Effective communication is a skill that is learned through practice.
1. Listening – the most important part of communication is learning to listen with a purpose. Focus on the individual speaking to you and don’t allow other people or things to distract you while listening. Listen for the real meaning or main point of what the person speaking is saying. Make sure your body language is accepting. Don’t prejudge.
2. Body Language – This is the non-verbal way we communicate. Body language can tell feelings that may not be said verbally.
3. Understanding – Confirm what the person has said in your words to make certain you understand what they are saying. Ask questions if you don’t understand or need further clarification.
4. Empathy – Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to understand how they feel.
5. Responding – only after you have listened attentively and understand what the other person is communicating should you respond. When responding do not become emotional, and don’t try to control or manipulate the person. Look at it as an opportunity to learn. Be careful of your own body language. Look the person in the eye and assure that you have their attention. Keep an even calming tone in your voice. Begin by clarifying your understanding of their situation, ask questions that may help them to deal with the situation and when offering advice, make it constructive and not degrading.