Communication is a skill. We communicate on a daily basis. Communication is a very powerful tool. When you use it to your advantage, it can change your life for the better. However, we often find ourselves in a difficult situation when faced with having to communicate with new people or on new topics. Sometime, we even find it difficult to talk to our family, be it our parents, spouse or children.
Why is communication important?
Communication is a way in which we put our thoughts and emotions across to people. Communication is a way through which we can interact with people. We communicate for business and personal reasons. Communication can be in the form of written, vocal or gestures. Your body language is also important to show your intentions.
What are the barriers of good and effective communication and how can you improve your communication skills to connect better?
Physical, Emotional, Cultural and Language barriers – Be open minded
Physical barriers could be in the form of you own physical impairment or because of the physical structure erected that come in between the people. Even how you dress or groom yourself can come in the way of effective communication.
Emotional barriers are often perceptual. It could be a temporary or permanent barrier to communication. Emotional barriers are often the result of preconceives notions or bad experiences. Our previous experiences and our structured mindset could form an invisible barrier that hinders effective communication.
Cultural and language barriers are innocent barriers to effective communication. You may be from a different cultural background or from a different friend group. This would become an inconvenience as you are thrown into a new country or a new group where you have to adjust and follow the local behavioral guidelines. The situation is similar for language barriers. However, these can be overcome if you are open-minded and willing to learn and interact.
Practice active listening
Most of the time, you are thinking of what to say to the person talking to you instead of listening to what is being said to you. You believe that communication is about talking. No, it is not just about talking. It is about active listening as well. You are being presented with information and ideas. If you do not actively listen to them, you will miss out on important information or even misinterpret them. By listening actively, by asking questions where required or providing information where required, you are not being a part of an effective communication. Next time, you are in conversation with someone, be it your business partner or spouse, shed your pre-conceived notions of always having something to say and listen to what is being said to you.
Be clear and concise
No matter what communication mode you are using, practice being clear and concise in your communication. It does not serve any purpose in communicating on a topic that you are fuzzy about, unless you are communicating to clear your doubt. One way to start doing this is to start with written communication. When you write, you actually put a lot more thought in it. Similarly, you need to think about what you want to say in order to be clear and concise.
Anticipate the needs in the communication and work towards the solution
Communication is a means of building relationships. Lasting relationships are built when you are aware of each other’s needs. You can find out the needs by communicating with each other and understanding. From here, you can work towards fulfilling that need.
Being aware helps you many ways. When you are aware, you are aware of your surroundings, the temperament of the person or group you are talking to and your own train of thoughts. When you are aware, you are actually even more ready for effective communication.
When you get the negative words out of your conversation, it becomes much easier to communicate. The negative words transcend to negative thoughts and negative thoughts transcends to negative feelings and actions. Once you remove any form of negative words from your conversation, the mood of the conversation changes which helps people open up more to you.
When you are trying to pass off as a person you are not, you will clearly show through! It pays to be yourself, even if you are boring. This is because you are letting the other party know that you are sincere in your approach in conversation with them. This builds trust and they will let you build more rapport to make you more comfortable in the conversation and interaction. Hence, never try to be someone you are not. You will not be able to pull this act for long.
Communication is an integral part of our everyday life. The more we work towards improving it, the better we will get at it. There are many barriers hinder the way we communicate or how much we communicate. Practice overcoming those needs to pay conscious effort in order to better yourself. Identifying what is hindering you from communicating effectively and where you are lacking in your communication skills will be an essential thing to look into. Once you are knowledgeable about your strengths and short comings in terms of your communication, you can work towards improving them by practicing all the pointers mentioned in this article.
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