5 steps to effective communication

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Most of our interaction with others whether it your colleagues, your employees, a spouse, or the person behind the counter, involve communication. If you’re an introvert the very idea of having to communicate with someone other than for necessity probably proves daunting.

It’s common knowledge that introverts and extroverts differ in their approach to communication. Extroverts, as described by Poynter.org are energized by their connection with the world around them (as a self-proclaimed extrovert I can attest to this) whilst introverts get energy by incubating their thoughts before presenting them to others.

Both are forms of communication, though one is more expressive than the other.

Listed hereunder are 5 steps to enable effective communcation

1. Think before speaking

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Indeed a servant will speak a word pleasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it Allah raises him by many degrees. And indeed a servant will speak a word displeasing to Allah that he thinks to be insignificant, but because of it, He will consign him to the Hellfire.”

Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating (Eternal sunshine of a spotless mind)

Communication is the key to human relationships, however, like most skills, it does require a certain amount of practice. We live such rushed lives that we often find the need to jumble together a string of words as a ploy at communicating. Speaking endlessly could result in futile repetition making a conversation seemingly worthless.

Pause. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and actually consider your words.

2. Maintaining honesty

“The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise and when he is entrusted he betrays the trust.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In our endeavour to ‘fit in’ we forget the aspect of integrity. Sometimes it’s as simple as agreeing to like a particular sport when in truth you have no interest in sports of any sort. According to positivelypresent.com when you’re honest, communication becomes a lot less complicated.

You don’t have to perpetually worry about uncovering a dishonest statement nor do you have to think about what you’re going to say wrong.

3. Be an active listener

Cobizmag.com says that we being formulating when we have heard less than 15 percent of what someone else has to say. That means our responses are often geared only to that small percentage, and not the totality of what the other person is trying to communicate.

Listening does not only mean lending your ears to the communication it also means being receptive about the information being sent your way.

People often misinterpret effective listening skills to mean being in agreement. This does not hold true.

Being a good listener also means paying attention to non-verbal cues. Perhaps you’ve met someone you haven’t seen in ages in the parking lot and whilst her face looks like she’s rather excited to see you, perhaps her feet are inclined towards the direction of her car, indicating that she possibly has someplace else to be and is embarrassed to cut you short.

Actually listening means that you’d be able to weigh in what is being said before responding, allowing for more meaningful conversation.

4. Be open-minded

Communication, even at its most basic level, can be tough at times.

I often find that communicating with certain individuals almost proves impossible. For the most part, it reads like a meaningless chapter and instead of holding my head in frustration I prefer rather to maintain my distance.

This isn’t the solution though and in writing this I realize the fruitlessness of this.

According to Stephen Covey it is important to focus on the concept of listening to actually understand what is being said, rather than listening just to respond with what you want to say.

5. Agreeing to disagree

Sometimes the outcome of a conversation may not be what you hoped for. But like all relationships it is important to reach a position of compromise.

Our conversational contribution to a discussion can be based on a variety of aspects. Often, our core values amongst other things can lead us to have a differing view on certain aspects, especially when the topic of discussion touches on something that is considerably controversial.

Agreeing to disagree does not necessarily mean giving up your opinion, after all, we’re entitled to it. What is does signify though is maturity. It takes a certain level of understanding to actually grasp the aspect of differing opinions and whilst you may deem your opinion as ‘totally justified’, so does the other person.

Disagreement are bound to occur but they don’t need to be a persisting problem as long as you are able to respect the opinion of others.

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