Conflict is inevitable, but in many cases, conflict arises because of unclear communication. Ambiguity and vagueness are everywhere, and it’s important to know how to minimize them in your daily life. We provided you with a few tips that can help you become a more effective communicator in a previous post, so be sure to read through that information if you’re interested in learning more about this topic. In today’s post, we’ll continue to provide you with even more helpful communication tips.
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Communication Tips, Continued
Assuming You’ve Been Understood
This is one of the easiest communication errors you can make. You know what you said, so the other person does too, right? Wrong.
As technical translation experts, we’re all too familiar with how ambiguous and vague some phrases and words can be. Even if you believe that you’ve been thoroughly clear in what you said, check to ensure that the other person has understood what you meant. It sounds simple, but doing everything in your power to avoid misinterpretations can save you both time and frustration.
Reacting Instead of Responding
How many times have you said something that you later regretted? We’re willing to bet that you can recall a few circumstances in which your emotions got the better of you.
It’s easy to let a knee-jerk reaction cause you to say something hurtful or aggressive, but one of the keys to effective communication is controlling your emotions and responding from a place of calmness and understanding. If you know that your emotions get heated quickly, then plan to take measures that allow you to stay cool and collected. Whether it’s stepping outside to take a breath or returning to the conversation at a later time, keeping your emotions from taking control is one of the best ways to ensure that you won’t say something you regret.
If you’re having a particularly sensitive or difficult discussion, refer back to our previous post about using “we” language to reframe the situation in a team-based, collaborative context.
It might sound counterintuitive, but there’s much more to listening than simply hearing what a person says. Active listening is an important skill that involves listening with all of your senses instead of simply letting the speaker talk to you.
In our previous post, we discussed the importance of eye contact in effective communication, and you should use those tips as you further develop your ability to listen actively. However, while eye contact is an important element of active listening, it involves much more than simply looking into the speaker’s eyes.
Active listening involves:
- Smiling: A small smile can go a long way toward making the speaker feel appreciated and valued. Smiles can also convey agreement and excitement, depending on the context.
- Maintaining eye contact: As we noted in our previous entry, eye contact shows the other person that they have your full attention. However, some speakers can be intimidated by too much eye contact, so always do your best to gauge how much eye contact is appropriate for the situation.
- Body language: Slouching and/or crossing your arms can make you appear closed off or dissatisfied with what is being said. Active listeners lean slightly forward, nod, and open themselves up to the other person.
- Mirroring: As you might have guessed from the name, mirroring involves reflecting the other person’s facial expressions and body language. While you shouldn’t try to mimic every move the other person makes (as this would constantly distract you from actively listening to them), occasionally mirroring their actions shows empathy and understanding.
Like any skill, it takes time to become an active listener. That being said, we can almost guarantee that you will have better conversations if you work to incorporate some of these tips into your life!
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Keep an eye on our blog page for even more helpful communication tips. If you’re ready to speak with our technical translation experts for a free quote, then get in touch with us using the form below.