Effective communication can help us understand a person or situation and make it possible for us to build respect and trust, resolve our differences and create an environment where affection, creative ideas and problem solving can flourish.

Though communication may seem simple much of what others try to communicate to us or we try to communicate to them end up getting misunderstood. This can cause frustration and conflict in personal and work relationships. However, there are some effective communication skills that you can use to connect with your spouse, friends, kids and coworkers.

  Listening

Listening is without doubt an important aspect of effective communication. In order to listen successfully, it doesn’t mean just understanding the words or information being communicated but it also involve understanding the feelings of the speaker about the information.

If you wish to understand and connect with the other person, listening comes naturally. But if it doesn’t, there are several tips that you can use:

·         Focus completely on the speaker

·         Avoid interrupting

·         Avoid appearing judgmental

·         Show interest

  Nonverbal communication

When communicating on things that we care about, we mainly use the nonverbal signals. Body language or body communication includes

eye contact, facial expressions, body movement and gestures, posture, tone of the voice and even your breathing and muscle tension.

How you look, move, listen and react to another person shows your feelings more clearly than words can ever do. Being able to understand and use non verbal communication can help you to easily connect with others, show your meaning, navigate challenging situations and have better relationships at home and work.

You can use open body language to enhance effective communication. Maintain eye contact, have your arms uncrossed, sit on the edge of your seat and stand with an open stance when talking.

You can also use body language to enhance your verbal message such as patting a friend on the back as a way of completing him or her. To improve nonverbal communication:

·         Practice observing people

·         Know the individual differences such as cultures and countries

·         Lookout for nonverbal communication as a group rather than relying on a single signal. Consider the tone of voice, eye contact and other body languages.

·         Ensure that your nonverbal communication match or reinforce your words

·         Adjust the signals according to the context

·          Use body language to portray body language.

  Manage stress

At low levels, stress can enable you to perform under pressure. But when it becomes overwhelming, it can be a hindrance to effective communication as it can disrupt your ability to think and act creatively and clearly. When stressed, you are likely to send confusing non verbal communication. It is due to stress during disagreement that people say things that they later regret. To effectively manage stress for effective communication:

·         Notice when you are becoming stressed

·         Take time to calm down

·         Manage stress quickly by clenching and relaxing muscles, taking deep breath or taking a walk.

·         Lookout for humor in the situation

·         Be ready to bend a little so as to come to a compromise

·         Take time from the situation for everyone to calm down.

 Emotional awareness

Emotions play a key role in the way we communicate. This is an illustration of the way you feel rather than the way you think that motivate you to make decision or communicate. Emotional awareness offers you the tools to understand yourself as well as other people and the message that they are communicating to you. Though understanding your emotions may seem simple, there are people who try to sedate or ignore strong feelings such as hunger, fear and sadness. With practice and patience, it is possible to learn emotional awareness..

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