when to shut up." !! LOL, Isn't this the truth?! One of my favorite topics: "Communication." You've done an ACE job on this Pam and I'm with you all the way!...UP+++

  • tobusiness profile image

    Jo Alexis-Hagues 

    6 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

    A very interesting article. I almost voted all the above, but there is one habit that annoys and irritates me more than the rest and that is texting while having a conversation. I knew someone who would always walk away in the middle of a conversation, so I would just stop talking and hold my ground, or walk away, he got the message and would come looking for me to find out what I was attempting to say. I don't believe this was done consciously, but it seemed very rude.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dianne, I also believe it leads to success. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 

    6 years ago

    I agree with your list of skills and they will help improve relationships. Your list of nonverbals is also a good piece of information. Learning to communicate is so important and leads to success.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    DableYou, Maybe people do that as they perceive you to be a good listener. You may be a person who is more comfortable talking with one person versus a crowd, and there is nothing wrong woith that. Thank you for your comments.

  • DabbleYou profile image


    6 years ago

    Thanks for really nice tips on how to improve our communication skills and habits. I am the silent type so I do find it hard to communicate well with others. Surprisingly though, many people find it easier to share their secrets with me than with anyone else. :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj, I have been trying to observe people more when I talk as a point of interest and the non-verbal is huge. I hope your book is a huge success, and I know it is probably terrific. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    quildon, I do agree about people being busier and that is a shame. I guess we just have to try to make it a priority. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    6 years ago from south Florida

    I couldn't agree with you more, Pamela, with your points about non-verbal language. Sometimes body language can represent up to 90% of what our listener may hear. The topic is so important that I included an entire chapter devoted to that subject in my book, 'Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So.'

    Great job and voted Up, of course.

  • quildon profile image

    Angela Joseph 

    6 years ago from Florida

    People are so busy these days they barely have time to sit down and have a conversation with their loved ones, where everyone gets a chance to say something while the others listen. Thanks for sharing this important hub. Love the picture of the babies communicating. Voted up and useful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Alicia, I am so glad tRosemary,Rosemay, This is something that I've been working on also and partially why I decided to write this hub. Thank you so much for your comments.hat you enjoyed the hub and I hope it helped helps others as well. Thank you so much for your comments

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Rosemay, Listening more carefully is something I am working on, and I very much appreciate your comments.

  • Rosemay50 profile image

    Rosemary Sadler 

    6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

    This is a very good article Pamela. Good communication is essential for a good relationship. Listening is just as important as getting our message across if not more so.

    'Do you give someone time to complete a sentence before we jump in and interrupt? I have gotten excited and interrupted, so it is something I have to be conscious of when talking. '

    This is something I really have to concentrate on not doing too.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    You've raised some excellent points about the importance of communication and about how to communicate effectively, Pamela. This hub is certainly useful! I found the personal space graphic very interesting, too.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    savvydating, Your words are so true. I find myself avoiding those annoying ones, but, of course, if they are a relative it can be tough. I appreciate your comments.

  • savvydating profile image


    6 years ago

    Amen to the listening thing. Those who fail to listen are tough to talk to. Mostly, they're too busy racing to get their next sentence out, thus others' words remain unheeded. Many people who do this have no idea that they are not the brilliant communicators they think they are. This a good reminder for all of us to fine tune our communications skills, not just because experts say we're supposed to, but because it is the only respectful way to share a conversation and give communication a fighting chance to flourish.

    Up & useful.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Maria, I am not surprised that we see eye to eye as we seem to have so much in common. I think the basics of courtesy have been lost on many levels, but there are those of us that were raised to know better. Thank you so much for your comments. Hugs to you also.

  • marcoujor profile image

    Maria Jordan 

    6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

    Dear Pamela,

    Very thorough and well detailed article on basics that are almost lost arts in today's world of technology and multi-tasking.

    You and I see eye to eye on the basics of courtesy in our communications on all levels...not surprising, dear friend.

    Voted UP and UABI. Excellent writing. Hugs, Maria

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Liz, I agree that communication encompasses all three components and body language is certainly a very important aspect. Thank you so much for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Patty, I am so glad you stopped by as I've missed you on Hubpages, although I am not here very often either. I agree with you and I find it maddening also. You can be at lunch with someone having a conversation and suddenly there texting someone else. Very frustrating! Thanks for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Barber, I absolutely agree with your statement. After I posted this hub I found that Docmo had written an excellent hub on nonverbal skills. You think it's probably good that were writing about it because it seems technology has taken over a large portion of what used to be spontaneous conversation. Thank you for your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Genna, I couldn't agree with you more, which is why I wrote this hub. I think communication particularly with those we love is so very important. I'm glad you liked the hub and I appreciate your comments.

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 

    6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Communication is crucial. It's very important to watch body language as well. You do have to know when to let the other person talk and vice versa. Great hub!!

  • breakfastpop profile image


    6 years ago

    Let's face it, we are fast becoming dinosaurs when it comes to communicating. I believe most people prefer texting to actual live conversations. This way they don't have to really listen or participate. I see this everywhere I go and it is sad and maddening.

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    6 years ago from Central Florida

    Communication must be the topic of the week. This is the second hub I've read on the subject.

    Communication is very important, especially the way we communicate. Good skills are necessary in order to be heard and make a point or just to make the other party feel comfortable.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    The art of listening seems to be falling by the wayside. Yet the art of communication is so very that we seem to forget as technology moves us further into a digital abyss of the impersonal. Good hub! :-)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    DDE, I'm glad you liked the hub. I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    ChitrangadaSharon, Learning each day and trying to improe is the key. I am glad you enjoyed the hub, and I appreciate your comments.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nell Rose, You described some of the problems we all face and it is frustrating to be around people like that. Thanks for your comments.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 

    6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Communication Skills to Improve Relationships, great hub with useful tips in communication skills, you have created an interesting view of such behaviors

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 

    6 years ago from New Delhi, India

    Very nice points made by you about improving communication skills. Some people have amazing communication skills, while some do not have this quality. When I was young, I had to work upon this. But then you always learn something new each day.

    Thanks for this engaging hub. Voted up!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    6 years ago from England

    Hi Pamela, I totally agree with all you have said here. My ex partner used to jump in just as I was speaking, and i know he never actually listened to a word I said, its so rude. I used to study psychology in the evenings, and there was a woman who would not let anyone else get a word in, so yes communication is so important, and they should always watch out for the body language too, voted up and shared, nell

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Billy. Thanks for the tip. I agree that good communication is essential for a good relationship. I am still learning to be a better listener and have more patience with others. The poll list were all things I don't like, so I figured many people probably feel the same way. I appreciate your comments as always.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    6 years ago from Olympia, WA

    That was an easy poll. I instantly voted for all of the above. By the way, check your spelling on the poll. :)

    Communication in a relationship is so crucial, something I had to learn the hard way...but learn it I did.

    Great points here Pamela!


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