Posts Tagged ‘communication’

Communication Skills

November 29, 2016

Communication is all around us. Whether we are actively engaged in conversation, listening intently for a newborn’s cry, or rolling our eyes in exasperation, messages are being sent, received, and processed every moment. While communication is somewhat instinctive, effective communication is a learned skill.

Mastering the skills of communication may improve relationship at home and work, aid in decision-making and streamline problem solving. Additionally, strong communication is beneficial when difficult or potentially controversial messages are necessary. There are many strategies for sharpening your communication skills. Consider these principles to help guide your speaking skills.

IMPROVING COMMUNICATION

  • Be assertive – Being assertive eliminates bullying and may even decrease stress. A clear response allows you to say “no” when needed and avoid too many commitments.
  • Focus on facts – Begin your conversation by describing what you see or hear in a situation. Be specific and avoid exaggerations and generalizations because smooth talking will not replace general knowledge.
  • Avoid trigger words – There are certain words it is helpful to avoid. For example, it is much easier to exaggerate when emotional, so eliminating “always” and “never” will help to decrease the emotion behind those statements.
  • Stay present – When you are participating in a conversation, be aware of your distractions and watch your body language. If you are constantly checking your phone or watch, you are no longer communicating your attention.

There are many benefits to improving your communication skills. Being able to clearly articulate thoughts, feelings, and needs demonstrates a level of self-worth. You also might notice a genuine enjoyment for your job or other roles in life with improved communication skills. Improving and fine-tuning effective communication skills can be hard work, but the results are worth the effort.

Being Assertive

June 12, 2014

To get ready for difficult conversations – asking a spouse to change an annoying habit, a supervisor to change his/her mind about something important to you, or a family member to reconsider a hurtful statement – use the following steps.

Think about how you’ll feel during the conversation. If you think you’ll feel tense or anxious, you might prepare by practicing some calming techniques.

Think about how the other person will feel. If the person will feel caught off guard, she may become angry or defensive. Be prepared.

Think about the different ways you can express your thoughts. Experts say statements that begin with “I feel” work best. These “I feel” statements can help you stay focused on your own feelings and your responsibility for them rather than on attacking the other person. Note: Be sure to use words that describe your feelings – “I feel hurt when you call a name” – rather than using the “I feel” statement as a setup for an attack – “I feel like you’re a jerk when you call me a name.”

Think about what the other person might say in return. This will help you think of other ways to effectively communicate what you want to say.

Follow through by having the conversation. Many people go through these steps only to back out at the last minute. But not having the conversation can leave you feeling bitter, hurt or wronged. Be assertive. Give yourself permission to express your feelings and have that conversation.