Communication is a key part of navigating interpersonal relationships of any kind. However, it’s much too easy to allow communication mistakes to derail and disrupt our lives. We provided you with a number of helpful communication tips in parts one and two of this ongoing series, so be sure to catch up on those posts if you haven’t already seen them. In today’s post, we’ll continue to provide you with even more tips that can help you facilitate clear and effective communication in any and every situation.
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Are You Making These Communication Errors?
Talking Too Much About Yourself
Have you ever been in a conversation in which the other person only talks about their life? Everyone needs to talk about themselves and their life, but constantly redirecting a conversation to your life and your needs can make you come across as arrogant or self-aggrandizing. Psychological studies show that we’re much more receptive to others when we feel that the other person cares about our needs, so make sure that you’re not dominating your conversations with too much information pertaining to yourself.
Not Following Up
As we mentioned in our first installment of this series, active listening is an important skill that everyone should develop. In addition to all of the tips we provided in that post, you should also get into the habit of asking follow-up questions to show interest in what the other person is saying. Here are just a few of the many possible examples of effective follow-up questions:
- How did that make you feel?
- Would you have preferred a different outcome?
- What was the best part of that experience?
If the conversation doesn’t necessarily warrant follow-up questions, you can also show that you’re listening by summarizing the other person’s statements. Don’t directly repeat what they said, but instead show that you listened and understood by paraphrasing what was said as you begin your reply.
Interrupting someone before they have a chance to finish speaking conveys that you believe that you’re more important. Some people interrupt others because they’re excited or over-eager to reply, while others do use interrupting as a way of displaying power. In either case, breaking the habit of interrupting others is a guaranteed way to facilitate better communication in all of your relationships.
While gossiping isn’t necessarily a communication error per se, it’s a form of communication that can break down trust and tarnish your image. Even if you don’t mean any harm by gossiping behind someone’s back, you can find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation should they — or anyone outside of the gossip circle — find out what you said. Instead of gossiping about things that bother you, try reaching out directly to others to address the root of the issue. At the end of the day, you’ll feel much better by having a direct, honest discussion.
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