Ever Find Yourself Struggling to Express Your Thoughts and Feelings?
It can be challenging to find the right words to express what we really want to say. We often think that good communication is only about being heard, but is it not also about being a good listener? It may be difficult to identify our communication problems. Having someone to offer fresh perspective can help you to clarify specific communication issues and improve your skills. Working with a coach can help you focus on the message you want to communicate and to put language around the thoughts and feelings you want to express.
Four Tips for Improving Communication...
1.LISTEN. A wise person once told me that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we talk. That got my attention. It sounds so simple, but how many times are you engaged in conversation and are not really listening? Your mind is on your next meeting, client, project, dinner, kids or maybe you're just busy thinking about the next thing you're going to say when the speaker takes a breath. In any event, listening is a skill that can be improved.
Ask yourself: Do I listen twice as much as I speak? Do I need to improve my listening skills?
2.BE RESPECTFUL. Even in situations where communication may be difficult, treating the other person with respect allows more open and constructive exchange of opinions and ideas.
Ask yourself: Am I respectful when communicating with others?
3.RESPOND RATHER THAN REACT. Watch your emotions. If what the speaker is saying creates an emotional response in you, listen extra carefully with attention to the intention and full meaning of their words. When we are angry, frightened or upset, we often miss critical parts of what is being said. Be slow to disagree, criticize or argue. Even if you disagree, let them have their point of view. If you respond in a way that makes the other person defensive, even if you "win" the argument, you may lose something far more valuable.
Ask yourself: Do I react rather than respond?
4.IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS. If you find yourself unable to express your thoughts effectively with co-workers, clients, your partner or family, perhaps you would benefit from working with a professional who can help you clarify and develop language to more clearly express yourself.
Ask yourself: Who will I ask to help me improve my communication skills?
Just for fun...
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Fun Fact: We listen at 125-250 words per minute, but think at 1000-3000 words per minute.
"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." ~ Karl Menninger
"Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people." ~ Jim Rohn
About the Author
Pat Morgan, MBA and Professional Coach, has 10 years experience helping teams manage organizational and cultural change. As President of Smooth Sailing, she supports individuals and organizations in managing change, improving performance and achieving excellence both professionally and personally. She has created and led workshops and seminars for organizations such as: the National Association of Women Business Owners, the American Society for Training & Development and Rotary Int'l.