9 Steps to Communicating Better

9 Steps to Communicating Better

The older we get, the more important it is to build and foster good relationships with other people. Being Attribution to Kimberly Recorsocial and making new friends is important, since this part of life can bring about many changes in who is in your life. Communicating with others is very important for keeping your brain sharp, in addition to helping your relationships. It is also important to remember that with all the life experiences that you’ve had, you have a lot to offer to others.

Being isolated can often spiral into depression and stress, which is why surrounding yourself with familiar, trustworthy friends and loved ones can be a key to staying happy and healthy.

One of the best ways to nurture relationships is by learning how to communicate properly. How many friendships fall apart because of a simple misunderstanding or lapse in communication? Have you ever felt like you have misunderstood someone or like someone misunderstood you?

The next time you have an issue or something you’d like to address with someone, follow these simple steps to help you communicate clearly.

Right Place, Right Time
There is a right time and a right place for everything, including conversations. When talking about heavier subjects, or discussing sensitive topics, pick a quiet, private place. Respect the person you are conversing with by giving them the privacy they deserve. The best time to communicate with someone is in the morning or early afternoon. If someone’s had a long, stressful day, having a conversation in the evening may not be the wisest of choices.

A great way to see if you’re in the right state of mind for a conversation is by using the H.A.L.T. method. H.A.L.T. stands for hungry, angry, lonely or tired, and when you find yourself feeling any of these emotions, it is best to take a step back from any confrontation or conversation. Make sure that before you enter into any sort of communication with someone, that you’ve tended to your own well-being.
Being in the wrong mindset can make you to lash out unnecessarily, or have a cloudy perspective, which can cause you to be reactionary rather than calm and collected.

Focus Completely
Turn off and remove any distractions. Have the conversation somewhere where there is little chance of interruption. Respect the person your talking to by giving them your full focus and attention.

Organize Your Thoughts
Before you start, make sure you know what you want to talk about. Picking three or four key points, and sticking to them will keep you from feeling flustered and will keep you focused. Write these points down if you have to, and make sure you don’t fluctuate too much.

Be Clear About What You Want to Convey
Make sure that the person you’re talking with knows what you want to convey from the outset. Starting a conversation like this: “ I really want to talk to you about ______ today”, lets the person know what they’re in for, and allows them to mentally prepare.

Be Thorough but Not Repetitive
Although repeating some key phrases can be effective in making a point, ideally everything you say will add something new to the conversation or debate. Talking in circles isn’t productive, and can ultimately detract from your primary goal of communicating clearly.

Don’t Accuse, Just State Your Emotions
Make sure that you’re only addressing how you feel or how something someone did made you feel. State observations rather than evaluations. Don’t be accusatory in your statements.

The most important thing you can do when someone is speaking to you is listening. Really engage with what the other person is saying, make eye contact, and most importantly, let them finish speaking before you respond. Give them the respect you’d like to receive.

Say Thank You
At the end of your talk, make sure you thank the person for listening to you and for allowing you to be open.

Author: Kimberly Recor, staff writer at Designing Brighter Tomorrows

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