Good communication techniques can greatly help any relationship. I know this to be true from my own experience. Because I am a quiet person, I have struggled with being a good communicator; however, when I put communication techniques into practice my relationships with all of my friends and family are so much better. If you find communicating difficult, or if you are constantly fighting with someone you care about, using the following communication techniques will help you communicate better and build strong relationships. As you will see, these techniques are surprisingly simple, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. They really work!
I realize listening seems like an easy and simple thing to do, but it is not as easy as it appears. As I have practiced good communication techniques over the years, I have realized that to really listen to you a person, you have to give them your full attention. Often, when we try to talk to people there is a lot of noise in the background, whether it is from the TV or music. This ambient noise can make listening much more difficult. Whenever I sit down to have a conversation with someone, I always make sure the TV is off and there is no distracting noise, especially if it is an important conversation. This ensures that I am really giving the other person my full attention and listening to what they have to say.
In a psychology class, I once had a professor explain that when you are trying to communicate with another person you should repeat back to them what you heard them say. The advice the professor gave was to literally say, “What I hear you saying is…”. This sounded a little odd to me, but I thought I would put it into practice to see if it helped communication. I was very surprised by what I learned. Even when I thought I was listening, I actually missed a lot of what the other person said. This is true for most people. In order to really understand someone, you need to be able to repeat back to them their thoughts and feelings. I now regularly repeat back what I heard the other person say when I am having important conversations, because I find when I do this so many problems are cleared up.
Listening to and repeating the other person’s feelings are two very important communication techniques. However, to be a good communicator you also have to express your feelings. Of all the communication techniques, this might be the most difficult one for me to put into practice. People can’t guess what I am feeling. They will only know my feelings if I tell them. The same is true for you. Don’t assume that people know what you are thinking. As perceptive as some people are, no one knows what all your feelings are. The only way to get your feelings across to another person is to tell them.
While speaking up is a critical aspect of communication, it is important to do so in a non-threatening way. People don’t respond very well when they feel they are being threatened, and they will often become defensive. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received for how to approach a touchy subject is to frame things in terms of how you are feeling. Rather than saying, “how dare you…,” try saying “when you…it made me feel…”. First of all, approaching a touchy subject in this way gets to the heart of the matter much more quickly. Secondly, the other person won’t feel so threatened. I probably don’t need to mention this, but you should also talk in a calm tone of voice. Yelling at another person will only put them on edge.
If you are discussing a sensitive topic and things become heated, you should take a break from the conversation and give each other space. This will prevent you from saying anything hurtful that you don’t mean. Also, when people are angry and yelling, they tend not to truly hear what the other person is saying. Stepping away from a heated conversation and giving yourself time to calm down is an extremely important part of good communication. Once you put this into practice, you will be very happy you did. It saves a lot of unnecessary hurt feelings.
My mom and I have a rule that we do not have important conversations in the car. This is because you can’t see the other person’s face very well, and, assuming the driver is paying attention to the road, you can’t have eye contact. Eye contact is a very important aspect of good communication. When you have eye contact with another person, you can better see their facial expressions and know what they are feeling. A great deal of communication really is non-verbal, and being able to have eye contact with the other person will greatly help your communication skills.
The final piece of advice for good communication I can give is to allow enough time for your conversation. This is extremely important for serious conversations. The last thing you want is to feel rushed when you are having a conversation about something important. When you feel rushed you can forget to say what you need to say, and you can stop listening carefully. Setting aside time for an important conversation will allow you to put all of the other communication techniques into practice.
Communicating is such an essential part of a relationship, and communication skills can be very helpful for improving relationships. If you have a difficult time communicating, I hope you will try these communication techniques. They have really helped me in all of my relationships. What communication techniques do use when you are trying to communicate with someone?
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