Developing Good Communication Habits – Part One
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Jeanne Guaspari, LMFT
Good communication is essential to all our relationships. It is the basic foundation for successful relationships whether it’s a parent-child, sibling, co-worker, friend, or spousal relationship. Knowing how to communicate your thoughts and feelings helps facilitate your connection to others.
One of the first steps to developing effective communication is to know how to be a good listener. All too often, people are focusing on themselves and what they want to say when they are in a conversation rather than actively listening to the other person. Do any of the following obstacles to effective listening sound familiar to you?
• Do you interrupt and talk over the other person?
• Are you planning what you will say back while the other person is talking?
• Do you find that you are not giving others your full attention?
• Do you assume you already know what the other person is going to say?
• Are you more concerned with being “right” rather than trying to understand how the other person is feeling?
Instead, active listening is what you want to strive to do. Active listening means listening with empathy, making an effort to understand the thoughts, beliefs, and feelings of the other person. Here are some things you can do to become an active listener.
• Give your complete attention to the other person.
• Listen without interruption, trying to understand the other person’s point of view even if you do not agree with it or have another idea.
• Make eye contact and be conscious of your facial expressions. A smirk or a rolling of the eyes while the other person is talking sends a negative non-verbal message.
• Ask questions of the other person to clear up any confusion you have about what the other person is trying to tell you.
• Listen for the feelings of the other person and acknowledge them to show you have correctly understood.