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.
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?