Communication Skills and Effective Communication

When we talk about life skills, we mean essentially those set of personal abilities that enable us to meet the demands and challenges of everyday life as well as enhance our quality of life. Among these are communication skills in inter-personal relationships. In this age of technology, saying the word “communication” confuses some people to the extent that they think it is already taken care of by the computing and mobile devices we use daily since these effortlessly carry the spoken or written word across electrical pathways(wired or not) to the destination.  We have become too busy that too often we think what we said has been heard and we do not have to really know or understand what the other party were saying. The fundamental need of human communication that there should be vital exchange of intended information from both parties is too often compromised.

Effective Listening Means To Genuinely Listen

The usual tendency is to interrupt others while they are speaking or before they have had a chance to finish their  sentence. While withholding yourself till the other person finishes is necessary, it is not just that. If you have the chance to ‘eavesdrop’ on some casual conversations that happen around you in various settings, you will notice that people are not really listening to each other, rather they are just taking turns to talk. There is this constant impatience in Intently Listening EarCredit: Public Domainwaiting for the other guy to finish and a premeditated – and often premature - response waiting to just come out which hardly really addresses what is being heard. This type of conversation is actually stressful because you constantly build up preconceived notions and try to make guesswork of what the other person is going to say just so you can put up your side of the story quickly.

Instead, if you simply listened intently with genuine interest for as long as it took for them to complete their words, almost at once you will start to feel more relaxed and poised. Your reaction will be felt by your partners in conversation and they will reciprocate by similarly being more at ease with what they were saying. It will not be as if there were any pressure to talk. The tone of your conversation is bound to have more confidence and truthfulness. Being a better listener constantly will also make you more patient and tolerant in the long run. People like to talk to someone who listens because humans always connect at an emotional level. This will invariably help to improve both your personal and professional relationships.  Besides, listening better helps you remember better too.                     

I am ListeningCredit: Public DomainThink and Respond

The other dimension of the conversation is to carefully think about your response as you are listening. As mentioned above, instead of wasting your energy tracking the other person’s words for your entry point, practise unhurried thinking that progressively assimilates the other person’s input so that most of the time your response is an appropriate and useful one. This will also work towards helping to prevent any argument on somewhat more contentious issues(since conversations aren’t always casual). Ultimately you don’t want to speak for the other person so let it all come through well. It is not uncommon for someone to actually feel the positive vibes from a satisfactory and fulfilling conversation.   

Enjoy Your Conversations

Even if you are not a conversationalist, practising proper listening techniques and habits enhance your life skills in more ways than one and help you to become a more effective human being in your social interactions.  We don't live in an isolated world, so it's a good way forward.

LISTENING - Women in ConversationCredit: Public Domain