If everyone was able to understand exactly what you were trying to say each and every time you were communicating, you would certainly encounter less friction in your interactions. Unfortunately, clear, effective communication isn’t always as simple as we take it to be.
The good news though, is that, like anything else, communication can be improved to help strengthen your relationships, your business partnerships, and your social interactions.
How to Communicate Effectively
Effective communication is one of the cornerstones of a lasting relationship. Without it, you will inevitably find your relationship on troubled waters.
In order to improve the communication that takes place in any relationship, try these following things.
1. Talk Face to Face
Texts, phone calls, and emails are great for convenience and staying in touch when you’re apart, but for serious, useful communication you are going to want to be face-to-face with your partner. Take time to talk with them in-person, and avoid becoming too reliant on technology as a means of communicating.
2. Say “We”
You and your partner are a team, and your word choice needs to convey that. Saying “we” instead of “you” or “I” can also help keep what you say from coming across as critical or aggressive since you are directing it at both of you.
3. Be Honest
A relationship is not the place for purposefully confusing your partner or playing mind games with them. When the goal is to communicate as clearly as possible, you need to be as upfront and honest as possible at all times – even when it is difficult.
Whether you are communicating with your boss or communicating with your employees, good communication is essential in order for a workplace to run smoothly and efficiently.
4. Read Over Your Messages Before You Send Them
Far too often people get in too big of a hurry in the workplace. They will quickly type out and hit send on a message before they have taken the time to read over it carefully. A simple reading, though, might have shown them errors that could cause the message to be misconstrued. Before you send out any email or memo, take the time to analyze it and make sure it is clearly communicating your intended message.
5. Follow Up
Sometimes in business, you are going to have to follow up with people in order to get your message across.
People are busy, and they may not take your message as seriously as they should unless you mention it to them again. If possible, follow up communications should always take place in-person.
Finally, social interactions are often the situations where communications get misunderstood the most. Perhaps it’s the lighthearted nature of these situations where no one is really giving their full focus to the speaker, or perhaps it’s the fact that social interactions often have so many speakers at one time. Here are a few ways you can communicate more clearly in social interactions.
6. Be a Good Listener
One common problem with the communication that takes place in social interactions is that everyone present wants to be the speaker and no one really wants to be the listener. By carefully listening to what others are saying, though, you can ensure that your input is more relevant to the conversation at hand and thus more likely to be well-received.
7. Let it Pass
Have you ever been in a social interaction where you think of something really clever or important to say, but once you actually get the chance to speak the conversation has shifted? It may be tempting to interject your comment anyway in instances such as this, and many people often do.
However, the comment will rarely ever carry the same weight after the conversation has shifted to something else, and it is likely to be misunderstood. It is better to let it pass and keep up with the flow of conversation.
8. Practice Body Language
Body language is important in all communication scenarios, but especially in social interactions. Keep your eyes on the person who is speaking, nod and smile appropriately, and show them that you are engaged lest they get the impression that you aren’t interested in what they have to say.
When it is your turn to speak, don’t be afraid to use body language such as eye contact and gestures to command the attention of your audience. The closer they pay attention to what you say the more likely they are to understand what it is you are trying to get across.
In almost every aspect of life, communicating effectively and clearly is vitally important. Some people are natural communicators, while others struggle to translate their thoughts in a way that those listening will understand.
Most all of us, though, have room for improvement. By putting a little effort into your communication skills, you can improve the quality of both your personal, your social, and your business interactions.
Do you have any tips for effective communication I might have missed? Share them in the comments. Learn your true potential for leadership and communication from this 60-second leadership quiz.