The effective communication staff, organizations and businesses is very important to achieve goals and develop personal relationships, more complex life such as meaningful social relationships (mother / father-children, family, work, etc.) challenges Or advancement in your professional career require the correct handling of communication.
Whether oral or written, communication is not a simple matter. The good news is that the ability to communicate can be learned.
Following these guidelines, you will soon notice changes in acceptance, confidence and professional development.
10 Steps to Effective Communication
1-Do not takes anything for granted
Many people, especially in the professional field, are convinced of their communicative superiority, holding beliefs such as:
“I am a good communicator … it is everyone else who has the problem”.
“My way of communicating is not the problem; it is the others who do not know how to listen.”
To point out the mistakes of others as justification for our problems is the number one hobby of individualistic societies, a distinction proposed by Miller in 1984 1 .
This communicational effect of which I speak is an effect of attribution: interpretation or explanation that is made about the causes, motives and reasons of some event (including beliefs, attitudes and behaviors), in others or in the individual who does it.
The scientist Kelley proposed that if humans act as scientists, we could only incur such an attribution if in the particular situation proposed 2 :
- Whenever we are with that person the same thing happens to us.
- That person has the same problem with more people.
However, due to cultural and learning reasons, we are not scientific or objective when we make attribution judgments.
Going back to the example, the simplest and fastest thing is to blame the other on a particular problem, why?
- Bias of Confirmatory Tendency: We fall into this attribution bias if we do not seek information that is beyond our personal perception or if we superimpose our judgment on those of others.
That is, if we act as humans instead of acting as scientists, we will probably assume that the fault lies with the other person even if only the first observation proposed by Kelley is fulfilled.
The biggest enemy of learning and personal development is our way of thinking. If we consider that we are perfect and others are bad communicators, we will never consider what we can improve.
The truth is that we all have strengths and weaknesses in the different aspects of interpersonal communication. There is not a single person on the planet that does not need to work to improve their communication because it is a work for life, we should never lower our guard.
2-Get to Know
Before you decide to make changes in the way you communicate you should know what your strengths are to try to keep them and learn from them or what your weaknesses, which you must work are.
Take some time to review the last communicative meetings you’ve had. Ask yourself questions and try to describe your communicative style. Some of the questions that you might ask yourself in each communicative scene you remember are the following:
- How have I communicated (behaviors, attitudes, type of arguments used, etc.)?
- What were the consequences for having communicated to me in this way?
- Which communicative tools used have been more positive and which are more negative?
- What tools could you use widely?
- And, among the negatives, how could you avoid incurring them?
3-Maintain a global vision global vision
Imagine that you are in a group context of work or study. Probably the most important thing for you and the group is the task. However, this is a double-edged sword.
When there is a task to perform, we tend to focus on it and to commit negligence in dealing with people. When so, try to keep an overview of what is happening.
Since most of the mistakes in the performance of a job are due to poor communication, try to be the group’s objective voice. In addition, on many occasions you will be involved in group discussions. If you have been an observer, you will be able to identify the cause of the conflict to solve it.
4-Listen before speaking
In close connection with the previous point we find this phenomenon. Surely you can identify several communication situations in your life in which you have found defending your position and cover.
The more important we are to the subject in a conversation, the more we will try to have our opinion taken into account.
This can lead us not to listen and monopolize the speech, or even to confront each other by the prevalence of our point of view.
However, on many occasions your point of view and that of others is not as opposite as it may seem at first.
Therefore, the best strategy to avoid being in uncomfortable situations that make us remember the conversation as a failure is to listen before speaking and try to provide short but highly informative arguments in an assertive way .
As a midpoint between passivity and aggressiveness in our communication discourse, we find assertiveness. This term, although originating from Latin (affirmation of the certainty of a thing), was first described in detail by Wolpe and Lazarus in 1958.
Also Read: 7 Tips to Learn to Say No (No Guilt)
Assertiveness consists in asserting and respecting us, saying what we think and expressing opinions without fear of reprisals, but always doing so with elegance and from a position of maximum respect.
What do I have to do to be assertive?
- Always tell the truth whether it is positive or negative for your interlocutor, without treating him with contempt or sending hurtful messages. The Assertiveness involves elegance and respect for others.
- Communicate your message in a clear, concise, fast and forceful way. Assertive communication does not mean hesitation. When it comes to effective communication, less is always more.
- Talk about what you know, never base yourself on mere speculations or perceptions. Why? If your credibility as a source of information is diminished, it is very likely that your interlocutor take the opportunity to “eat” with your arguments, entering an aggressive-defensive communication circle .
- Invite the dialogue, ask questions and ask for participation.
- Listen actively to your caller. The active listening is a predominantly communicative dimension nonverbal 3 . Your facial expression and confirmatory gestures will indicate to your interlocutor your opinion without needing to speak. This is a great way to save words and express yourself while listening. In addition, you will encourage a greater communicative motivation and interest in you as a person with whom to share points of view.
6-Have a positive attitude
Every communicative act between human beings contains these two components.
Attitudes are derived from our beliefs, feelings and intentions. The psychologist All port defined them as mental and neurological dispositions that are organized from the experience that exerts a direct or dynamic influence on the reactions of the individual with respect to all the objects and all the situations that correspond to them.
If we analyze this definition, we see that in a communicative act our attitudes are as important as our behavior. In each communicative exchange our attitudes will always be present contributing information to our interlocutor.
When I speak of attitudes, I mean both those we have for ourselves and those we take towards the other person, and both types of attitudes are of utmost importance
If your attitude toward yourself is negative (low regard for yourself), this will be reflected in your way of communicating making the task much more difficult.
In what way? A person, who does not value himself and wants enough, will cause this same effect on his interlocutor and his credibility will be diminished.
On the contrary, if you maintain positive attitudes towards yourself, you will quickly see that others will have a greater interest in hearing your opinion and accepting your arguments.
7-Adapt to your interlocutor
Everything communicates: you, your interlocutor, the subject, the moment, the place and the way.
Depending on what the conversation should be the context must be adapted. Thus, a working conversation is not the same as a conversation with friends or family.
Anyway, the most important aspect is the person you communicate with. In this direction, Einstein said: “You do not understand something unless you are able to explain it to your grandmother.”
8-Empathy: What is my interlocutor thinking?
You probably ask yourself this question very often when you have a conversation. If so, very well.
The empathy is the ability to perceive the thoughts, feelings, emotions and intentions of another person. The better you know a person, the better you can empathize with them, and the more you become accustomed to interpreting what the other person might be feeling or thinking, your ability will be better.
If your interlocutor feels that you empathize with him, he will feel more interested and motivated by your conversation. This is why empathy is a powerful communicative tool. Being interested in others, you will get interest.
What can I do to be empathic in a conversation?
- Ask if your impressions are correct. During the conversation, try to guess what the other person might be thinking or feeling. When you have a rough idea, ask indirectly using expressions such as “It seems that …. Am I right? “Or” I get the impression that … “. Based on the answer you get, you will get keys to interpret the signals of that particular person.
- Pay attention to the look of your interlocutor: It is not in vain that the eyes are said to be the mirror of the soul. The look of a person will tell you how you feel.
- Emotional Reciprocity: If what you want is for the person you speak to express their emotions, you begin by doing the same. It is very likely that the other person will adapt to your level of expression.
Closely related to empathy is the concept of ethical communication. This refers to taking into consideration the well-being of the person with whom you interact, demonstrating your sensitivity for your feelings and beliefs.
If a person feels understood, he will be more open to listening to you and expressing what you really feel
9-Observation and active listening
When we communicate, all our senses can give us highly valuable information.
By tending to use the ear sense as a priority, we receive only 45% of the total information transmitted by our interlocutor: tone of voice, volume, rhythm and content.
The other 55% of the communicative information can be perceived through the sense of sight 3 but, for this, we must train ourselves and habituate ourselves to grasp these keys: expressions, gestures, position, respiratory rhythm, distance, etc.
When we listen to our interlocutor, we must become accustomed to doing it actively, that is, extracting the maximum information from the stimuli captured: think, make associations and interpretations, etc. Also, a good tool to motivate you by accompanying your speech is to make small assent using words or gestures.
10-Eye with the communicative alterations
One of the best ways to learn to communicate effectively is to look for and remedy our mistakes. There are certain communicative alterations that occur with high frequency in all communicative exchange:
- Distortion: consists in interpreting in a partial or subjective way the information transmitted by our interlocutor. When we listen, we must position ourselves in the frame of reference of the speaker and try to isolate ours, based on our experiences and learning. Every person is a world.
- Failure: given that the human attention capacity is limited, we usually lose part of the information transmitted by our interlocutor. This can frustrate and demotivate the person you are talking to. Try to modulate your attention to make sure you remember the important information and filter the least relevant one. In order to know what is important we must look at the non-verbal language of our interlocutor, which will accentuate that with greater emotional content.
- Generalization: this alteration, unlike previous ones, refers to your communicative messages in response to those of your interlocutor. We tend to generalize a concrete situation to an “always, never, everything, nothing, etc”. Try to avoid using these expressions generalizing specific cases transmitted by the person you talk to. Why? This will cause a sense of incomprehension in your interlocutor that will result in rejection and frustration towards you.