Perhaps the most essential skill to learn in life is how to communicate well. Why is effective communication important? Communication is the means by which we interact with others. Whether our communication is verbal, physical or digital, our relationships with others are what make life not only functional but valuable.
Consider your daily life. Whether you’re in school, working or a stay-at-home parent, your days are filled with interactions. You may spend hours negotiating in meetings, teaching children how to read or sending emails to clients. Even if your work occurs remotely, no job exists in a vacuum.
You may live with a spouse, children, siblings, a roommate, or live solo, but chances are you are navigating relationships in the mornings, evenings and weekends, too. That’s not to mention the phone calls you take, your interactions at stores and appointments and the social outings you attend.
When you take the time to calculate the time spent interacting with others, it’s clear there is a lot of time we spend communicating. Considering its significance in our lives, it is important to communicate effectively. Properly conveying our thoughts and expectations to others can help us build meaningful relationships, solve problems, achieve our goals and more.
What is effective communication?
Something is considered effective when it is done accurately and appropriately. Effectiveness is a measure of whether you achieved what you set out to do. Efficiency, a related term, is used to describe whether something occurs in a reasonable time frame without too many wasted resources.
Effective communication means a person is clearly expressing themselves, and the outcome that was hoped for can now be actualized. For example, if a person wants to express his frustration with long work hours to his boss, effective communication would include a description of the actual hours worked, the stressful nature of working long hours as well as the desire for change to occur.
Moreover, effective communication requires that the essential content is delivered without too many extraneous details. Clear, honest, unbiased statements tend to be most effective in achieving the preferred results.
Why is effective communication important?
Effective communication expresses clearly what our wants and needs are. Why, though, is effective communication the key to interacting with others?
Human relationships are extremely nuanced. You’ve likely noticed times in your own life when a simple eye roll can ruin a conversation or even a relationship. The small gestures and remarks that people make each day carry a heavy weight, and effective communication can ensure stability in the relationships that matter.
Here are some of the top reasons why effective communication is important.
- Helps you express your personality, needs and desires
- Builds bonds between individuals and groups
- Allows you to share ideas with others
- Creates opportunities for problem-solving and decision-making
- Clarifies information and reduces confusion
- Unites those with similar perspectives, beliefs or goals
- Improves knowledge
- Can contribute to the development of self-awareness
- Fosters strong families, communities and societies
- Assists you in making daily decisions and big choices
- Reduces conflict
- Combats isolation and negative thinking patterns
Relating with others through verbal or physical communication opens up the world from an individual to society. In order to relate to others, maintain stable relationships and live the life you want to live, effective communication is indispensable.
What are effective communication techniques?
Once you’ve identified the weight of good communication in your own life, you’ll likely start looking for tips and practices to improve the way you relate to others. Here are some effective communication techniques that you can implement anywhere.
1. Determine your purpose before speaking
You surely know people who enjoy talking for the sake of talking. You likely know others who talk without seeming to care about what’s being said. We all fall into these categories at times, and it can make our words seem less valuable. When having a conversation with someone, determine your goal in communicating. This shows respect for both of your time and makes relationships more intentional.
2. Talk directly
The key to communicating is expressing what you want in as clear of terms as possible. It’s a common habit to use a plethora of words to express oneself but aim to use as few words as possible to convey your point.
The vast majority of interactions occur in the form of conversations, not lectures. That means time should be evenly shared between speaking and listening. Assess yourself and see whether you’re speaking roughly 50 percent of the time. If you’re speaking significantly more or less, try to determine why.
4. Look for the response to match the topic
Effective communication takes into account the response to the previous communication. You can check for physical cues, tone of voice, posture or facial expression to determine if you’re speaking clearly and how the person feels about what you’ve shared. If something feels off, it’s likely your communication faltered somewhere.
Effective communication is vital to sustaining healthy relationships. At Real Recovery, we believe that conveying your thoughts, wants and needs is essential to building the life you want to live.
If you feel like you’re not being heard, Real Recovery can help you hone your communication skills so you can better your relationships and better your life. Call now.