Communication is one of the most important keys to any relationship. That goes far beyond romantic relationships. It’s crucial to friendships, familial relationships, and even the connections you form at work. The problem? Many people don’t communicate well.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at three ways to effectively communicate. Of course, the sooner you start putting them into practice, the more meaningful your interactions will be.
1. Feeling Heard
Again, feeling heard doesn’t mean someone is simply listening to what’s being said. If you’re talking to someone and you want them to feel heard, there are a few extra steps you should take.
Acknowledgment is the simplest way to let someone know you’re truly listening. Acknowledging someone can be as simple as nodding your head, asking questions, or repeating back pieces of what they said. Body language can also let them know you’re paying attention.
When you prove to them that you’re listening attentively, the overall quality of the conversation will improve. Additionally, they’ll be more likely to open up and feel comfortable with you.
2. Feeling Listened To
There’s a difference between letting someone know you hear them (which is a great start) and actively listening. Listening is more than just acknowledgment. It’s a way to spur on conversation and communicate effectively. To be an active listener, follow the “three A’s”:
Your attitude is how you approach the conversation and how you react as it continues. Attention might seem self-explanatory, but it’s easy to get distracted or let your mind wander in a conversation. Focusing your attention on the person, you’re talking to will make a big difference.
Adjustment allows you to have an open mind with your speaker. Choose to go with the flow when it comes to the conversation, and you’ll end up getting more out of it.
3. Feeling Validated
Have you ever thought someone was truly listening to you and understood where you were coming from? Chances are, that person made you feel validated. They may have said something as simple as “I understand” or “I hear that you’re frustrated.” But, on the other hand, have you ever had a time when you felt like someone was listening, only for them to brush off your real feelings?
If that happened, how did it make you feel? You probably closed yourself off, not wanting to discuss anything further. You might have even thought your feelings didn’t matter or that you had no one you could really talk to. The last thing you want is to make someone else feel that way, especially when they’re willing to open up to you.
Validation is a crucial step in effective communication. If someone is talking to you, they’ll know you’re listening and paying attention when you acknowledge their feelings or opinions. This makes you an active participant in the conversation, which is what communication is all about.
Communication is a two-way street. Unfortunately, many people spend too much time focusing on what they want to say and not enough time focusing on how to make someone else feel heard. Think about the most meaningful conversations in your life and how your recipient made you feel.
You should always strive to truly hear whoever is talking to you. Then, they’re more likely to truly listen to what you have to say in return.
Communication is at times challenging in relationships. And parenting can further stress already fragile relationships. Don't wait to reach out and see how therapy can help you communicate with your loved on better. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.
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Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.