Communication is the key to building successful relationships in every area of life. Think about all the conflicts that could have been resolved easily if one person communicated effectively? Communication has ruined so many things, and this includes partnerships, friendships, relationships and so much more. Being able to communicate our emotions is so important because it saves us a lot of time and bullshit in the end. This might sound easy, but the problem is that most people are so afraid and shy to say what’s really on their mind and because of that they never set expectations. The bigger issue is that when we don’t set the expectations in the beginning, we pay a price for it whether or not we are aware. The price is often costly because one person ends up feeling bamboozled at the end of it when sometimes that honestly isn’t the intention.
The question I encourage everyone to ask themselves is would you rather go out of your way and have that uncomfortable conversation at the right time, or would you rather pay the price of being misunderstood and ruining a relationship that could have been saved? In this article I discuss 4 ways to improve your communication skills to prevent any mishaps in your daily life. I hope this provides you with the clarity needed to prevent a problem down the road.
4 ways to improve your communication skills.
Setting the expectations.
This is by far the most important piece of communication because it shows respect for the other person involved. Think about it, How can you expect someone to read your mind if you aren’t clearly communicating how you feel. Nobody is a mind reader and it’s very selfish to assume anything. For example the other day my hairstylist called me complaining that she did a girl’s hair and the girl paid her $100 dollars for her box braids instead of $270. She was so outraged by this and wasn’t sure how to handle it. As I tried to help her find a solution it was important that I understood what was going on. She mentioned that the client asked her how much it would be and she did inform her it was $100 but after she finished doing her hair she realized 100 dollars just wasn’t enough for the work and decided to charge her 270. After hearing that story , it was obvious what the problem was. She set an expectation and at the last minute changed her mind. If she initially told her that the price was 270 then the client would have decided if she wanted to do business with her or not, but randomly changing the price on her just wasn’t right.
The communication was insensitive to the other party because she came in expecting to pay a particular price and got caught off guard. The client could have budgeted to pay her exactly the amount she asked for and was just being an adult negotiating her money the right way as she should. Now of course we could look at this perspective from a low vibrational perspective and call the client “broke” but was she really? Or was she refusing to be bamboozled? In my opinion, the hairstylist had to pay the price for not giving the hard truth and randomly changing the prices. I encouraged her to find a way to sort it out of course but I had to be honest with her and tell her that it was her fault. Analyzing this situation that day taught me a very valuable lesson. It showed me that over-communicating is key, and when we fail to set the tone, we cant be angry when things done go our way.
Listen to comprehend not to respond.
Contrary to popular opinion listening is actually a very hard skill to perfect because most people care more about getting their point across forgetting that communication is a two-way street. See when a conversation is going on you will notice that one person is typically thinking about their response, instead of listening to the speaker. The mistake here is that you can’t possibly be listening and at the same time thinking of a response, that’s not being attentive. The right thing to do when someone is communicating with you is to first put your phone down and avoid any distractions. The other thing is to make sure you are open-minded and not judging the speaker as they speak because judgments typically can lead to hearing things in a way that it wasn’t delivered. Lastly, If you are the person speaking while the other party is listening, be sure to say things like “does that make sense” to confirm that the other person clearly understands your perspective. Asking that question allows you to understand if the other person is keeping up the conversation, or if got lost in the sauce. If they confirm that they understand, then you can continue speaking. If they don’t understand what you are attempting to communicate then it becomes your job to rephrase or reiterate your position. At the end of the day, communication works best when both people understand that it’s a responsibility. It’s the speaker’s job to ensure that the point is being made clear, but most importantly it’s the listener’s job to actively listen in order to prevent any mishaps.
Make sure your body language is in sync.
Have you ever been in a situation where something just felt off about what a person was trying to say? They didn’t verbally say how they felt but their body language gave loud signals that were hard to dismiss? That’s because the body is always consuicously or unconsciously saying something through our gestures and movements. For example imagine if you are in the club with your friend and a random stranger is trying to pick her up but she is looking to be saved. She looks over at you while rolling her eyes praying that you would do the math but because you lack the skill of reading her body language now she is stuck. By the end of the night this could easily end up being an argument because you simply were not paying enough attention, so you didnt read the room. For this reason it’s important to always pay attention to the signs and that means assessing people’s body language and keeping track of how it changes and at what point it does. Also make eye contact while speaking to people to make sure that you are always on the same page to diffuse any confusion that could possibly arise. You honestly never know sometimes paying attention to body language can help get a friend away from a stranger, and other times it could simply save a life. Stay alert.
Respect everyone’s opinion as you communicate.
While communicating, everyone won’t share the same perspective as you so you must understand and respect that. We live in a world where people come from different backgrounds, have different upbringings, and share different perspectives. It’s obvious that depending on how a person grew up their opinions will naturally differ from yours. Imploring empathy when communicating with others should be the standard, but because some people can’t stomach being wrong they completely dismiss any opinion that isn’t favorable to their personal beliefs. This is wrong! This type of attitude leads to arguments, lack of respect, and often leaves a bad taste afterward. The best thing to do is to know that you can be friends with someone even if their opinions aren’t the same as you. You can agree to disagree and handle it like mature adults. Everyone wont agree with you, but its still your responsibility to understand that and move forward in grace. Communication isnt easy and nobody is perfect. As long as we are doing the work to perfect how we speak to others thats what matters the most. Everyday is a new oppurtunity to get better, I encourage you to continue to set the expectation, listen to others, respect their opinions and pay attention to the cues. I love you and i wish you well as you continue to thrive along your journey,