Speak to be Heard: Mastering the Art of Effective Communication
Learning how to communicate effectively is not that difficult if you know the basics of communication. Effective communication starts with effective and proactive listening. If you truly try to understand what the other person wants to say, you’ve almost mastered the essence of communication.
Communication is often the biggest problem within the solution. That has little to do with the intention behind what we communicate. It has to do with the translation between sender and receiver. We tend to believe that if you both speak the same language, you both use the same words and sentence structure.
We also often believe that one word means the same to you as to another. Communication experts teach you to become aware of the opposite so that you can communicate more effectively.
Communication experts have studied the art of positive communication so that a message can be transmitted and understood more effectively.
Communication and giving meaning are always connected
To properly understand what communication is all about, it is important to know that we consciously and unconsciously give meaning to everything we hear, see and feel. In a fraction of a second, we give meaning to a word, an act, an expression, or a touch.
But that doesn’t mean that the meaning we give to words is always the right one! This is where the challenge of communication begins.
There are four types of communication
- Verbal communication
- Visual communication
- Physical communication
- Graphical communication
The appearance of each of these four types of communication is largely determined by three factors
- Cultural background
- Level of education and vocabulary
- Individual thinking styles
Communication experts take into account the different forms of communication and the influence that these factors can have.
A big difference can arise between what someone says or shows and the intention behind it. Anger and angry words can, for example, be a sign of powerlessness or sadness. And saying that you do not want something can be a sign of shame or doubt.
Communication specialists master the ability to find out the true intent behind visual, verbal, physical, or graphical communication.
Being understood can be difficult
Because we often take our own sentence structure and choice of words as the standard, we can become very frustrated if others don’t understand us or if we can’t build a bright between us and the other person. Certainly, because what we say, sounds so logical to us. What can be difficult about that for another?
Yet the trick is to speak not your own, but someone else’s language if you want to be well understood. Communication professionals are proficient in this and pay attention to the following communication styles and qualities to speak the language of the recipient:
- Use of words: Such as coarse, soft, abusive, or timid
- Speed and rhythm of speech: Such as slow, fast, singing, or staccato
- Physical posture: As mobile, hanging, upright, or slumped
- Style: As symbolic, factual and analytical, poetic, narrative, or short and to the point
- Structure: Such as chaotic or structured
Empathy and effective communication
An important aspect of effective communication is empathy. Empathy is the ability to empathize with the feelings and ideas of another person or group. Understanding and feeling the points of view or emotions of another or certain groups helps in resolving conflicts and creating an understanding of your own points of view.
Empathy does not mean that you have to agree with another person’s points of view. Showing understanding makes the other person more likely to listen to your opinions and emotions as well.
Empathy ensures acceptance of other points of view. We cannot and do not all have the same beliefs. By accepting, you can come to the conclusion that you agree that you disagree with someone else without blaming anyone.
Effective communication and conflicts
Conflicts usually arise as a result of a difference of opinion or understanding on a particular subject. Conflicts are exacerbated if both parties stick to their point of view. Conflicts can be resolved by not looking at and talking about what the differences are, but what the similarities are between the two parties.
Effective communication and emotions during quarrels
During a quarrel or conflict, emotions can run high. Emotions are usually the cause of disagreement and additional frustration about this disagreement. It is important to realize that the cause of these emotions does not lie with someone else but with yourself. You can tell the other person which emotions you are experiencing, but the other person is in no way to blame for this.
Blaming each other for what emotions there are doesn’t solve anything. It is important to keep communicating about the subject through which the conflict or quarrel arose. By searching for solutions and similarities the emotions will decrease and there may be a rapprochement between the two parties. Saying sorry could also help but some people have difficulties saying sorry.
Feedback and effective communication
One of the most important aspects of effective communication is the ability to listen. You can hear what someone is saying, but that doesn’t mean that you take it for granted. Just like you want to be heard when you say something, the other person also wants to be understood. Especially when someone gives feedback.
You don’t have to agree with the feedback, but it is important that you tell the other person that you have understood the feedback. Feedback will make you grow. By immediately coming up with counterarguments, the other person will not feel heard and will, in turn, come up with new arguments. You prevent this by making it clear to the other person that you will take the message to heart.