What is communication?
Communication is more than the words you say. Establishing a method to communicate what you want is fundamental to the success and enjoyment of your shared living experience.
5 key elements for effective communication
- How you say it
- Why you say it
- When you say it
- What you don’t say
- Your body language
Barriers that prevent effective communication
- Not giving your undivided attention. Avoid talking about important topics while you are watching television or not looking at the person.
- Using technical language. Avoid using acronyms or technical language that may be interpreted incorrectly.
- Judging others. Avoid judging anyone you are communicating with. For example, don’t assume someone doesn’t care. Avoid saying things like “didn’t you understand anything I said?”
- Giving unwanted advice. Avoid telling people what to do, this will shut down their mind to accepting what you have to say.
- Avoiding concerns. Avoid shifting the conversation away from the main focus or concerns. Engage in open dialog that addresses each person’s feelings.
Effective communications skills
- Active listening – try to listen twice as much as you talk. The most basic human need is the need to be understood. Let them finish what they have to say, some people take a while to articulate what they want to say.
- Non-verbal communication – About half of our communication is conveyed through nonverbal elements such as facial expression, gestures, postures, tone of voice, and eye contact. If you are upset, calm yourself down before talking to calm your non-verbal signs.
- Ask questions – Asking questions shows that you are engaged and interested. Sometimes problems resolve themselves by asking the right questions.
- Be succinct – Having long and convoluted conversations will leave both people without a resolution. Get to the point and be clear.
- Summarize – After your conversation summarize the key points you talked about. Each person should repeat what actions they are going to do to resolve the problem.
- Be empathetic – Empathy is the ability to understand and feel other people’s emotions. By seeing things from the other person’s perspective it will help reach a solution quickly. Ask questions to understand the core causes of stress or anxiety, this helps build trust and respect.
- Constructive Feedback – Providing honest feedback can be hard, however it is essential to establish expectations. Acknowledge what each person does well instead of picking apart their mistakes. Ask how you can help each other to work through your weaknesses.
- Develop trust – Trust occurs on practical and emotional levels. Practical trust can be built by proving yourself as a reliable person. Emotional trust occurs when people know you will treat them with kindness and respect without judgment.
TIP: Explain your thought process when drawing a conclusion. This shows that you have put thought and consideration into your decision.
Establishing clear boundaries is fundamental for conflict prevention. Boundaries vary from what items you are comfortable sharing to how much quiet time or privacy a person needs. Your boundaries are likely different from others; have an honest discussion at the beginning of your living arrangement to establish your boundaries. Learn more about boundaries.