The Key to Effective Communication
Communication is essential in order to develop healthy, strong and supportive relationships. In order to establish these types of relationships it’s important to use effective communication skills. Here are a list of important communication skills to keep in mind when engaging in conversations with others.
Be an active listener.
- We have two ears so we can listen twice as much as we speak.
- Be mindful of your body language (maintain an open and upright posture) and tone, nod to show that you’re engaged in the conversation, and be sure to make eye contact.
For important conversations, set aside uninterrupted time to speak with the other person.
- Make sure there are no distractions present, turn off the TV, put away phones, stop engaging in any tasks, provide your undivided attention to the speaker.
- This allows the speaker to feel that what they have to say is important.
Use reflective listening statements to demonstrate understanding such as “What I’m hearing you say is…” or “It sounds like…”.
Respond without judgment and focus on listening rather than thinking of what you want to say next.
Validate the other person’s feelings even if you may not agree to show acknowledgement of their perspective.
Be honest! If you’re not sure of what to say or how to feel then say that.
Attempt to find common ground or resolution through compromise.
Walk away when conversations become intense or emotional, it allows the space for those involved to compose themselves and return to the conversation in a calmer state.
Form open ended questions that encourage elaborate responses as opposed to just yes or no, these can include “How did you feel when…” or “Can you tell me more about…?”.
Use “I’ messages to avoid placing blame, it allows for the speaker to take responsibility for their feelings.
- “I feel….when you…because…” Then follow up with “I need…” to let the listener know what you need from them moving forward.