No matter the relationship, communication is key to building them up or breaking them apart. Many of us believe that simply being present and talking to one another makes us effective communicators. The reality is that communication is an art. An art of give and takes; speaking, listening and body languages.
Communication is the key in any capacity.Here’s some easy ways to integrate skills into your life to become a better communicator:
Ditch the preconceived misconceptions and be genuine with others. If you aren’t genuine, it can hinder you from fully opening up. Try to understand where the other person is coming from and empathize with their points of view, lack of doing so can create unnecessary conflict.
Don’t confuse opinions for fact, it is easier to misconstrue but may allow for a disconnect in the conversation.
Mirror the Other Person
People are drawn to others they feel a connection with. People will make judgment calls in the first two to thirty seconds of meeting someone, based on what we see. This goes from how one is dressed, to dialect, and even body gestures.
To be a great communicator, learn to mirror others. Mirroring is mimicking the other person and you can do it in the following way: similar facial expressions, head positions, tone of voice, vocabulary level, speed of breathing and energy level. Mimicking doesn’t mean you aren’t being genuine, you are merely building rapport.
Interrupting disturbs the thought process of the others and when it happens, you are robbing them of fully speaking. Your ideas are as important as another’s thoughts, but you should value what each individual is bringing to the conversation.
Make Positive Eye Contact
Evading eye contact with individuals you are speaking to can make it seem as if you are trying to hide something. Too much eye contact can seem intimidating. Recommended amounts of eye contact last four to five seconds.
Active listening requires that you let go of distractions. Find ways to acknowledge others; this can be done with a simple nod or an “uh-huh.” Acknowledgment is NOT the same as agreement.
In our military community communication is of the utmost importance because of long distance relationships and oftentimes a rapid and hectic lifestyle. It’s well worth the time to become a better communicator, you will reap the rewards through improved relationships.
About the Author: Liz is a Marine Corps spouse of 13 years; with over 10 years’ of volunteering and work experience within organizations that make a positive impact upon the military community. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from American InterContinental University and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management and Leadership. In 2013 Liz founded Military Spouses of Strength, an initiative to bring awareness and reduce the stigma around mental health. She lives in the greater San Diego area with her husband, and their two children.