Communication is a crucial part of our lives. It is the foundation of our relationships at home, and it can play a crucial role in our success at work too. If you feel as if your communication skills have slipped recently, here are some ways to improve it and get back on track with the people around you this year.
Stop and listen
Honestly, one of the best ways to can be better at understanding people and communication with them is by saying nothing at all. You need to learn how to listen to what someone else is thinking and feeling, and be able to react accordingly. Next time you are talking to someone, stop talking about yourself and let them speak for a while. It might be the only way you will see things from their point of view and learn more about who they really are as a person.
Empathise and Reflect
If you have ever been to see a therapist or seen how they talk on the TV, you might notice that they will sit and listen to their patients and then almost relay what they have heard back to the patient. This isn’t them trying to be patronising, it is a way of them understanding exactly what you are saying and why you are saying it. If you often seem to misunderstand people’s intentions, it might be worth trying to listen and then relay what you have heard to confirm that you have done so correctly. If the person finds it annoying, simply tell them why you are doing it.
In the workplace
When you are in a workplace, communication is incredibly important if you are to complete your work to the best quality and build your skills in the business. Many companies have a weird relationship with communication, it might be worth talking to your boss and asking them to introduce a communication plan like Conversation Piece or to have monthly company meetings to discuss what each department is doing. Everyone is working towards the same goal so it would be useful for everyone to know what’s going on.
Be an open book
Always be open and honest with your partner and your family. Honesty and openness is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and you need to make sure that you really work towards sharing everything with your loved ones. If you are feeling down for any reason you need to let your loved ones know because they will be able to help you. It will help your relationships grow stronger and you will both be happier people in the long run for it.
Pay attention to nonverbal signals
Remember that a lot of the communication you give off will not be to do with the words which come out of your mouth. A lot of the time it is the way we say something that counts the most, not what we say.
Think about your body language when you are talking to people. If you cross your arms over yourself and don’t make eye contact, you are showing that you are closed off and that you don’t want this conversation to happen. Even if you don’t mean to make the signals, they are always there and can damage your relationships. Try to be aware of how you stand and the tone of your voice when you speak to people.
Think of the here and now
It can be really easy when you are in the midst of an argument to come up with something that the other person said or did five years ago- but this is not going to help your case and it will likely make matters much worse for both of you. Leave the past in the past and only focus on what is happening right here and now. If you have gotten into an argument about where you want to eat, you don’t need to bring up anything else in your lives. Focus on the issue and try to come up with a compromise instead. Work on the issue productively and you will be able to make up from an argument much quicker and get on with your day in peace.
Remember that your partner or family members will not always be in the mood to talk. They might have had a stressful day or they are struggling with another issue. Rather than be frustrated with the silence, offer to put on a movie and buy in a takeaway. Show that you respect the fact they aren’t in a talkative mood and this will strengthen your relationships.