How you get your point across determines how far you will go in your career and relationships. Here are some tips to improve your communication skills.
One of the most common reasons for an exasperated conversation is the perceptual threat.More commonly explained as hearing what you want to hear.While most of us tend to tune out things we dont want to hear,we interpret things in a manner convenient and palatable to us.Often,constructive and well meaning criticism is lost in the process.The key is to keep your mind open towards the information and as far as possible,process it with the same intention as it is intended.
BETWEEN THE LINES
Trying to understand subtexts in a conversation is key to its effectiveness.Its not enough to process words.More is communicated through body language,speed and tonality of the voice,etc.Some of the most important parts of any conversation are not openly articulated.Sieving non-verbal signals and subtexts then becomes important.Arguing partners react to each others spoken word without correlating it to other signals that are communicated.Watch out for hand gestures,facial expressions,volume etc.and be observant of all the signals your partner is sending your way before reacting.
IT RUNS DEEP
Everything that is said carries a substantial emotional weight.Before engaging someone in a conversation,look out for their reaction to see if they want to be communicating with you at the moment. Many times,because we have something to say,we assume the other person would be willing to listen.Yeah,yeah or Okay or monosyllabic answers are usually a good indicators of distraction and disinterest.One needs to be watchful of the emotional quotient of what is being said.If someone says,I am feeling fine in a low pitched voice,or Nothing is wrong in a stern,flat,low-toned voice,it usually indicates a contradicting message.
RESPECT IS KEY
Everyone has a point of view,and it may not always be aligned to yours.But for an effective communication,it is essential to respect the person you are interacting with.If you dont,it shows through immediately,no matter how subtle your attempts are.Acknowledge the persons background,expertise and capabilities.Even if its a colleague you dislike,respect them for where they are.
Looking at the speaker in the eye is a reassuring way of letting the person know you are there and listening.You dont have to stare like you are dazed,but just maintain a long enough gaze and a reaffirming nod to let them know that you arent zoning out.
Another common mistake we often make is not being able to say exactly what we mean and then suffering the consequences.What sounds right in our mind may not be put across with the right set of words.So it is important to think about what you are going to say and how it might sound to someone else.Very often sarcasm or a harmless joke ends up being misinterpreted since the person listening isnt in the same mental space as you.Be aware of your audiences mood.
ANSWER THE QUESTION
To get the right answers,ask the right questions.Being a better communicator requires you to know the right questions to ask to be able to forward the conversation in the right direction.Its also essential to delicately frame probing questions since people are usually defensive about revealing certain information.Take care especially while dealing with someone with whom you share a formal relationship like a colleague or extended family etc.