The Basics of Effective Communication
Most of us inherently know the basics of effective communication. In fact, we have been communicating since the day we were born even when we couldn’t do so with words. Communication is one of the many things that come naturally to us. But even with that being said it is good to look at what the basics of effective communication are and to really apply them in our daily life, after all, communication is key to any and all healthy relationships.
The number one basic of effective communication doesn’t actually involve talking, it is listening. Listening effectively is one of the most important basics of effective communication. Listening means you give your speaker the time to fully say what he or she wants to say. Nodding and verbal acknowledgements tell your speaker that you actually are listening. If you aren’t listening, how can you possibly give a response that is effective? You can’t! When your speaker has finished repeat back in your own words what they said to you to provide the groundwork of your response.
The second basic of effective communication also doesn’t involve talking at all. The second basic is body language. Body language is extremely important in effective communication because it is everything you are not saying. If you look bored or are constantly looking away while someone is talking to you, you are giving visual clues that you are not listening to a word your speaker is saying. Eye contact and nodding show that you are engaged in the conversation. Pretty basic right?
The third basic of effective communication is talking. Speaking clearly and directly is important when it comes to effective communication. If you try to get your point across in a very roundabout way, what you are trying to say could get lost in the mumbo jumbo. When you are speaking it should always be in non-defensive tones while making your point, and asking the listener to repeat your message to make sure they understood you the right way.
The fourth basic of effective communication of course is to ask questions. But you don’t ask just any questions you ask open ended questions that allow the person to give their response in a more detailed manner. For example, there are questions that can simply be answered with a yes or a no. Don’t ask these kinds of questions. These kinds of questions can make your listener feel as if the topic of the conversation is being controlled tightly and there isn’t room for them to say what they want to say.
The fifth basic of effective communication is the summary and the follow up. After a conversation it is always good to summarize what was said to make sure each person heard the other one correctly and everything that wanted to be said was. If any issues came up or anything went unresolved it can be determined to come back later and talk about it.
Remember the basic of effective communication are keys to having healthy relationships. These basics of communication can be hard to remember when emotions come up especially so remember communication also includes expressing emotions and they should be acknowledged. Using techniques such as open ended questions and listening can help work through these emotions should any come up during a more serious or intense conversation. Either way if you use these techniques to communicate you are well on your way to creating healthy relationships at work, with your family, and all areas of your life.