1. Build Your Self Awareness
When you are communicating with someone, are you aware of how you are communicating with them? What does and doesn’t work with your style of communication? If you don’t know, gather feedback so you can assess your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding yourself and your personal preferences will go a long way toward consciously improving how you communicate. Keep in mind that an effective communicator adjusts his/her communication style to the needs of the audience and also takes into account the subject being discussed. For example, can you anticipate that your message may trigger certain emotions in the other person (e.g. anger, sadness, etc.)? If so, be prepared to be flexible in your thinking as you may need to adjust your communication style several times throughout the conversation to allow for de-escalation of certain emotions that may surface when communicating about sensitive topics.
2. Keep Others in Mind
No matter what situation you are facing, always start out with the other person in mind. Consider their perspective, sensitivities and how they may receive your words. Effective interpersonal communication can only happen if you put effort into understanding where the other person may stand relative to your position and be willing to adjust your communication style as needed.
3. Focus on Listening First
Communication is always a two-way street. In a conversation, try to spend more time listening to the other person. It’s easy to go into a conversation focusing on your thoughts and what you want to say. Even when the other person is speaking, some are not listening but rather thinking about their response. Really try to actively listen to what the other person is saying both verbally and through their body language. An effective strategy is to restate in a summary format what you heard, back to the person to confirm you understood the message intended. This also allows you to adapt your communication style based on how the other person reacts to various topics being discussed, for a more successful and productive conversation.
Here at Behavioral Compass Group, we work with individuals (including, senior executives, coaches, etc.), couples, and families in regard to improving their interpersonal communication skills. We believe that everyone should feel heard, understood and be able to truly enjoy health mutual exchanges in the relationships in their lives. If you are looking to improve your communication skills, call us today at 860.470.3649 to schedule an appointment! We look forward to working with you…