Whether you’re struggling in your personal or business relationships, good communication skills are an essential part of striving for successful encounters with other people. If you aren’t able to communicate with others, you’re going to find that dating is difficult, your work relationships suffer and that other people don’t want to be around you. Fortunately, even if you never learned how to communicate well, it’s possible to start changing for the better. There are numerous quick, easy ways that you can start to communicate more effectively. Remember that no matter who you’re trying to communicate with, it’s important to remain dedicated, patient, and determined as you develop your communication abilities.
- Listen attentively
When someone speaks to you, do you look away? Do you tend to play with your cell phone instead of making eye contact? Do you glance around the room instead of paying attention to what the person is saying? While you might not view this type of behavior as a negative thing, the truth is that the people around you could be offended if you don’t seem to be paying attention. When someone speaks to you, try to listen attentively. This means that you make eye contact, you don’t play with your phone, and you give the person your full attention at all times.
- Speak without raising your voice
If someone makes you mad, frustrated, or upset, you may find that it’s easy to raise your voice. Unfortunately, this is completely counterproductive to good communication. Skip the yelling and instead, try to speak in a calm tone. If you raise your voice, the other person will immediately begin to feel defensive. This will destroy any chance you have of developing meaningful communication. Your goal should be to put the other person at ease while you have your discussion. No matter what the topic or issue might be, keeping your tone even and cool will go far in improving your relationship.
- Ask meaningful questions
When someone is talking with you about something, demonstrate that you’re paying attention and that you are about them by asking meaningful questions. You could ask someone to clarify something for you or you could ask someone to elaborate on something. This technique works for both work and personal relationships. Just remember to actually ask questions that are related to the conversation. If you’re talking about business meetings, for example, don’t ask the person about the coffee maker in the break room.
- Be patient
No matter how well you currently communicate, you can always get better. Remember to be patient with yourself and the people around you as you learn how to better communicate with others. Most people aren’t born naturally good listeners, so developing the skills and the habits you need to improve your relationships is something that will take time. Even if you make a mistake, get in an argument, or begin to feel frustrated, try to take a deep breath and try again.