Every successful relationship whether it is with our spouses, siblings or friends, is built upon good communication. That takes effort and full participation of all those involved including the speaker and the listener. Often, we have a hard time communicating with our partners just because we don’t adjust our speaking and listening habits to the environment. Our everyday conversations can be easily manipulated and improved using the following communication tips:
(Click on each image to read the tips!)
1. Gain Attention First
Make sure you gain the attention of the person struggling with listening and understanding before speaking. For example, you can say his or her name before you start speaking. This will help the listener to focus on you and your message and make sure they don’t miss important information at the beginning of your message
2. Get the Lighting Right
Move your body so that there is good lighting on your face to make your communication easier to see. Avoid the presence of bright lights positioned behind you such as a lamp or light coming through the window that can actually make it more difficult for the listener to see your face. Rather, position yourself so that the light is directed on your face and not in the eyes of the listener.
3. Keep Your Hands Down
As noted above, your body language can add important details to your message. However, if your hands are up near your face, it can interfere in the communication of your message. For example, if you are eating or smoking while speaking, pause your message while you are chewing or while your hands are near your face to make your speech easier to understand.
4. Make Eye Contact
Face the person struggling with listening and understanding directly and make eye contact with him or her. This will allow the listener to “read” your speech including your lips as well as facial expressions and body language which add important details to your message. By maintaining eye contact, you will also be able to better identify whether the listener is understanding your message.
5. Eliminate Background Noise
Try to minimize background noise and distractions when conversing with persons struggling with listening and understanding. Turn off the television and background music and move to quiet areas away from other sources of noise to make listening easier. When going to a restaurant or making reservations, ask for a table located in a quieter area away from the kitchen, server station, or large parties if at all possible.
6. Rephrase Rather Than Repeat
If the person struggling with listening and understanding does not comprehend your message, try to find a different way of saying the same thing rather than repeating the original message over and over. If he or she didn’t understand your words the first time, it is not likely that he or she will better understand them the second or third time, so try rephrasing instead.
7. Speak Clearly & Naturally
Speak clearly and distinctly, but without exaggerating. You do not need to shout, as shouting actually distorts your words. You also want to avoid mumbling as this is very difficult for listeners to understand. Rather, speak at a normal rate (not too fast and not too slow) and use pauses between phrases and sentences to give the listener time to process your message. Remember to wait after you pause to make sure you have been understood before continuing.
If you have questions about communication, come in for a chat with our Communication Coach! Call 425.882.4347 to schedule your appointment today.
by: Jennifer Dierenfeld M.A., CCC-SLP