Keys to Communication

We talk about good and bad communication a lot, but what does that mean? So today I thought we’d take a look at 5 keys to becoming a good (or better communicator), as inspired by Jenni Catron.

1-communication starts with listening. Are you better at listening or talking? If you aren’t listening more than half the time, you’re probably not a good communicator. Speaking certainly has a place, but without listening and even just taking time to pause and take a breath, you’re not going to be as effective a communicator as possible.

2-know yourself. Are you naturally, normally or by default defensive? How do you react when people tell you something you aren’t expecting or don’t want to hear? Do you typically wait until things have reached a boiling point to say something? Do you leave out key details when speaking? These are important things to know about yourself as a communicator, and in general the better you know yourself, the more successful you can be.

3-sensitivity isn’t a bad thing. What kind of delivery usually goes along with your words? Do you just spit things out there or do you think about how you are going to deliver your words in a way that the other person will understand and even appreciate what you’re telling them? Do you think about when you’re sharing with others (is it 4:59pm and you’re telling someone about an issue or concern? Is it the day before the big test when you share that it’s happening?)?

4-don’t be afraid to speak your mind. This isn’t about being harsh or saying things to hurt others, but about being honest and up front about things that are concerning you or important to you. Don’t always assume that other people will shoot you down. And while the first couple of communications may be difficult or a little intimidating, the more often you speak about what’s going on, the easier it will be and more confident you’ll be doing it.

5-ask questions. Clarity and context are both very important to effective communication, and without taking the time to ask questions to make sure you get the full story, or to confirm that you’re understanding what’s being shared, you’ll miss out on not only some crucial details, but you’ll also miss out on opportunities to turn ideas into bigger and/or better ideas.

But you only become a better communicator if you’re willing to work on it and do work on it. It’s not something you’ll become great at overnight, and most of us work on being good communicators throughout our whole lives. Let today be your starting point to becoming a better communicator.

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