Effective communication skills fall short without an active listener.

A co-worker misunderstands your instructions and ends up making a costly mistake. Your teenager doesn’t listen to you and and misses the appointment that you arranged for her. The parent you are caring for refuses to listen to your opinion on an issue that will affect both of your lives. Already you are frustrated beyond belief, and it’s only lunchtime!

Even though it’s a simple process, effectively communicating your wants, needs, and desires to others is not always easy. You may have the best interpersonal communication skills of anyone you know, and using them will definitely increase your chances of being heard. However, if the person to whom you are speaking isn’t listening, those skills are useless. 

effective communication skillsCredit: www.positive-parenting-skills.netListening is an important part of the communication process, and a skill that is severely hindered by the ever-present competing sounds and stresses of our world. Music, television, stressful thoughts in our head, and even anticipating what the speaker has to say all impair our listening abilities.

Before handing them an invitation to an Effective Communication Skills seminar, consider using these simple phrases to engage your listener’s ears the next time you are sharing your ideas and feelings. Spoken with a humble attitude and neutral tone, these phrases  will encourage listening, and improve both participants' communication skills.

effective communication 1Credit: kisbyto.blogspot.com“If you don’t mind. . .” 

We all have egocentric tendencies, including your listener. Appeal to their sense of self by addressing it immediately. The “you” word alerts the listener that they are included in the subject matter. Using this phrase sparks the listener’s interest and gives her or him a reason to listen. You’re practically asking for permission, and that definitely grabs people’s attention.

“Can you help me?” 

You may or may not have a need for physical help, but ask anyway. This phrase comes in handy when you need clarification on a sticky subject, input on a decision, or when you want to move someone to action. Use it with, “I need to understand.....”, or “I’m not sure about...”.

“Would you be willing. . .?”

My favorite of all, this phrase will radically change the way you communicate with everyone. Add any request after it. Go ahead, try it. Practice it in your mind a few times. While it doesn’t guarantee that the request will be granted, it sparks a cooperative spirit in the listener, and softens your request for their effort in the process.  

Effective communication skills can make the difference between feeling frustrated and actually getting what you want. Getting the attention of your listener will also enhance your chances of success, as well as improving your relationships. Add these three simple phrases to your vocabulary and listen to the difference they can make in your world.

It's the Way You Say It: Becoming Articulate, Well-spoken, and Clear
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