by Rosita Chakardan
In our digitally saturated world, face-to-face communication skills are practiced less and less. Communication is how we express who we are, what we need, and how we perceive the world. It is also through the communication of our thoughts and feelings that we create bonds with others.
Luckily, similar to any other skill set, strong communication skills can be learned and honed. Although it’s important to understand that you do not have to agree with what is being said to be a good communicator. Instead, being a great communicator is rooted in the ability to understand yourself and others.
If you want to have deeper, more fulfilling relationships in life, practicing better communication skills can make that happen.
Before communicating with others, it’s important to have clarity on your own thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, how can you relay a message which you yourself are uncertain about? Take the time to identify your emotions and thoughts and find the accurate words with which to express them.
Listening is a skill which has many layers. The act of listening on a mental, emotional, and physical level can take time to master, but well worth the practice.
Mental – Taking in the information and truly trying to understand it can give you a glimpse into the way that others think.
Emotional – Emotionally processing the information means using empathy to grasp what the experience could feel like for the person sharing with you.
Physical – We utilize emojis to express ourselves when texting with others. The same concept applies in face-to-face interactions through the use of facial expressions and body language. Literally show people you are listening, and beyond that, understanding them. Showing you are receptive to the speaker can be conveyed through open body language (uncrossed arms, mirroring speakers body language, etc.), and avoiding distractions (such as your phone).
Ask Open-Ended Questions
What better way to discover more about someone than by asking them open-ended questions? As simple as this may sound, it may seem daunting to some especially when meeting new people. Asking people what they think and feel about a subject matter indicates an interest in who they are, and most importantly, understanding them better. A simple example of using an open-ended question can look like this:
“How did the rain over the weekend effect your plans?”
(This allows the person to elaborate and paint you a picture of their weekend)
“Did you hate the rain over the weekend?”
(This can easily be answered with a yes or no, stopping the conversation from further developing)
If you want to have deeper, more fulfilling relationships in life, practicing better communication skills can make that happen. To start, take time away from digital forms of communication and use your senses to truly understand others.