What Makes Interpersonal Communication Effective?


effective_interpersonal_communicationHumans are social beings. Relationships with other people give us joy and fulfillment, and conflicts with others are the most common cause of stress. That is why interpersonal relationships are so important to us.

In relationships with others, the most important thing is communication. Order to be good and successful – effective, communication must have certain qualities. Effective communication is more than exchange of information. It requires that we understand the message behind information. For that we need skills that we learn through life.

Whether we are trying to improve communication with a spouse, children, boss or co-worker, it is important to listen and recognize non-verbal communication signals. We must learn how to manage stress, and how to stay connected with our emotions.

This article will teach what effective interpersonal communication means.

1. Listening

Listening is one of the most important qualities of good communication. Successful listening means understanding how an interlocutor feels while conveying the information.

Effective listening will:

· Make interlocutor feel heard and understood in the right way;

· Create an environment in which everyone feels safe to express their ideas, opinions and feelings;

· Save time because it will avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Tips for good listening:

· Focus entirely at interlocutor, pay attention to body language and other nonverbal signals. If it is hard for you to concentrate, try to repeat their words inside – it will help you to stay focused.

· Avoid interrupting, because listening is not waiting a turn to say something. An interlocutor can read your facial expressions and know that your mind is somewhere else.

· Avoid prejudices. To have effective communication with someone, you do not need to like them or agree with their ideas, values or opinion.

· Show interest by making small signals to encourage the interlocutor to talk.

2. Nonverbal Communication

When we transmit things we care about, we do it mainly by using nonverbal signals. The way we watch and listen to the other person, how we move and act, might say more about how we feel than the words themselves.

Benefits of good nonverbal communication:

· It can improve quality of open communication through body language – non-folded arms, standing with an open attitude, or sitting on the edge of the seat, with eye contact with the person you are talking to.

· You can also use body language to emphasize or improve your verbal message, patting friend by the back while praising them for their success.

Tips for better understanding of non-verbal communication:

· Practice by observing people in public places or even watching a TV show with sound off. Try to guess what their relationship is, what they are saying and how each one of them feels about what is being said.

· Be aware of individual differences. People from different countries and cultures tend to use different nonverbal communication signals, so it is important that age, culture, religion, gender and emotional state are taken into consideration when reading body language signals.

· Comprehend nonverbal signals as a whole. Do not give too much value to a single gesture or nonverbal signal. Think about the signals as a whole to get a better “picture” of a person.

3. Stress Management

In small doses, stress can help you accomplish tasks under pressure. However, when the stress becomes too strong, it can threaten a high-quality communication and distort your ability to think clearly and creatively, and to behave appropriately.

Impact of stress on effective communication:

· Wrongly understanding other people.

· Sending confusing or repulsive nonverbal signals.

· Declining to unhealthy patterns of behavior.

Tips for quick relief from stress:

· Recognize when you are under stress. Your body will tell you if you are under stress during communication.

· Take a moment to calm down before you decide to continue the conversation, or postpone it.

· Use your senses as an aid and quickly take control of stress by taking a few deep breaths, squeeze and relax of the muscles, or recall some nice picture from your life.

· Be ready for compromise. If there is a conflict, look for the golden mean.

4. Connected With Your Emotions

Emotions play an important role in the way we communicate at home and at work. That’s the way we feel, more than the way we think. If you are out of control over your feelings, and do not understand how do you feel, or even why do you feel so, you will have difficulties to show your feelings and needs to others. Your ability to communicate depends on how well you understand your emotions: anger, sadness, fear.

An emotional awareness helps:

· Understand and sympathize with what really bothers other people.

· Understand yourself.

· Communicate clearly and effectively.

· Build up trusting relationships.

Everything we do in life requires communication

Personal and professional success often depends on how well we understand others and how well others can understand what we are trying to convey through communication. Knowing how important communication is, and that communication skills can be learned, we should devote a lot more to learn how to communicate well.

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