Effective Communication Tips for Parents

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”  Carol Buchner (teacher)

Effective Communication for ParentsMost parents want their children to grow up to be successful and happy individuals. However, this will largely depend on the parenting skills of the parents. One parenting skill that is very important is the ability to communicate with a child in an effective manner.

Communication is usually thought of as the spoken word. However, non-verbal messages can speak just as loudly, such as the messages we send through our facial expressions, the gestures we make with our hands, our posture, and other forms of body language. Para-verbal communication refers to the messages that are sent by the tone and pitch of the spoken word.

Effective Communication for Parents: Beginnings

Communication starts from the moment a child comes into the world. When it is handed off to its mother, a comforting message is sent to the newborn. The baby communicates its needs by crying. In the beginning, most of the communication between a parent and a child is primarily through non-verbal messages. At this early stage, what matters most is to reassure the baby that the world is a safe place to be in and that he or she will be loved and taken care of.

Effective Communication for Parents: Next Steps

Reinforce Good Behavior: As Dr. Lynne Kenney says “Children need a pond in which to fish for good behavior, so notice what your children do well”. Good behavior should always be praised and reinforced, but make sure your praise is honest and specific. This is most effective.

Watch that attitude! Yours! Also, check that your attitude is positive when you are communicating. Listen to how you are speaking to your child (not just the words, but the tone of voice you are using, as well as your body language). Are your words nagging, reprimanding and intimidating? Or do they convey a sense of caring and interest in what is going on in the child’s life?

Get off  your high-horse: Don’t talk down to your child. Treat them with respect if you want to be respected in return. They are growing up and should feel like they are entitled at least to be heard and to have their opinions respected.

Assume nothing: Don’t make any assumptions. If you are unsure about what has just been said, ask!

Positive Discipline: When a younger child is told to “stop” and the parent is ignored, the parent should take the child gently by the shoulders, make eye contact, and then repeat the command again. Many parents repeat a command over and over. It is said that children learn how many times they will hear “stop” before the parent is truly sincere. What’s important is that an effective discipline plan should be devised and used consistently. Wishy-washy disciplinary methods are harmful to the child. This is true for older children as well.

Listening:  The most important thing is to listen to the child. Even if what they have to say appears to be trivial in the eyes of the parent, it is not trivial to the child. If a parent notices that a child seems troubled, communication should be initiated by the parent. Some children are reluctant to talk about things, especially when they become teenagers. Listening to a child as they are growing up will not only open your eyes to what a truly wonderful son or daughter you have, but will also give you the opportunity to participate in their lives and offer them a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on when they need it.

They say that when you are in the presence of a child you become their teacher. Teach them good things and use effective communication skills to help get your message through. While parenting skills consist of many things, effective communication is one of the most beneficial for you to master.

Don’t miss this video about How to Communicate Effectively with your Child:

Useful Resources:

Mom’s Best Parenting Advice (article in Parenting Magazine Online)

The Parenting Center from WebMD

Effective Communication Tips for Managers

“Just being available and attentive is a great way to use listening as a management tool. Some employees will come in, talk for twenty minutes, and leave having solved their problems entirely by themselves.”                     — Nicholas V. Luppa (author of “Management by Guilt and Other Uncensored Tactics”)

Effective Communication for Managers

Being a good leader is about building trust with your team. When you are the manager or leader of a team, knowing effective communication skills can make the difference between reaching your team goals with ease or barely getting there – if at all! – and struggling all the way through.

If you are a supervisor or in a position of leadership, learn these effective communication tips and make sure your team makes it all the way to the top!

  • Take the “Open Door Policy” to a whole new level: practicing openness in the workplace really elevates the level of engagement and teamwork and makes it much easier to solve problems as a group. Make sure you offer spaces for open discussion each week where employees can voice their concerns.
  • Expectations must be crystal clear. It is easier for employees to get the job done, if they know exactly what job they are expected to do! Making your employees guess about what they are supposed to do is ineffective and just wastes company time (and money!). Give them a big-picture idea of how their efforts will fit into the company’s overall strategy. That way, employees can become more involved and can even come up with some great ideas on their own.
  • It helps to be visual: if you lay out specific activities, timelines, responsibilities etc. then you give the team a common ground that everyone can build upon. If everyone speaks “the same language”, so to speak they can move more confidently towards the same expected goal. This is called employee buy-in.
  • Be proactive in your communications. Don’t just sit back and wait for your team to come to you. Go out there and ask them how they’re doing with their goals, if they are finding anything difficult, if they have any ideas that might help the team move closer towards set goals.
  • Keep communications positive. Give credit where it is due. If someone does a good job make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed. A lot of times, positive reinforcements, acknowledgements, and recognition can go a long way in boosting employee morale. Finding a way to reward achievements, even if it means just inviting the whole team out for a drink, can help turn a simple group into a TEAM.Effective Communication for Leaders
  • Don’t forget to LISTEN. A good manager is always a good listener. Despite what it can seem like, this is not the easiest skill to master but it is one of the most important. Really listen to what your employees are saying and see how you can help meet their concerns at least on some level.
  • Smile, be friendly, be empathetic. A genuine smile lets people know you have positive intentions and a friendly work environment just makes it easier to get up in the morning to go to work. Who doesn’t want that?
  • Say my name! Did you know that one a person hears their name it’s like music to their ears? When you meet someone and they say their name, look them in the eye and repeat their name: “Nice to meet you, Steve.” You will find it easier to remember their name this way AND you made a good first impression.
  • Remember you are dealing with people, not machines. Be cordial, keep things light by mixing in some tasteful humor and remember to be considerate and patient with those around you.

Where else can I learn communication skills for managers?

Besides learning and applying these tips, there are also lots of business courses and management degrees online that can teach you effective communication skills for managers.

Learn how a Masters in Management from Catholic University online can help you become a more effective leader with the necessary tools to succeed.

Think Communication Skills are not that important if you are a Manager? Listen to what Warren Buffet has to say:



How to Become a Manager — 13 Skills You’ll Need

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

“Most people would prefer to be lying in the casket rather than giving the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld (actor)

improving presentation skillsMost people are nervous when it comes to giving a presentation in front of a group. However, learning a few public speaking skills will make you a better presenter and will help you make sure your audience walks away (hopefully, after the presentation is over!) with a good understanding of the message you were trying to deliver.


Read on to find out about effective communication skills that can improve your presentations:

Before the presentation:

  1. Structure: Decide on the structure of your presentation. It should include an introduction, an agenda or a set of goals that will be covered during your speech, and a conclusion.
  2. Keep it simple: Sometimes, it is best to keep things simple. Technology is great but if you are not a skilled user it could turn into a disaster on your presentation day. Employ the best technology you are comfortable using. You do not want to have a problem in the middle of your speech and have that become a distraction. Also, don’t use too many fancy transitions, sounds or animated graphics on your slides. Do you want people to remember your “cool slides” or what you said?presentation skills_effective communication
  3. Rehearse: A prepared presenter is a good presenter. Even extremely skilled public speakers at least go over in their minds what the key points of their presentation are and what the best way to communicate them would be. If you are not so experienced, then you will benefit greatly from going over your entire presentation at least a few times to make sure you have all the major points nailed down. Also, it’s a good idea to rehearse with the tools you plan to use on the presentation day: laptops, laser pointers, microphones, projectors, etc., to decrease the chance of unpleasant “surprises” during your presentation.
  4. Don’t memorize: You should definitely know what the key messages that you want to deliver during your presentation are but that does not mean you should memorize a “script” word for word. In fact, delivering a “robotic” message will only set you up for disaster if you forget a single word and then you start to panic trying to get back on the wagon again, and your audience will notice that.
  5. Create support materials: In order to help your audience to follow your presentation or to make sure they don’t forget the details or the further steps to action, it is a good idea to prepare handouts or other documentation.

During the presentation:

  1. Dress appropriately: You want people concentrating on what your message is, not what you are wearing. There are already a ton of things that can potentially distract your audience, try not to add to that.
  2. Explain the agenda to your audience: audiences appreciate it when they have an idea of what the main objective and structure of the presentation will be. Give it to them.
  3. Don’t lean on your notes: It is OK to occasionally glance over at your notes if you want to check to see if you haven’t missed any important points before moving on. However, remember you are there to present, not to read. Nothing is more boring than listening to someone read through their entire notes with only an occasional glance towards the audience. That’s why you prepared and rehearsed in the first place, remember? Relax, trust yourself, use your own words, and your message will flow.
  4. Look at your audience: Remember how you felt when you were at a concert and the musician looked straight at you? Ok, maybe you are not a rock star, but making eye contact makes people feel imporaudience sleeping_improve presentation skillstant and respected. So don’t hide behind your notes or computer…look ‘em in the eye! Also, it helps to perform an occasional “audience check” to make sure people are not dozing off, have puzzled looks or are showing other signs of boredom or confusion.
  5. Imagine a naked audience: We know, it sounds weird, but it does work for a lot of people. If you feel nervous just take a moment to imagine your audience in their birthday suit and it will put you in a lighter mood and less intimidated.
  6. Watch your body language: It’s a good idea to move around a bit or at least move your hands, shoulders and eyes, like you would during a normal conversation. It will seem more natural and will relax you a little. But if you’re running around the room and swatting your hands like a crazy person it will be distracting and you run the risk of making your audience dizzy!
  7. Speak with passion: Remember you are selling. Maybe it’s not a product (or maybe it is) but you are selling an idea and if you speak with enthusiasm you will get people excited about what you are talking about and will “buy” your story and take the action steps you would like them to take.
  8. Humor: Funny little comments (as long as they are tasteful and not disrespectful) here and there weaved into your speech will keep the presentation light and engaging. You’re not doing a comedy act though, so don’t over do it.
  9. Leave time for questions: Make sure you leave time at the end of your presentation to answer any questions that your audience may have. Don’t worry if you get a question you honestly do not have the answer for. You can perfectly say “I don’t know, but I can find out and get back to you on that”, and then keep your word by sending your answer later to that person or to the person who organized the meeting.
  10. Summarize: The last part of the presentation should sum up the main points (maximum 5) of your presentation. This is your chance to remind your audience of the message that you want to ensure is understood and the action steps you would like them to take.

After the presentation:

  1. Thank your audience for their time and attention.audience applauding_presentation skills
  2. Handout any materials or documents you want the attendees to walk away with.
  3. Make yourself available for further questions or discussions by offering a way to reach you at a later time (an email address, a phone number, your instant messenger information, etc)


Learn from the best. Make a Presentation like Steve Jobs:




Presentation Skills – University of Edinburgh

8 Tips for Effective Communication Skills for Teachers

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

— Ralph Nichols

effective communication for teachers

We’ve all had teachers who were considered “brilliant” but who, nevertheless, were a bore in class or who were unable to engage the students in the classroom. Sharpen your effective communication skills in the classroom and watch how your students become more engaged and your classroom a more fun place to learn!


  • Listen: No matter how many years of experience you have don’t always assume that you know what is going on through your student’s head. If you’re not having the results you expected with your pupil, it may be you overlooked something that you could easily resolve just by asking and listening.
  • Describe Clear Goals: make sure you communicate a clear vision of the objective you wish your students to achieve. If you see any puzzled looks from the class, explain again, or ask one of your students to explain in their own words what they understood is the purpose of the lesson (project, homework, term, or whatever the issue at hand is) so you can double-check if everyone is on the same page.
  • Give praise: everyone likes to hear they’re doing a good job and your students are no different. If you see someone having real difficulty with a specific subject it is especially helpful to praise even small improvements, as it will motivate your student to keep pushing forward towards the goal. Don’t be cheap with your kind words!
  • Be accessible: you have an important job to do and your students depend on you for their learning process. Let them know you care by offering a designated time during the week where they can meet with you or talk over the phone or Skype for any questions they may have regarding class work. You can also give them a special email address you have set up for this purpose or create an online forum for open questions. You don’t have to offer “24-7 service” but make sure they can reach you if they need to.
  • Build teamwork: if your whole classroom is working together to achieve similar goals it creates an environment that makes communication easier, it will help students help each other and build the camaraderie needed to make the classes run more smoothly.
  • Use humor: Sometimes humor can lighten up the mood and be the lube that keeps the gears moving smoothly in your classroom. This does not mean you have to turn your lecture into standup comedy –unless, of course, you teach standup comedy!- but keep things light and have a little fun. A little humor can even get your students to do a task that may not be their favorite.effective communication in the classroom
  • Embrace Variety: it really is the spice of life and routines are a mood killer. So introduce new tools in your teaching repertoire: use role-play, bring an expert, do an interview, prepare a debate or make your students research and teach the subject. Non-stop lectures will only make whatever you’re teaching less memorable for students.
  • Keep it real: it’s easier to learn something new when you understand how it relates to your life. So next time you tackle a new subject show your students how they can find evidence of how they can use the new information in their life or how it relates to their daily activities. It’s amazing when they understand how things in art and history, for example, can influence fashion or buildings, or how math helps to build bridges and statistics are used in polls. Be creative!

Also, check out these great books:

104 Activities That Build: Self-Esteem, Teamwork, Communication, Anger Management, Self-Discovery, Coping Skills Teaching Children Compassionately: How Students and Teachers Can Succeed with Mutual Understanding

Watch this video where students are asked “What Makes a Good Teacher?”

Other Resources:
What makes a great teacher?

10 Tips for Effective Communication for Couples and Marriage

“The first duty of love is to listen.”  – Paul Tillich (German philosopher)

effective communication for couplesWhen you spend so much time with someone you are bound to have at least an occasional difference of opinion, to say the least, and it’s not always easy to keep objective and levelheaded when you enter into a disagreement with your partner. When this happens, remember to use these effective communication skills with your partner to improve the odds of reaching a solution that is in the relationship’s best interest.

Improve Your Relationship with Communication SKills for Couples

1) Use “I” Statements: When you talk about what YOU are feeling and needing it stops you from sounding like you are blaming your partner, which can make your partner feel attacked and take the discussion to a more negative level.

If you say, for example, “I need you to call me when you are going to be late. I worry when I haven’t heard from you,” your partner cannot argue with that. After all, it’s how YOU feel. This way, no blame is communicated only the feeling or need that you want the other person to understand and consider.

2) Listen and don’t interrupt: Usually, when a disagreement arises between a couple, the biggest problem is that nobody really listens to the other person; everyone’s just merely waiting for his or her turn to talk. Most of the time, disagreements can be resolved more easily using effective communication skills and paying more attention to what is making the other person upset. Lookout for telltale signs in the person’s body language too, for hints on thoughts and feelings.

By the way, active listening also means you must stop doing anything else besides giving your undivided attention to your partner: No texting, checking your emails, doing your nails, etc. Stop and listen. When you have understood what is affecting your partner it is then your turn to talk.effective communication tips for marriage

3) You do not need to be a psychic and your partner should not expect you to be one. When communicating with your partner, if you have any doubt about what has just been said or you’re still not sure what is making your partner upset, ASK. It’s worse to assume something that is wrong and then jump to the wrong conclusion.

4) You’ve heard this before: Don’t bring up the past. Stick to the discussion at hand and don’t relate the present issue with “that time when we went to your office and you forgot to introduce me to your pretty female coworker”. You get the idea. Doing so will just get the ball rolling for another heated argument, giving you now two issues to resolve and things probably just got a lot nastier.

5) Acknowledge first, explain later. One of the best ways to keep things from escalating from a simple disagreement to a full-fledged fight is to FIRST listen and acknowledge the other person’s feelings (“I can see you are upset because you believe I forgot to pick up your mother’s birthday cake”), even though you know or think that the other person doesn’t have their facts straight, and LATER explain your position (“However, I DID go but your sister had already gone and picked it up.”). More on this in the following video:

6) Empathize with your partner. Improving you communication skills has a lot to do with trying to see the situation from THE OTHER PERSON’S point of view. This will help you understand where their reaction is coming from.

7) Unless you are directly asked to, do not give advice or jump in to “solve the problem”. However, if your partner wants your help, by all means be as helpful as you can be.

8)Watch your tone! Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it that can make or break the communication. Keep your tone respectful, loving, positive and such that it invites collaboration.watch your tone_Effective communication for couples

9) When arguing, remember this is not your business partner, this is the person you LOVE. What that means is you are not just dealing with hard facts and bullet points; you must consider your partner’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and personal history into the equation. Intimacy requires opening one’s soul, which can be scary and leave the person feeling vulnerable. Treasure and respect that.

10) Before You Shout, Call a Time-Out. Before your argument crosses the point of no return and you start saying or doing things you will later regret, call for a “Time Out”. When angry emotions crop up, people stop listening and things can take a turn for the worse. In such cases, one of the best things to do is to call it quits, for now, and state that you need some time to cool off. If you do this, you must call a “time out”, convene a later time to pick up the conversation, and leave the room. The other person must agree to let you leave the room and not follow you to continue the discussion.

Sometimes we end up hurting the very people we love the most. That is because we usually enter into a sort of “comfort zone” where we take the other person for granted and forget to treat them with the respect and kindness they deserve. Hopefully, these effective communication tips will help you remember that your partner is, like any other human being, longing for you to show them that you respect and value them. Listen and pay attention!

And don’t forget to kiss and make up. kiss and make up_Effective communication for couples

Check out these great books for improving your communication skills with your partner:

Communication Miracles for Couples & Couple Skills


WebMD.com – 7 Relationship Problems and How to Solve Them

Oprah.com – Relationship Advice

EHarmony Advice – Dating and Relationship Advice

Effective Communication in the Workplace

“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”              -Dale Carnegie (author, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”)

Most probably, you spend most of your waking hours at work, so why not make those hours more enjoyable?

Practicing effective communication skills in the workplace creates a more positive and encouraging atmosphere for both employers and employees. This reduces the stress and frustration that many workers feel, while increasing their productivity and morale.

Teamwork_Effective Communication Workplace

Happy and productive employees will have a direct and positive impact on the business’s bottom line!

How to Promote Effective Communication in the Workplace

  • Encourage an open environment where people feel comfortable enough to share doubts and concerns with the rest of the team. “Open-door” policy is more than just not closing the door. It is about ensuring that people feel that they really have access to your time and that their concerns will be met seriously.
  • Effective Communication at WorkTake the time to appreciate the efforts of others. It is said that the only way to get someone to do something is to make them want to do it too. One way to do that is by creating loyalty and people return loyalty when they feel respected and appreciated. Did someone do a great job? Tell them!
  • Make sure rules and expectations are understood and clear. When workers understand what the regulations for the workplace are and what is expected of them, it’s easier for them to “play by the book” and perform duties according to management’s expectations. Keeping channels of communication open, in case there is any doubt, also ensures effective communication in the workplace.

  • You don’t have to be friends, but you can be friendly. Isn’t it easier to work in an environment that’s positive, cordial and light? You don’t have to be best buds with everyone you work with but smiling and being friendly to your colleagues is one of the things you can do to keep you from dreading to go to work every day.
  • Recognize you are part of a team. It’s really difficult to meet company year-end goals and objectives if not everyone is aligned for the same purpose or if someone feels that their efforts are not appreciated. It takes two to tango, and in an organization, it usually takes many more to build a successful business. Know that and give credit where it is due.
  • Work on your presentation skills. Everyone can benefit from improved presentation skills. Wouldn’t you like to give and listen to more engaging presentations? .

Remember, it’s not just the manager’s job to promote effective communication at work; everyone at the workplace must assume this responsibility. After all, you all work there together!

How about an interesting book on improving communications in the workplace? (see also More Resources)

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People


Other Useful Resources:
Monster.com Career Advice – Great Workplace Communication
CareerBuilder.com – Career Advice

8 Tools for Improving Communication Skills

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

-Epictetus (Greek philosopher)

Improving your effective communication skills is not as hard as you may think and there are several tools you can use to make your conversations (even online ones!) flow a little better:questions for improving communications

1. Questions: try to ask questions in order to get additional detail. Make them open-ended questions (not questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or a “no”) when you can so you’re sure to get all the info you need.

2. Paraphrasing: repeating what you just heard in your own words (paraphrasing) is a useful way to make sure you did not misunderstand the message. It also lets the speaker know you care about getting it right!

3. Using Examples: just like the saying “a picture says a thousand words”, an example is a great way to help your audience “visualize” what you are trying to say by trying to apply it in practical terms.

4. Stories: who doesn’t like a good story? If your topic is particularly dense or you want to make sure your audience doesn’t forget you, say what you have to say in the form of a story.

5. Be empathetic: this is all about putting yourself in the other person’s “shoes”. Look for cues that the person may be giving out hinting on thoughts or feelings so you can “tune” into them and make sure not only your words but also the tone of your message is well-received.

positive attitude_improving communication6. Positive Attitude: ever heard of the saying “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”? A negative attitude will almost certainly repel your audience and make them less likely to want to agree with what you have to say.

7. Giving Feedback: small and encouraging phrases like “I see what you mean”, “uh-huh”, “interesting”, or a simple nod every now and then, lets the speaker know you are following the conversation and is usually appreciated.

8. Perception Checking: if you sense there may be even a remote possibility of a misunderstanding try to describe the situation you are sensing without being judgmental. For example, you can say something like: “I have assumed this: (…). Am I correct?” or, “From what I understand, (…). Is this right?”

So, as you can see, incorporating these tools for improving your effective communication skills in your daily interactions is not difficult at all yet will benefit you a great deal. Good luck!


Wikipedia – Communication Skills Training

10 Barriers to Effective Communication

“Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.” – André Gide (French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947).

Barriers to Effective Communication

Sometimes, somewhere between the moment someone speaks and another responds, communication becomes broken.

We’ve all been there. A conversation, or even an online chat or string of mobile texts, leads to a terrible misunderstanding and all of a sudden all hopes for reaching an agreement go right out the window. What happened?

 Most Common Barriers to Effective Communication

1. Physical Barriers: this has to do with poor or outdated equipment used during communications, background noise, poor lighting, temperatures that are too hot or too cold.

2. Attitudes: emotions like anger or sadness can taint objectivity. Also being extremely nervous, having a personal agenda or “needing to be right no matter what” can make communications less than effective. This is also known as “Emotional Noise”.

Faulty IS_Barriers to Effective Communication

3. Language: this can seem like an easy one, but even people speaking the same language can have difficulty understanding each other if they are from different generations or from different regions of the same country. Slang, professional jargon and regional colloquialisms can even hurt communicators with the best intentions.

4. Physiological Barriers: ill health, poor eyesight or hearing difficulties, pain.

5. Problems with Structure Design: companies or institutions can have organization structures that are not clear, which can make communications difficult. Also to blame for faulty communications are bad information systems, and lack of supervision or training of the people involved.

6. Cultural Noise: people sometimes make stereotypical assumptions about others based on their cultural background.

7. Lack of Common Experience: it’s a great idea to use examples or stories to explain a point that is being discussed. However, if the speaker and the audience cannot relate to these examples because they do not have the same knowledge or have not shared the same experiences then this tool will be ineffective.

8. Ambiguity and Abstractions Overuse: leaving things half-said, using too many generalizations, proverbs or sayings, can all lead to communications that are not clear and that can lend themselves to misinterpretations.Info Overload_Barriers Effective Communication

9. Information Overload: it takes time to process a lot of information and too many details can overwhelm and distract the audience from the important topics. Keep it Simple, Sweetie.

10. Assumptions and Jumping to Conclusions: This can make someone reach a decision about something before listening to all the facts.

All of these barriers to effective communication can either distract those involved or otherwise hinder your communications. Make sure they’re not in the way of making your point crystal-clear!

Now What?

Now, you can move on to learn the Keys to Effective Communication and begin your path to improving your communications skills!

Here are also some great books on the subject that you may want to check out:

Can’t Get Through: Eight Barriers to Communication The Psychology of Persuasion: How To Persuade Others To Your Way Of Thinking



Other Useful Resources:
Wikipedia – Barriers to effective human communication

What are the Keys for Effective Communication?

“First seek to understand, then to be understood”

– Stephen Covey (author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”)

Key to Effective Communication

Effective communication involves a lot more than just speaking clearly to your audience without nervously stuttering or writing an email without any spelling mistakes.

Read on to learn about the keys for effective communication:


Probably the mosListening for effective communicationt important thing you should learn from this article is that in order to be a “super communicator” you must be a super listener. Effective communication has more to do with listening than any other thing. By this we mean REALLY listening: paying attention and caring for the other person’s needs so that you make sure your message (which can be a simple “uh-huh, I see what you mean.”) is relevant and helpful for them.

Some scholars call this “active listening”, which entails more than just scanning what you’re hearing for something that relates to a story YOU want to tell. Active listening shows that you genuinely care about what the other person or audience feels or thinks, and you can prove this by doing things like:

  • Give reassuring sounds and phrases, like “I see”, “aha”, “hmm, I understand”
  • Ask questions to clarify the issue and show your interest, and
  • Restate the issue to make sure you understood correctly and show that this is important to you.

Body Language:Body Language for Effective Communication

If you’re trying to come across as an assertive speaker but your hands are shaking, your voice cracks and your eyes are bouncing from one place to another, you can pretty much kiss that image of yourself goodbye.

Also, if you’re trying to make something sound really serious but you look like you’re about to burst into laughter, while twirling your hair around your finger like a 7-year old, nobody is going to take you seriously either.

Make sure the rest of your body is delivering the same message that comes out of your mouth.

And when you’re the one listening and can see the person who is doing the talking, pay attention! That person is sending out clues that well help you uncover the whole truth behind the story!

Emotional awareness:

nervous_barrier to effective communicationIt’s important to be aware of the emotions and attitudes that one is displaying when in the presence of someone else, too. Are you feeling nervous? Did you just hear something that made you angry or sad? How is that affecting they way you are delivering your message?

This is not about having to have a “poker face” during your entire conversation. It is about being aware of your thoughts and feelings so that you’re certain they do not get in the way of the message you are trying to communicate.

It is OK if, say, a particular story makes you sad and a little teary-eyed but if you’re sobbing uncontrollably others might become more concerned with making you stop than with what you have to say. Don’t distract them from what you consider is the really important issue.

Common language:common language for effective communication

Trying to ask for directions to a farmer in Italy when you only speak English and the farmer only speaks Italian constitutes a problem, for sure. But sometimes both people can speak the same language and still not understand each other’s words.

Make sure you only use slang or professional jargon if you are 100% sure everyone that is listening (or reading) can understand your words. Also, if you have a heavy accent that is unfamiliar to those around you, try to speak just a little slower…and stop talking and ask what is wrong if you start getting any puzzled looks!

Show some respect!

Make your mother proud and show some good manners when you speak AND when you listen.

Try your best to not interrupt, insult, scream, burp, pick your nose or teeth, roll your eyes, or make fun of the other person (although best friends can sometimes put up with a little teasing!).

You would be surprised to know how many people do not find these suggestions so obvious.

Continue on to these helpful posts to keep learning about how to communicate effectively:

In the end, the key to effective communication really boils down to listening. Listening with your whole body. Listening to what others have to say, but also to the clues that give insight to their thoughts and emotions as expressed in their body language or tone of voice. Also, listening to your own self and to what you are experiencing while you are communicating.

By being an active listener you can reduce misunderstandings and improve the chances that when it is your chance to speak, your message is heard and understood…as you wanted it to be!



Wikipedia.com – Active Listening