Most of us think we are good at communicating. We figure if we can speak a language, then we know how to convey messages and information to each other, but in reality, being a good communicator takes a lot of skill and practice. Most accidents, arguments and misunderstandings could have been avoided if there was better communication.
Here are 5 ways to become a better communicator:
1. Never assume
Making assumptions can be dangerous. You may assume your husband knows that you’re meeting at the restaurant that is closest to your home, but in reality they thought you meant the restaurant right next to your work. Did you say which restaurant you were meeting at, or did you just give the name? There could be more than one, did you consider that?
2. Set clear expectations
When we set expectations in our mind, we may get upset when they are not met. Instead of expecting that someone knows what you mean, just tell them.
3. Use your words, but don’t forget body language
Body language helps us communicate what we are saying. If we are sitting in a relaxed position with our legs crossed, we are not conveying urgency. People pick up a lot by sight, and seeing how you communicate, as well as how you listen to what they are saying.
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4. Be direct
If you tend to be passive aggressive or subtle when communicating, you may find people do not understand what you’re saying. Instead of talking around the topic or using a parable to try and get your point across, just say it. Use clear language and be direct. Otherwise you run the risk of having someone guess what you mean, and it may not be even close to what you intended.
5. Be a good listener
Being a good communicator is only half the battle, as you also need to learn how to listen. Don’t talk over someone. Let them finish before asking questions, and observe their body language and tone of voice. All these aspects give insight to what it is they are saying. If you are not 100% clear on what they meant when they are done, ask them to clarify. Ask questions about the topic and be specific.