5 Effective Communication Skills to Bolster Your Relationship
In last week’s article, “Why are relationships so damn hard,” I told you guys how effective communication is a must to make a relationship easier. We discussed how difficult relationships can be and also how it will take maturity to ease the difficulty of relationships. As I wrote that article, it came to me that many people just simply do not know how to effectively communicate in their relationships with people. This is for all types of relationships, both platonic and romantic. Have you ever misinterpreted someone’s text? Or, have you ever not being able to fully understand the call-center representative you spoke with that had a heavy accent? Perhaps you became frustrated with them because of the lack of understanding? Bad communication skills in a relationship can have the same effect as these two examples. Let’s talk more about it.
1. Listening Involves all of Your Senses
Everyone has a set of ears, well most of us do, but what if I told you that listening is not just done with your ears. They are done with your eyes, your mouth, pretty much all of your body. Effective communication involves effective listening. My partner tells me that I don’t show that I am listening when he is talking. In my mind, I hear him so yes, I am listening. But in his mind, if my hands are engaged in something or my eyes are not engaged in the conversation then I am not effectively listening to him. As much as I hate to be wrong, he is right. Effective communication requires you to fully engage the person you are talking to.
2. Non-Verbal Communication is Just as Loud as Verbal
This is why eyes are important and that you can’t just listen with your ears. You listen with your eyes by paying attention to the one you are speaking with. Take notice in their body language. Do they appear nervous or emotional? Are they about to cry? Are they happy? These cues will help you be more effective in your response to what they are saying.
3. Coherency and Tone
“Bae, can you grab my shoes, now!!!!! :)” I just said that with a smile, but when you read it, what type of emotion do you interpret from it? In writing, we know that punctuation help to define a sentence. In verbal communication, your tone acts as punctuation in your sentences. Be clear in what you are saying and how you say it. Don’t use a tone that is not in line with the nature of your conversation and never use a tone that will cause emotional walls to come up in the person that you are talking to.
4. Acknowledge and Affirm
Break the nasty habit of listening to respond. The best way to show a person that you are listening to them is to acknowledge what they have said and affirm whether you are on the same page or not. When you go into a conversation, especially an argument, and you are only allowing the other person to speak so that you can rebut what they are saying then you are not effectively communicating. In arguments, there is a breakdown in commonality and the goal is to get back on the same page concerning an issue. When you are in a disagreement with someone, employ effective communication skills to ensure the argument can be resolved. You do this by listening to the other person’s points of view, acknowledge what they have said, and then tell them how you interpret what they have said so it shows that you have heard them. Do this by saying, “What I hear you saying is…” Afterwards, speak your point of view with your understanding of their point of view in mind. Or do the next tip.
5. Ask Questions
There are 7 billion people on the planet and we all have our own unique way of viewing this world and that is because we all have our very own life experiences. This means that you will not always understand what someone you are communicating with you is saying. You will not always understand their point of view or the way they’ve processed the same scene that you are processing. When the one you are communicating with says something that you do not understand, it should not be your first reaction to lash out at them. No. You should acknowledge what they have said, affirm what you are able to understand and ask questions about what you do not understand so that you can gain clarity.
There are so many other ways to execute effective communication skills. These are just a few. Two people who know how to effectively communicate their ideas and feelings with clarity and also know how to process what they’ve heard with clarity will have a great relationship.