Are you communicating effectively?

students-703003_1280Communication is the key to overcome differences and to understand one another. Effective communication is simple yet complex, easy to do and easy to blunder. Communicating effectively helps build trust and respect, encourage learning, and accomplish goals.

Practice some of these tips for effective communication:

– Direct & Assertive
You must be able to speak what you think and feel in a clear and concise way. Be clear about what you want and are willing to give. When being direct and assertive use “I” statements so the listener does not feel blamed. For example, instead of saying “you are wrong” say, “I see it differently”.

– Active listening
To improve communication, recognize the importance of listening. Listening is more important than speaking.
Here are five steps of active listening:
1. Acknowledge the thought first.
2. Rephrase what you heard.
3. Ask open-ended questions.
4. Summarize and clarify.
5. Give an opinion.

– Body Language
We communicate more through body language than speaking. Body language includes facial expressions, eye contact, stance, and movement of arms, hands and legs. Be aware of the body language you use and the body language that is being used on you. This is an example of the body language of an engaged versus disengaged individual;
– Engaged: Open body stance. Sitting on the edge of the chair, and strong eye contact
– Disengaged: Crossing arms. Slouched and sideway glances.

– Dialogue
Dialogue is a continued, thoughtful exchange about what matters the most. Its purpose is to honor the development of individuals, teams and organizations. Important dialogue skills include:
– Allow others to finish their thoughts.
– Respect others’ thoughts and ideas.
– Listen without need to argue or resist.

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