Effective Communication


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How we communicate with others is very important.  We are all capable of influencing the actions of others around us.  It is just a matter of using it to our benefit or disadvantage. Here are some important points to learn when speaking to other people.

Our physical actions express our mental attitude.  If we are in a situation that is going to escalate into an argument the best way is to lower our tone of voice.  Keep it soft and this will calm the other speaker and encourage them to keep their voice soft too.  If both speakers shout at each other, it will just escalate into an argument.  We tend to mirror behaviour.  If someone smiles at us we smile back.  When we are enthusiastic it gives other people confidence.  A confident handshake shows we are feeling confident.

Set the stage on how we want our conversation to develop.  If we want to be informal, start off informal and if we want to be more formal, start formal.  Do not put on an act. If we do, this means we do not think highly of ourselves.  Every time we judge, people will judge us.  Never use negative talk, people do not like it, we are also setting ourselves up for a negative conversation.

It is important to develop an attractive personality using acceptance, approval and appreciation.  The first is acceptance.  This is very important in all relationships. Accepting people as they are will give us the power and freedom to change our behaviour for the better.  We will never develop close relationships with other people if we do not accept them as they are.  Approval allows us to find something in others worth approving.  People love to gain approval because it means they have something in them that we like.  Appreciation allows us to value other people.  People love to be recognised for their worth.

Being able to express ourselves in words is the secret to happiness.  When we do this well we are able to express our desires, disappointments and ideas to other people.  When speaking to people, do not worry about being perfect.  It is just about having a conversation with someone.  People often worry about being dull and boring in a conversation.  If we do not try too hard, we will probably discover that we are being a really interesting conversationalist.  Asking questions about where people are from or if they have a family, gives them the chance to talk about themselves. We should ask further questions on the facts they provide us with.  For example, if they say they have children, we can ask them, ‘How many?’ and ‘What are their names?’ Save talking about ourselves until we are asked.  Finding things we have in common creates a bond.  Keep the conversation positive and do not tease the other speaker.  It can be a fun way of showing affection, but it can damage someones self-esteem.  Teasing is only effective with someone we know really well.

Listening to others is a very effective form of communication.  It makes the speaker feel that we are interested in them.  They will also tell us what they want and we learn what they are like as a person.  If we know what they want, need and understand who they are, we can deal with them effectively.  If we listen to people, it increases their self-esteem and pays them a great compliment that we are genuinely interested in them.

There are times that arise when we need to get others to accept our viewpoint.  Do not use pressure by ridicule.  Listen to their ideas first, we need to remember to not be pushy with our ideas.  Take time to pause before answering.  It lets the speaker know we are really thinking about what they are saying.  Acknowledge other peoples ideas and find some point where we can both agree.  Be accurate in stating our case and do not exaggerate.  Agree with their argument and change the picture by showing them new information if they do not agree.

Compliment people, it helps us get along with others and we must make sure we are sincere about it.  It does not matter how big or small.  Also, thank them.  It makes people realise how much we appreciate them. When we look for good things in others it boosts our own happiness.  It helps us see people in a more positive way and makes us more tolerant and considerate towards others.

Criticism is used when it is necessary.  It must be constructive and done in privacy.  Do it in a kind way by highlighting things they do well and how they can do something better. The act has to be criticised, not the person.  Ask them for cooperation and correct only once.  Finish in a way that lets them feel we know they can do it and do it well.

Les Giblin, 2001. The Art Of Dealing With People. (Chapters four to eleven), Edition. Les Giblin.

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