3 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

How you can modify verbal and nonverbal communication for better relationships

No matter what kind of relationship you’re in, if you improve your communication skills, you’ll improve your relationship. From helping to improve a work relationship that troubles you to bettering your life with your partner or spouse, good communication is key. However, improving your communication can be challenging. By examining these three techniques, however, you can learn to improve your communication and therefore improve your relationship.

Understand and control your emotions

According to a 1972 study by psychologist Albert Mehrabian, most of communication is nonverbal, driven by emotions. In fact, the study suggests that 93 percent of communication has more to do with how you convey your emotions in a nonverbal way than with what you actually say. This means that emotions that are out of control can quickly sabotage attempts at communication. This is why getting your emotions under control is the first step in communication training.

One facet of improper communication occurs when you say things that you don’t mean in an emotional whirlwind. Unfortunately, however, many people feel that this means they should ignore their emotions in a fight. In actuality, to communicate effectively, it is important to develop emotional awareness so you can identify what you feel and deal with it appropriately. In order to take this step toward improving your communication, the Help Guide suggests learning to manage stress and getting back in touch with your emotions by practicing. Try to identify what you feel by keeping a journal or diary or even a video log.

Be aware of the circumstances

Communication training isn’t just about improving your communication skills, but it’s also about making you a better assessor of communicative interaction. Many people blame failures in communication on things that are out of their control. However, part of being a good communicator is understanding the setting and factor it into your communication attempt.

For instance, Discovery Health notes that in male-female instances of communication, there can be problems because of the different ways in which the male and female brains work. If you know your communication problems stem primarily from discussions with the opposite sex, learn more about how they communicate. In addition, pay attention to the scene. If you need to talk with your partner about something that you know will upset him or her, wait until he or she is in a reasonably good mood. Don’t try to get into a private discussion in a less-than-intimate restaurant, and try to understand the other person’s perspective before you begin a conversation.

Listen and reflect

Communicating isn’t just about talking; it’s about listening too. If you’re a good listener, you’re likely to find that others will listen to you more when you have something that you need to say. Discovery Health suggests not only listening to their verbal communication, but also listening to what they want you to hear — emotions, questions, etc.. Discovery Health also recommends reflection: repeating back to the person what he or she said to ensure that you’ve understood correctly.

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