What makes good communication?
Have you ever wondered whether you are a good communicator? Good communication can be the difference between failure and success and research has shown that being able to communicate well is more likely to ensure success than academic qualifications or past work experience.
So what do you need to do in order to achieve good communication?
Listening is an important part of communication and it is so underrated. How can you meet the needs of others and be effective if you aren’t really paying attention? Reflective listening means you really listen (instead of half listening whilst formulating your response) and reflect back to the person what you have heard. This way you ensure there are no misunderstandings. Listen well and try not to interrupt.
Being passive isn’t a good form of communication as a passive person typically has the attitude – ‘your needs ahead of mine’, aggressive communication hints at – ‘my needs before yours’ and both of these styles can lead to resentment and resistance. Being assertive comes from a place of balance – a ‘win/win’ attitude where both parties get their needs met. Being assertive initially means there will be far less problems later on. Get into the habit of asking for what you want without guilt or fear.
3. Being open minded and non judgemental
Communication works out best when you are willing to listen to the needs and wishes of the other person. If you start the communication process with barriers and many preconceived ideas, communication is less likely to be used to its full advantage and both parties will come away feeling frustrated and unheard. Be willing to listen first and tell yourself not to engage in any ‘knee-jerk’ reactions until you have had time to process the information. Think before reacting…always.
4.Being clear of your goal/s
When you enter into communication with another person, it helps to have a clear idea of where you would like to go with the conversation and what your aims are. This is especially true if you will be up against someone who is likely to put up resistance. For example – a serious relationship discussion where you want to discuss your needs and find solutions or asking for a raise at work. Be clear and be repetitive with your message where necessary. Some times, people need to hear the same message a few times over before it actually registers for them.
5. Positive body language
You are far more likely to get a positive response from someone else if you display ‘open’ approachable body language. Are you making eye contact, shoulders back and smiling? Do you seem friendly? Point your body towards the person you are talking to and be aware of your non verbal communication. Non verbal communication makes up far more of our entire message than verbal communication does – approximately 70%!
When we are able to empathise and put ourselves ‘in someone else’s shoes’, we are more adept at meeting their needs as well as our own. If you lack empathy, get into the habit of identifying and labelling your own emotions as a starting point. We need to be able to identify and label our own emotions before we can understand them in others.
7. Taking responsibility for yourself
We are just as responsible for effective and good communication as the person we are talking to. Take responsibility for your part in getting messages across and don’t enter into the blame game or victim mode when you feel misunderstood. Some people may not ‘get you’ but don’t give up. We all have different ways of communicating and differing priorities but this is what makes life rich and interesting.
Use the above tips to help you towards good communication and you will be likely to see an increase in how others respond to you.