By: Holly Case, Freelance Writer and Mom of Three Boys
Not everybody can be the best of friends, as we all have unique personalities. But most of us want to have harmony in our daily interactions, whether at work or at home. Making these positive changes isn’t something to leave up to chance, though. You can improve almost all your relationships when you put these communication tips into practice.
Be a Better Listener
Every communication requires two parts: the speaker and the listener. This may seem obvious, but many people only partially listen. Instead, particularly if the topic is a heated one, they’re likely thinking more about what they’ll say next than they are focused on listening. Slow down and really pay attention to what the other person is saying. Challenge yourself to stay focused. Reflect their words back to them to acknowledge they’ve been heard.
Consider the Type of Message and the Medium
Texting, email, and social media have created a new form of communication. It’s lightning fast, casual, and fun. But it’s also spilled over into a lot of communications where it’s really not appropriate. Be mindful of who you’re sending the message to and of the type of words you’re using. It should go without saying that some messages are too sensitive to be conveyed by anything less than an actual real-time conversation.
Check Your Body Language
Your body language can say a lot of things you don’t intend to be saying. In face-to-face conversations, your hidden emotions could come out to the forefront without your intention. Take a few calming breaths, center your mind, and be conscious of your posture and the attitudes you’re conveying.
Say It in Fewer Words
Sometimes you’ve got a lot to say. But some situations call for more brevity, and it’s important to learn the difference. Professional interactions require more concise explanations. Yet it’s also crucial to demonstrate that you’ve understood their side of the discussion, too. If you’re communicating by email, reread the message a couple times before responding. Then review your response before hitting send, making your words both meaningful yet brief.
Multitask Less Often
We all multitask on a regular basis. We think it makes us look more efficient. But studies have shown that multitasking makes us less productive. Focus on just communicating without doing other tasks at the same time. Don’t write one email to your boss while you’re answering the phone. And definitely put your cell phone away when talking to loved ones.