What is Effective Communication?
Skills of Effective Communicaton
Communication to be effective requires an individual to be attentive, to listen carefully, attempt to see the other person’s point of view, respond appropriately, and sometimes admit they are wrong. These are just a few of the important skills. Good communication skills can be learned.
Webster’s Dictionary definition of communication:
- “An act or instance of transmitting
- Information transmitted or conveyed
- A verbal or written message
- A process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs or communication; also the exchange of information.”
These definitions are fine, but they don’t tell us very much about effective communication. It is worth our time to learn how to communicate more effectively and perhaps more importantly, learn how to be an active listener. Epicetetus stated “We have two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
What is Business Communication?
Communicating effectively is essential in business. Business communication skills can make the difference between being successful and being a failure. Poor communication in business has been proven to reduce or weaken productivity, which may lead to anger or lack of trust of the company, manager or employee.
Good communication in business means being able to initiate relationships, build and maintain strong relationships. Having a basic understanding of human behavior and learning to listen carefully are also essential components to building strong business relationships.
Sometimes it is the little things that are so important. Using proper speech, leaving slang terms at home make a better impression. Listening attentively and not interrupting is sometimes difficult, but also very important. Sometimes, you must bite you tongue and when you may not agree with your boss or with a client. Be diplomatic and success will be your reward.
How Much do You Remember?
In “Communication Basics” Kathy Walker stated that we only hear half is what is said to us and we only understand one half of that. In addition, we only believe half of that and remember only half of that. If that is true, people spend a lot of time talking to another person who will only remember a very small percentage of what was said.
Skills of Communication
For personal relationships to be healthy and grow, good communication is essential. Several components are very important, which include trust; active listening and being open minded, which means giving the other person a chance to explain without quickly becoming angry or defensive.Stay involved in the relationship,
Direct, honest communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Have those difficult conversations to resolve problems when the need arises. Ignoring problems is like the elephant in the living room, while the couple pretends everything is normal. Stuffing emotions is unhealthy, and sometimes a mouse becomes a mountain, due to dwelling but not resolving a problem. Trust is the basis in every good relationship with a lover or a good friend.
Maintain friendships with other people as well. One person cannot fulfill all of your needs and friendships fill in those gaps where your interest in something may be different from that of your mates.
Helpful Book on Relationships
Most people think that poor communication is the reason why so many relationships end, but it's actually the way we learn to think about our partners and our problems that kills trust, erodes intimacy, and cripples communication.
Tips to Improve Communication
There are different types of communication such as verbal, written, and body language and each one is important.
- Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation, which matches the advice in the preceding paragraph. Eye contact is absolutely one of the most important components because it lets the other person know you are involved and listening.
- Be aware of your body language. Sit in a relaxed fashion without your arms crossed in front of you. The look on your face should match your words. Building rapport is easier if you also mirror the other person’s body language.
- Ask questions if you have any doubt as to what the other person is trying to convey. Don’t make assumptions. If you are clear on what is being conveyed to you, then you can respond appropriately.
- Own your words. Use words like “I”, “me” and also own up to mistakes. The way to build trust is to be completely honest, and if you’ve made a mistake own up to it and apologize.
- Respond, but don’t react. If you react with anger the other person will immediately put up their defenses. The chances of resolving any problem diminish dramatically when one person gets angry. Often this shuts down communication completely. Remember once something is said you can’t un-ring the bell. The damage is done, despite any apology.
The Undisputed Truth "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (1971)
Effective communication is not that difficult if you use intellect over emotion. Practice the tips listed above and you will be surprised how they can improve a relationship. Often we fall into patterns of expecting the worst and reacting before we even know the whole story. Trust is something that is earned, so honesty is essential in any communication. Talking to each other will strengthen your relationship, so it is certainly worthwhile to make the effort.
Do you think your communication with your partner is effective and healthy?
© 2012 Pamela Oglesby