By Jailene Adorno
When it comes to communicating with others, sometimes it can be difficult to get your point across. Oftentimes, no matter how hard you try to ensure that everyone is on the same page, there’s some kind of miscommunication. Here are a few steps to communicating more effectively.
- Pay Attention and Listen
As simple as it may sound, one of the most vital steps to better communication is listening. Pay attention and listen to what is being said. Whether it’s one person or many, engross yourself in the conversation and make sure that they know you’re paying attention. This can be done by putting away any and all distractions. If someone is talking to you, put your phone away and take a break from your computer screen. Show them that you’re interested in what they have to say.
- Keep Your Body Language Open
Another important step is being mindful of your body language. If someone is speaking to you and you’re glued to your computer screen or whatever you’re reading, they’ll know that you’re either not interested in what they have to say or that you just aren’t listening. Keep your body language open and try not to cross your arms. Crossing your arms can come across as aggressive or as if you’re bored with the conversation.
- Cultural/Social Norms — Eye Contact and Space
While eye contact can be an essential part of communicating with others, familiarize yourself with cultural norms. In some cultures, it’s looked upon as disrespectful to look directly at someone. Also be aware of social norms, people like their space. It’s a good idea to keep a certain amount of space between yourself and the person that you’re speaking with.
- Speak Up and Talk Back
Speak up and talk back. No one likes having a one-sided conversation, unless they’re talking to themselves. Generally, when someone is speaking and sharing information, they want someone to participate in the conversation and share in their own thoughts or opinions. When speaking, be aware of the tone you use as well. Sometimes people will think that a louder tone is an angry one and softer voices may come across as too timid.
One method of communication that has worked well for me is repeating things back to the person I’m speaking to. For example, if I’m meeting with my boss and she gives me a list of tasks to complete, I usually try to repeat everything back to her and ask questions to make sure that I have everything. By repeating things back to the person you’re speaking with, you’re showing that you were listening and that you want to get everything done correctly.
How do you communicate effectively with others?