The Oxford English Dictionary defines communication as “the imparting, conveying, or exchange of ideas, knowledge and information’. This applies equally to nonverbal as well as to verbal communication. So, why does this simple process so often lead to resentment, disputes or broken relationships?
Be Conscious of Your Style of Communication and Skills
- Attentive listening – This is about understanding not only what the other person is saying, but also their implied messages. It leads to better understanding and clarity in sharing information. The reduction in negative emotions creates a safe and healthy environment for communication. For example, paying attention during meetings helps to understand the content and the implied message.
- Nonverbal communication – This includes the effective use of body language to express yourself. It covers facial expressions, movement of the hands and legs, eye contact, posture and tone of voice. For example, the use of a cross-handed posture may imply defensiveness and unwillingness to accommodate others’ opinions. More open body language implies an ability to engage and exchange information on an equal footing.
- Understanding and controlling emotions helps nonverbal communication. It results in an increased understanding about how you are perceived, and how you perceive others. Effective communication becomes ineffective if you become too emotional or out of touch with others’ emotions. Thus, controlling emotions helps to reduce differences and any misunderstandings. For example, if a colleague disagrees with a certain plan or strategy, understanding their emotional state can help to convince them otherwise.
- Stress management helps to control emotions and behaviour. It includes not only activities like meditation, reading or exercise, but also emotional control and quick response to stress. For example, by tuning into their senses, a person may rid themselves of stress. If he or she likes music then listening to a particular type of music can help in relieving the stress that they are feeling.
Delivering the ‘Right’ Message
Put careful thought into the delivery of your message. This should take into account:
- What you are trying to say.
- What you are inadvertently saying.
‘If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant (and) if what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone’.
If you would like to become a more effective communicator, please contact me to discuss ways in which we could work together.