If you want to keep your relationships intact and strong, there is something you must consider. How effective are you as a communicator? Communication is the most important element of a successful relationship. Good communication should build trust, improve your physical and emotional connection and enhance your intimacy. However, if communication is poor, it can do just the opposite and destroy the foundation that holds a relationship together. Here are some facts:
- Communication is 7% what you say (words), 38% how you say it (tone) and 55% body language.
- Be aware of gender differences in communication. Men can be much more direct and assertive about their opinions. Women frequently will end a sentence with a rise in their tone of voice, which can be misinterpreted by men as insecurity. Women are more prone to use direct eye contact, while men are less likely to look the other person directly in the eye. Men are usually more concise and to the point in their communication, while women talk more emotionally around a point, looking for agreement. By taking natural gender differences into account we are more likely to understand the messages being conveyed and less likely to misinterpret, judge or put down the other person.
- Avoid interrupting when others are speaking and resist giving in when someone interrupts you. Instead, say “Just a minute. I haven’t finished yet.”
- Don’t assume that others can read your mind. You must ask for what you want, or you won’t get it.
- Some people believe that assertiveness is standing your ground and not giving in. True assertive behavior is hearing both sides of the argument and then coming to some kind of compromise.
- Body language includes facial expressions, eye behavior, hand gestures, posture and stance and conveys emotions, attitudes, mood and contradictions. It could also include the clothes you wear and silent pauses.
- The average woman speaks three times as many words a day as the average man, plus she speaks more quickly.
- Good listening skills require you to respond to what you hear by saying, "It sounds like you feel…" and paraphrase what you think the person is feeling. This indicates you heard and understood what was said. Be open to the other person correcting you to make sure they are being heard properly. This give and take dialogue opens the door to trust, clarity and enhanced mutual understanding.
Don't be afraid to hone your skills when it comes to communicating. You won't be disappointed with the results and those closest to you will be sure that what you say is what you mean!