Feb 132018

Peggy Defazio
Mental Health Professional

Communication Skills
Everyone talks about the importance of being a good communicator, but what really does that really mean? Most of us would say a good communicator is a person who can get his/her message across clearly no matter what. So, what do we need to do if we want to be a good communicator?

Most experts agree that there are a few basic skills that can greatly improve our ability to get our message across with fewer misunderstandings.

First off, to be a good communicator, we have to learn to be a good listener. Listening is hard work – we have to learn to pay attention to what the other person is saying, not thinking our own thoughts or forming our reply to what we think the other person may be saying. One way to be a better listener is to ask questions about what you think you heard the other person said to make sure that you have understood what the other person meant to say.

If you want to be a good communicator you also need to pay attention to your non-verbal communication – you know eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures. If your non-verbal communication doesn’t match the words you’re saying, whoever you’re talking with is more likely to believe your non-verbal communication not your words. Research shows that as much as 55% of our communication is non-verbal … so limit the eye-rolling you do in front of others!

More parts of good communication? Knowing what you want to say, choosing your words carefully, watching your tone of voice, and picking a good time for your conversation all play a role in good communication. Wow – no wonder we have misunderstandings!

Never fear, even though it’s hard to be a good communicator, it isn’t impossible. Planning ahead for difficult or important conversations will most certainly help. Asking questions during your conversations will also help – this gives you the chance to correct any misunderstandings before anyone gets upset.

Good luck – remember, be patient with yourself and your listeners … beating yourself up won’t help you communicate more clearly. Until next time.

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