4 simple best practices to rapidly improve communication with others.
Almost every one of us gives a different meaning to words we speak and hear. It is, therefore, crucial to consider the non-verbal and verbal opportunities we have for clarifying and directing our message.
Every form of communication creates a response in our brain. What you say (spoken words) and how you say it (voice tone), is 45% of our communication effort, while 55% is body language. The four simple tips presented here consider both your verbal and non-verbal communication. Each suggestion can be practiced independently or within the same conversation to decrease possible miscommunication and to dramatically increases the overall effectiveness of your communication with others.
Communication Best Practices:
- Physical stress and non-productive thoughts can be unknowingly communicated to others. When you make contact with the other person, greet the other person with a soft and warm look in your eyes. Having a friendly facial expression prevents the other person from using their defense mechanism.
- Speak slowly, clearly, and attentively to promote relaxation. The more relaxed both parties are, the better all parties can listen to the words that are spoken. Research shows that when you ‘listen’ with your frontal lobe, you start developing and imagining a story based on your positive and negative inner speech. If you are fully present in the moment and listen attentively, it’s easier to process with your visual cortex. By doing so, you stay closer to reality and avoid making assumptions. Using a warm voice even has healing potential.
- Speak briefly and succinctly. Studies have shown, our brain can remember in 10 seconds increments. If you consider that we have an average of 3 minutes to speak, then you can understand how much information we want to share is lost. Teach yourself to talk in one or two sentences, or 10 to a maximum of 20 words at a time, then pause – this is vital when you communicating under a tight deadline or multi-tasking. Take notice of the other person’s response. Mindfully observe is your message was correctly received. Clarify and restate if needed.
- Finally, use calm and slow gestures with your hands and arms to clarify your explanations and keep the other person’s attention – And, applying this tip to a heated conversation when emotions may be escalating can reduce sending unintended negative communications due to harmful body language. When you slow down and move your hands with an open and welcoming movement, it allows the receiver to track your calm tempo visually.
Over the next few days, pay attention to how you communicate. Introduce the elements mentioned above of effective communication one by one into your conversations. Each evening, take note of what went well, and notice the subtle quality changes of your relationships. Experiment, be mindful and listen to your intuition.