Communication is a good part of who we are. No person exists as a solitary island, we always evolve as human beings in contact with others, regardless of whether we enjoy most social relationships or not.
That’s why many people are concerned about one question: “how do I communicate better with other people?” .
Learning to make yourself understood and to interact correctly with others is so important. In this article we will see several tips on how to communicate better with others from simple ideas to apply in your day-to-day habits.
How can I communicate better with others?
Before looking at the specific techniques to apply in your social relationships to better connect with those around you, it is important to understand some basic principles of communication, whether in the area of friendship, couples or at work . They are the following.
1. You are responsible for making yourself understood
Does that old saying “I’m responsible for what I say, not what you understand” ring a bell? Well, you’ll be interested to know that’s false, or at least partially false. Communication doesn’t work like a system of transmitting data packets that you send out and that’s it; it’s something much more dynamic, you have to participate in the process by which the other person interprets what you say.
This is because the simple fact of being a different person from the recipient already makes our point of view and experiences lived in the past and in the present different, which makes that no matter how well we do it, misunderstandings can always appear.
2. Put yourself in other people’s shoes
This advice is derived from the previous one, given that the communication process is somewhat dynamic and you have to make sure that there are no errors .
3. The context must be taken into account
Beyond the individuals involved in an act of communication is the context, and this conditions so much what is said and how what is said is interpreted that it must always be considered a very important factor.
For example, it is not the same to say something in a meeting in a restaurant than in the office where you work and being one of the two the head of the company.
Techniques to better express yourself and connect with others
In light of the above, we can now turn to several tips on how to communicate better with others and make this improve your social relationships.
1. Adapt your language
It is very important to adapt the language to the conversation you are having, especially considering two factors: the training and educational level of those listening, and the context in which the conversation takes place .
For example, if you are doing research in biology and want to explain what a dog breed you have at home looks like, you should definitely avoid using very technical jargon for it, unless the other person asks you to explain those details.
On the other hand, if you are in a professional context, it is likely that you will be frowned upon to express yourself as you would your lifelong friends; as much as this is an arbitrary imposition, breaking these unwritten rules can overshadow the content of your message, as well as wear down your image in many cases.
2. Look into the eyes
This is possibly one of the simplest yet most basic tips on how to communicate better. If you don’t do this, a strange situation will arise in which it will be difficult to interpret what you say, since your intentions will not be clear (since you will be talking but at the same time you show that you would like to be anywhere else but having that conversation).
Just so you don’t get obsessed with something so basic, it’s better to worry about looking into your eyes for many seconds at a time, rather than focusing on looking into your eyes all the time. The ideal is to do it with a spontaneity that allows you to forget about it unless you detect that you are not complying.
3. Avoid prejudging
Sometimes we may be tempted to express out loud prejudices about others, whether positive or negative, if only to generate conversation. Avoid this. In any case, ask questions to allow others to make themselves known.
4. Check to see if the other person is feeling nervous
Sometimes you’ll run into people who are likely to feel nervous during conversations, especially if they know you very little.
When you detect these signs of stress, show them your complicity and use strategies to discharge the tension and generate a more relaxed atmosphere : make a joke, adopt a relaxed non-verbal language, show that you take the other person seriously and care what they think of you, etc.
5. Practice active listening
When you’re spoken to, don’t take a passive attitude. Even if you have to remain silent, give signs that you are paying attention: look into their eyes, nod, react with some exclamations depending on the emotions provoked by what you hear , and occasionally add small comments or ask questions related to the topic (as long as they don’t involve telling a story that is too long and not very important in that situation). This is what is known as active listening.
- Ferguson, S. D.; Lennox-Terrion, J.; Ahmed, R.; Jaya, P. (2014). Communication in Everyday Life: Personal and Professional Contexts. Canada: Oxford University Press.
- Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal communication. Transaction Publishers.
- Turner, L.H., and West, R.L. (2013). Perspectives on family communication. Boston: McGraw-Hill.