6 Proven Ways to Communicate Effectively

communicate effectively

Communicate Effectively – written by Alan Anderson

Being able to communicate well with others is at the core of building strong relationship. When we communicate effectively, every aspect of life seems to run more smoothly with less drama and stress. Therefore, improving communications skills can directly improve areas such as work performance, social interactions and family relationships. That’s why I want to share with you some of my favorite ideas and tips around good communication. So, here are six proven ways to help you communicate effectively.

communicate effectively -two way communication

Communicate Effectively Tip #1 –  The Two Lane Highway

To communicate well must firstly understand what it is and how it works. If I tell you something or send you an email then most people would feel that I’ve communicated effectively. Sorry to burst your bubble but that’s not the case.

Effective communication is like a two lane highway in that it has traffic traveling in two directions. We often communicate one way without even checking to see that we have been understood. So, the next time you communicate with someone, check with them that you have understood them and they have understood you. When you communicate with someone, remember to check that you are using the two lane highway. Make sure that communication is flowing in both directions in order to make it effective through understanding.

communicate effectively - inclusion

Communicate Effectively Tip #2 –  The Power of Inclusion

At the very core of our human nature is the fact that we all want to feel loved and respected by others.  That’s why we all yearn to be accepted and included by others. Unfortunately, it’s also human nature to want to have the focus on ourselves and our views. Listen to most conversations and you’ll here that many are focused on ‘I’. We all want to communicate how events and situations impact us and how they make us feel.

Therefore, one powerful way to improve communication is to make a conscious shift towards using ‘we’ instead of ‘I’. By using the term ‘we’ more often, you immediately offer other people inclusion in your world. This shift can also allow you to consider other peoples views as highlighted in tip one. Also, this can let you get past any communication break down where much of the stress and fall out with relationships occurs.

Here’s a simple example. We have just communicated with each other. You believe it’s about apples and I believe it’s about pears. I can just ignore you and force you to work on my view. Chances are you won’t want to conform to my view and this could impact our relationship.

However, I can accept that I understand your view of apples, re-confirm my view of pears and then explore how can we move forward with apples and pears?

communicate effectively -face to face communication

Communicate Effectively Tip #3 –  The Power of Face to Face

Using communication tools like email, texts and the telephone offer us a great deal of efficiency and convenience.  For most day to day issues these allow us to manage a large volume of communication. However, on more critical issues, don’t forget the power of face to face communication. It allows you to confirm that the other person or group understand you and you them. Also, face to face communication allows you to use the power of body language as outlined in the next tip.

communicate effectively -body language

Communicate Effectively Tip #4- Your Body Doesn’t Lie

For really good communication, it’s important to understand the basics of non-verbal communication which is often called body language.  Scientists have proven that body language or non verbal communication equates to around 55% of how we communicate. Only about 7%of our understanding comes from the  words we use and 38% from the tone and inflection in our voice.

If you want to be understood, these statistics show how important face to face communication is if we want to be truly understood. That’s why our bodies don’t lie and non-verbal communication is a vital part of effective communication. This doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in reading body language, but it helps to understand the basics. If you want to read more about body language then check out one of the best books about body language.

In fact, it’s more important to remind yourself about the power of face to face communication rather than learn every aspect of body language.  You are limiting you ability to be fully understood and therefore communicate effectively every time you opt for sending and email or just making a phone call.

communicate effectively - attention

Communicate Effectively Tip #5 –  The Power of Attention

The most powerful gift you can give any other human being is to give  your full attention. This is as simple as listening without responding. This can be difficult, because our brains are hard wired to respond as soon as we think we understand what someone else is saying.

There are many social occasions when we want to be the one that is speaking. The problem here is that misunderstandings often occur because no one is listening to understand. If you really want to make an impact on others, become a powerful listener. We are all born with two ears and one mouth so try using them in that proportion.

Giving your attention to what is being said gives you the real opportunity to understand others. Also, when to do finally reply you are more likely to be on the same page with others which can dramatically improve relationships. Finally, consider this as an exercise in mindfulness. Learn to listen and become the observer. I found this technique very difficult at first as I am a natural talker. However , it is one of the most powerful ways to help in building strong relationships. So, remember that this is a skill that may take some time and practice to achieve.

communicate effectively - pause

Communicate Effectively Tip #6 – The Power of the Pause

In our fast paced world it’s not always possible to communicate face to face. We have to communicate with our written words via email or text. The most powerful tool to improve written communication is to take a pause before hitting send.

This pause gives you the opportunity to re-read your email or text and to make sure it reflects what you want to communicate. Also, remember to use ‘we’ more than you use ‘I’ or ‘you’. Finally, this gives you time to correct any errors and remove words that may reflect negative emotions.

When a situation has really upset me, I have learned to draft a written reply and then sleep on it before pushing send. By the next morning the emotion has subsided and the draft email often deleted. This is the power of pause in action to improve not only your communication accuracy but potential fallout.

What Next?

Moving forward, try out these ideas and remember that new skills and new habits take time to build. Good communication is part of a life long experience, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get instant improvement.

Just like any new sports skill, it takes repetition over time until you get to the level you want. So improving your communication skills is exactly the same. Just keep practicing, by listening more, observing more and saying less. Also, pause before you send any written communication that may be misunderstood or inflame emotions. Finally, remember that face to face communication is always best as 55% of our communication is non-verbal.

Here are some related posts you may enjoy.

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