Do you ever find yourself having a conversation with someone, and when you leave you find you have been completely misunderstood? Or maybe you left the conversation only to find you really don’t know what just happened? It’s not only what you say, but how you say it that can help get your message across, or cause it to fall flat leading to disagreement, disengagement, and misunderstanding.
Tips to Enhance Your Communication Style:
Use the Right Words
Word choice is important to communicate clearly and keep the conversation from becoming inflamed. Think about the words you use when communicating. Do you use wishy-washy words like “maybe” that can be misinterpreted. For example, when you say “maybe” the listener may hear “yes” or “no” instead of “maybe.” So, be very clear and direct in your communication.
Think about the word “you.” Have you been involved in a disagreement or heated discussion and someone used the word “you,” and it felt as if they were pointing a finger and blaming you? Replace the word “you” with words that focus on the issue or problem.
Pay Attention to Your Vocal Tone
It’s not “what she said” but “how she said it.” You say good morning to a coworker, and they mumble back good morning in what you interpret as a mad tone. Or your coworker places an inordinate emphasis on a particular word (think back to the tip about the word “you”)? Have you ever been involved in that conversation? Now think about yourself. Are there times when your tone gets in the way of your message?
Look and Listen, Really Listen
When talking with someone, focus on the person you’re talking with and not the things going on around you. Show you’re paying attention by looking at them and repeating back what you hear. Remember to flip it, ask the person you’re talking with to repeat back what they hear. This minimizes misunderstandings and allows for instant clarification if something is misinterpreted.
Watch Your Body Language
Pay attention to your body language while interacting with people. Rolling your eyes, fiddling with your hair or fingertips, and checking your phone are signs you are disinterested. Remember, your actions speak louder than words.
Incorporate these tips into your daily routine and you’ll be on your way to improving your communication with others.
Check your online library for help in communication with courses such as:
- Search and add to my training: Applications of Nonverbal Communication
- Search and add to my training: Active Learning Techniques