Communication, Learning the Basics!

Have you ever encountered someone with whom you just cannot move forward in discussions? You feel as if no matter how hard you try, it is just very difficult to make your point across because they are always jumping to conclusions without letting you finish what you had to say and their conclusion is far from what you were trying to communicate in the first place? It often happens to all of us from time to time that we feel there is no way we can be heard.

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It is also possible to find ourselves on the other side of the fence. In this situation we could end up being the one trying to understand what the other person is trying to tell us. No matter how hard we try to understand what the other person is trying to say, somehow it is just very hard to get their point of view.

In both of the situations, what is the most important skill that is lacking? Yes, COMMUNICATION. I believe good communication is the lifeblood of all relationships, may it be at workplace or amongst our personal relationships: family members (among siblings, spouses, kids, parents) or amongst friends. And depending on the relationship(s), we choose to relay and receive messages in various ways, it could be speaking (face to face or on the phone), writing (via memos or emails or letters), or even listening.

Because communication is such a large part of our daily lives, we are also perceived by others based on how well we can relay our messages or how well we can listen to others and make them feel comfortable. So, to be an effective communicator, our goal should be to handle information that we need to relay as well as the one we receive, with care so conflicts can be reduced and relationships can be improved.

I want to list some of the simple techniques to achieve this objective and please feel free to add anything you think could be helpful in this direction.

  • Be clear in your mind about what you want to say
  • Use simple words to explain what you are trying to say
  • Try and explain what the context of your point is so the other party isn’t left assuming if you are asking for a favor or simply sharing something with them
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Maintain eye contact while speaking one on one
  • Listen carefully without getting distracted and make sure you understand the message that is relayed to you, if not, ask for clarification
  • Keep an open mind and be ready to consider alternatives to what you may think is right
  • Keep a positive attitude and do not assume what you are saying is not important to the other person
  • If the person you are talking to is not responding right away or is silent, do not assume they are really not listening because it might mean they are thinking about what you just said
  • Sometimes, people just want to be heard rather than your opinion, so learn to listen without interrupting the speaker
  • And last but not the least, always try and look for some common ground, rather than focusing on differences

I think if we keep these basics in our minds, communicating without pre-conceived agendas, we can achieve a great deal of success in getting our points across, getting heard and even improving our listening skills, which may eventually lead to better relations.

What do you think?

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16 Responses to “ Communication, Learning the Basics! ”

  1. We have a buzz phrase around here, “Be Present”

    Easier said than done sometimes but the point is just because you are in front of someone doesn’t mean you are actually “Present”. You have to be listening and involved to truly be present.

  2. right :) being truly there is the key Joey.. we are all so wrapped up in high stress these days, that I believe none of us has the time for another! and the biggest aspect we lose is simple ways of communication!

    thanks for visiting :) stay in touch!!

  3. I find that I have to fight building my counter arguement the moment I detect they didn’t get the point and lose the balance of the arguement they are making. The only way I seem to counter this is by listening to where they are coming from and then using that knowledge to frame an analogy that would make sense to them. In other words I shift to their language and establish report first. Then argue.

  4. yes, that actually is one of the best ways to continue! ‘listening’ to where they are coming from! its really important… hard to do though :) I am the kind to completely withdraw from conflicts and arguments and not want to continue .. the things I listed are things I am working on.. thanks for joining Peter.. your insight is always very useful!

  5. I suppose active listening goes hand in hand with active reading Pearl and ….definitely involves actively engaging with your subject….good points and I like your layout…very fresh…..and your avatar is marvellous !!!!!

  6. yep, engaging in the conversation and really being there and paying attention to what is being said is crucial to everyone’s satisfaction! thank you stopping by Kim.. and appreciating the site (and avatar..;))

  7. Hi Pearl.
    At the risk of seeming awkwardly overcritical, which isn’t my point, I think your presentation describes an ideal form of conversation, that relies exaggeratingly on the message itself and on the protagonists’ attitudes… Peter points it out relevantly, or so I guess, but i’d come to think that the shadowy part pertaining to feedback, feedback-processing, feedback to feedback, etc represents err… the immersed 4/5 of the iceberg…
    But hey, science has yet to produce a satisfactory model on that matter…
    WTH, this post of yours is great, very thought-provoking.
    I loved reading it. Nice comments as well. Congratulations on the great blog.

  8. mkf.. first of all, welcome and thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment :)

    Now if you notice, I don’t have an about page on this blog, and there is a reason for that.. I never can talk about myself!! I am a dreamer and am very idealistic – atleast in my thoughts ;) and I ‘dream’ the world to be an ideal place :) with that said, I guess its not far for me to write such a post, although I do know its far from reality! ;)

    but seriously, I read it some place and have known it for a long time that if someone gives you a gift and you decline to accept it, the gift still belongs to that person!

    I want to start practicing this thought model, that if somehow I can put myself in a state of compassion for that ‘other’ person and keep reminding myself that their ‘negativity’ if you will, is not about me, its really something theirs, I might be able to ‘listen’ better and communicate better…..

    and hey, I also own that famous book by a famous lawyer Gerry Spence.. “How to Argue and Win Every Time” I am so glad you wrote than comment because now i may even win those darn arguments anyway!!!

    LOL

    tc and kit

  9. and BTW mkf,

    I LOVED to listen to Bob Costlow’s piano tunes, listened to him for the better part of the day!! :)

  10. Hello again, and thanks for your fine answer.
    As I said, I took a chance… And your response is a gem… ;D
    I can’t help but think I lost an argument of sorts here… lol.
    BTW, the ‘ideal’ I was referring to was to be heard as a mediocre 6th grade level Max Weber would have used it (ideal-type). ;)

    Dreaming the world to be an ideal place is a motto I myself am fond of… Sincerely.
    But since I am a french guy, I tend :
    1) to be incapable of positive thinking
    2) to antagonize easily at interesting observations & comments…
    3) to mistrust the virtues of listening, be it active/empathic & to think communication relies first on strategy…

    Somehow, I hope nobody were offended by my attempt at a theoretical remark. LOL

    Keep it up. See you soon. :D

  11. YES…

    HB

  12. okay… few points if I may..

    Rest assured, no one gets offended here.. I wrote what came to mind and invited everyone to let me know what they thought, and you are doing just that! and I appreciate it, believe me!

    Now..
    1)I honestly didn’t think naming my blog “Interesting Observations” could itself become a reason for someone’s dislike.. :) It was done on a whim one day…. perhaps I should have thought a bit more carefully…:)

    2)I cud easily get away by saying “that’s all French to me” since I was a Bio major and had never read Weber.. ;D BUT wait, I am glad that you came by, because heck I had to read weber for the most part of the evening…:) so its all good from that perspective too.. we all learn from each other..

    3)No one is incapable of positive thinking!! that negativity is exactly what I am trying to change in me..

    with that said, it would be real nice if you cud share with us what strategies did or didn’t work for you in those circumstances!

    In any case, please visit again and share your thoughts..

    added you on mybloglog!! ;)

  13. mfk – btw, im kidding about the name of the blog and I know you weren’t saying that either :D

    all good fun – see I agree with you.. communication is a darn difficult thing ;)

  14. Being an active listener is the most important thing to me. I am constantly working on how to be a better listener and communicator. This post is great!!! Loves it. And thank you for faming me, I also returned the favor.

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