Have you ever had this conversation before?
Them: “How are you?”
Or have you ever been in a meeting and realized you zoned out halfway through?
Or how about when you’re at the movie theater and the person behind the concession stand hands you a bag of popcorn and tells you to enjoy the movie, and you respond, “You, too.”
Sometimes, communication can be way harder than it seems. But here are a few simple tricks to becoming a better communicator.
When you are talking with someone, practice the art of active listening. Work on improving your body language and make eye contact with the person you’re talking to. Pay attention to what the speaker is saying and try to avoid distracting thoughts and outside conversations.
Too often our opinions and judgments distort what we are hearing. To avoid misunderstanding, reflect on what they were saying and ask for clarification if needed. It also doesn’t hurt to summarize what they said, just so you’re both on the same page.
Active listening will not only strengthen your relationships, but it will also boost productivity and defer judgments.
If you want to build better working relationships, it is imperative that you be honest. Not only will your business contacts appreciate your integrity, but they will also show you the same courtesy. And in an honest working world, everyone’s happy.
Now, honesty is not easy in some cases. Especially if you have bad news. Honesty can leave you feeling vulnerable and anxious. A light sweat might form on your brow as you think about delivering bad news. You might think telling a little white lie would be better than facing the uncomfortable situation.
But remember, little lies can turn into big lies. Lying is a slippery slope that creates barriers to good communication.
What is your body language is saying about you?
Are your arms crossed? Do your eyes wander around the room? Are you slumped over in your chair?
These actions come across as disinterest to the other person. When you are speaking with someone make sure you are sitting or standing up tall. Make eye contact with the other person and tilt your body toward theirs. These small adjustments to your body language will let the other person know that you are engaged in the conversation.
It’s easy for our minds to veer off course and become restless. One moment you’re attentively listening and the next you’re wondering what you’re going to have for dinner.
If you are guilty of having your mind wander during a conversation, you might want to practice meditation. Studies show that meditation can lead to more self-awareness. Meditation helps calm your thoughts and stay in the present moment. Meditation also helps with stress and introspection.
Communication can be difficult, but with the right tools, we can all become better communicators. If you practice these tips each time you talk with someone, you will be on your way to strengthening relationships and having peace of mind.