Effective communication is not just about exchanging information. It involves understanding what is being communicated to you, the emotions, and motive behind the information given to you.
To communicate effectively, you should be an active listener. Ask questions about the parts of information you don’t understand and respond to information using proper reasoning combined with emotional intelligence. You can understand an information given to you but if you reply without using emotional intelligence and the right body language, you will cause the receiver to misinterpret whatever you’re trying to say. Effective communication also requires that you see things from the perspective of whoever is trying to communicate with you. A lot of people don’t realize they have poor communication skills. The major sign of poor communication is repeated argument and a feeling of disconnect between the parties involved. However, there are specific signs that indicate poor communication skills.
- Poor comprehension– If you notice that whenever someone tries to communicate with you, they spend so much time trying to pass across a single point, or they feel drained communicating with you and prefer to drop the topic rather than reach a conclusion, you may have poor comprehension. Poor comprehension refers to low understanding of information. If someone talks to you and you only respond based on what is in your head and not in line with what the person just said, you have poor comprehension.
Whenever someone is talking, listen to what the person is saying and ask questions on what you don’t understand or on the reason behind a statement before jumping to conclusions. Don’t focus on the points you want to pass across while ignoring what the other person is trying to say. If you stick to one point even after the person has clarified or dismissed that point, it shows you’re either not listening or you’re not reaching a mutual conclusion.
- You don’t consider your statement before speaking– You should always think a statement or point through and consider how the receiver may interpret it before you speak. Don’t fall into the habit of correcting your statement after the receiver has already misinterpreted it. It makes you seem dishonest. Don’t express multiple points at a time especially if they have little correlation with one another. That only confuses the receiver.
- You jump to conclusions easily– When someone is talking to you and you reply before allowing them to finish talking or you pass a judgement concerning a question asked instead of replying, you only get the person worked up and annoyed. When the person talking to you insists on finishing his/her statement but you cut the person off and keep talking, you will end up making misinterpretations. Also, the person will not be focused on what you’re saying because you have refused to hear them out.
- You are always distracted– Whenever someone is talking to you and you keep checking your phone or looking around to see if anyone else is worth speaking to, you will come across as disrespectful and you will not be focused on what is being said to you.
- Lack of sincerity– It’s not nice to give dishonest and vague replies or not say anything in a conversation that requires your input. In relationships, communication should never be avoided. Instead, practice having the conversation first.
- Incorrect body language– Always ensure your body language doesn’t betray you in a conversation. If people complain frequently that you have an unserious or rude demeanor during serious conversations, check your body language. Also, putting on an annoyed countenance during funny or jovial conversations only embarrasses those involved in the conversation. Never dismiss or joke about a serious conversation. Maintain eye contact when talking to someone or being spoken to.
- You rely on a single means of communication– Sticking to just one means of communication is boring. Also, some conversations require certain means of communication. For example, having a serious conversation over text or passing across formal information to your boss using Instagram instead of through E-mail seems disrespectful.