We spend all day, every day communicating with others verbally and non-verbally. While it may seem simple, it can often be very complicated and cause problems. I’m sure you have experienced some type of miscommunication in your GLO. Many of these issues could be avoided completely if proper communication is used. Though there are endless tips and skills to improving communication, today we are just going to focus on three basic tactics.
1. BE HONEST
First and foremost, honesty is the best policy! However, it is often the most difficult part of the whole communication process. Sometimes we have to address tough issues that make us uncomfortable. We fear making a fool of ourselves, rejection, or ruining a relationship. Even though all of these things may be scary to us, we have to keep in mind that if we are not honest, nothing will ever be accomplished and we will drive ourselves crazy with the “what ifs” (trust me, you don’t want to come down with a case of the “what ifs”!). Before you state your honest comments, make sure you think about what points you want to get across, and what the best phrasing is. Which leads me to my next suggestion…
2. Use “I” Statements!
When you approach someone about a potentially tense situation, the last thing you want is for them to feel attacked or bombarded. The best way to avoid this is to use “I” statements. This is a method developed by the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management. Creating a successful “I” statement is easy, just play a little game of fill in the blanks!
“I feel ___________ when __________ because ____________.”
Using these statements will keep the other person from getting defensive, resulting in a more beneficial conversation. I can tell you from experience, THIS REALLY WORKS!! Give it a try!
3. BE CONSCIOUS OF NON-VERBALS
Last, but CERTAINLY not least- pay attention to your facial expression, eye contact, and gestures when having conversations. You may have a nervous habit that you don’t realize, but it would really effect the conversation. Personally, I tend to cross my arms often. I don’t do it to purposely close myself off, I just happen to have long arms and don’t know what else to do with them! But I have to think from an objective perspective- others see my arms crossed and assume that I do not want to be approached or that I am unhappy. Try to maintain eye contact, keep your hands at your sides, and face the person directly.
These are three very simple things to think about before you confront that elephant in the room! I hope they help! Are there any other tactics you use to communicate successfully?