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  • Writer's pictureLinda Milun

Tried & Tested: Communication Tips

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

There are so many ideas, advices and guides out there about how to communicate well. Some of the things you will find here you might know already, and some might be new. I won't claim that these ideas are created by me. Instead I want to give you an overview of some of the best tips for your communication. I tried and tested all of them and saw first hand that they are benefiting my conversations.


Open-ended Questions

Asking the right questions is essential to keep the flow of the conversation going. Closed-ended questions are questions which can be answered by just saying "Yes." or "No.". It can cause a sudden end to a conversation. Open-ended questions on the other hand motivate the other person to acutally think about how to respond and how many information to inlcude in the answer. Open-ended questions will lead to more insight and understanding of the other person. And that again leads to you being able to actually respond and express yourself in such a way, that the other person will understand you better. Open-ended questions start for example with: how, what, what if, decribe/tell me... what/how...,


Acknowledge Your Ignorance

It is pretty simple. If you dont know something, than admit it. Don't pretend like you know it all. No one can expect from another person such a thing. If someone asks you about your opinion or advice on a topic you are so far ignorant of just say "I don't know about that, but let me research and get back to you.". People will actually respect you for being honest and for having the willingness to respond to them after giving some thought to it.


Repeat and Rephrase

It is important to make sure, that you understood the other person right. To make sure that's the case it's recommended to repeat in your own words what you heard the other person saying. e.g. "If I understood you right, you ment that the place and the prices were not matching. What made you think that?" With that you showed the other person, that you listened, you give them the chance to clear it, if there was a missunderstanding and you make sure that you really got it right in your own understanding.


Don't Interrupt, Don't assume

Sometimes when we talk to someone, we think we know where the person is going to with their communication. We think, we know that the person wants to express something particular. This can cause, that we respond in an conversation according to what we assume the other person might want to say next. Actually, what we do is that we try to be the smarter one. No need to do that. In the end, it can lead to hurt, confusion and that the other person does not want to continue to speak. So, don't interrupt assuming that you know what the other person is about to say.


Careful With Details

If you explain to someone a situation or share a story, avoid getting lost in details. Yes, sometimes details are really relevant. Yet, most of the time it is irrelevant for the other person, at what time you sat down to drink a coffee, what the name of the friend of the friend is, where that person was born, why you chose to drink americano instead of latte. You can spare the other person details, which don't contriubute to the main message of your story or to the essence of what you are trying to express. Rather explain the facts - which really matter - well instead of dwelling on small unneccessary informations. The other person will get bored or uninterested, when filled up with to much unneeded content.


Focus

It is so easy to get distracted, but staying focused and active listening is a choice. If a thought comes that tries to distract you from the ongoing conversation, don't dwell on that thought. Let it come and pass again. Focus on the person right infront of you, the body language, the facial expression, the words, the tonation, etc. Active listening and focusing are skills that can be trained and become a habit. Everyone can learn it - if willing.

Be Open-Minded

It is so easy to judge the other person. So quickly we tend to measure others with our own measurements. We expect them to have our values, morals and to abbid by our standards, but that is dangerous. It will only cause disappointment. Be open-minded to the different perspective. It doesn't mean that you have to agree to everything. You can exchange your opinions, but you have to respect the choices of others (except its illegal). What they decide and do is their affair. You can point things out in a kind way, but never pressure others into your ways. Stay open-minded.


Filter

Many conflicts are caused because we are quick to speak. For a healthy communication it is essential to really filter what you are going to say. Don't just speak. Really process. Your words will not go out empty. They will do something, but not always the best, if you speak them hasty. It doest not just matter what you say, but also how you say it. Your choice of words and tone of voice have to be chosen wisely. e.g. If you complain that others are speaking insensitive with you, than reflect on how you speak. Often people, who are not thinking about how they say things, are the one's who get upset if others choose their words carelessly and maybe end up saying something offensive. To filter first reflect: What will your words accomplish? Are they neccessary? Are they without judgment? Are they helping and uplifting? Are they causing negative pressure and force or are they freeing and encouraging?

Remember, you can only work on yourself first. You cannot change the others to your liking.

I hope these tips will help you and benefit your communication. One last thought though: People know when you are talking to them because you have to or because you have a second agenda or if you actually want to talk to them. So be real, be polite and choose to genuinely care about the other person in the conversation.


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