Communication is quite possibly the most important aspect in a relationship. Without communication, a relationship will fizzle.
Learning how to communicate effectively can not only save your marriage and improve your relationships, but will also help you develop skills that you will serve you for the rest of your life!
Thus, it's important to grasp the art of communication and doing it with finesse and efficacy.
Here are some guidelines to help you express yourself in the best way with consideration to how you do it and when.
1. Time it appropriately
Yes, time is of the essence. When you want to communicate an important thought or feeling, you must make sure that you are aware of the circumstances and timing of it for the person involved. When communicating about a heavier topic for example, it is very important that you time it appropriately. For example, you do NOT want to drop a bomb on somebody when they are unprepared for it. lf they had some positive news prior and are feeling like they are on Cloud 9, do not ruin their good moment with bad or painful news. Wait for a better time to convey what you need to so that it won't affect them as deeply.
Furthermore, deep conversations should be held in a quiet and private place where both communicators feel safe and are able to freely express themselves and be understood.
What would be the proper time and place, you may ask?
Consider the following:
- The surroundings feel unthreatening - there is no urgency or discomfort in communicating and discussing what needs to be said
- The other person is free of any other stress or is settled emotionally, not occupied with other tasks or obligations and your news won't put a damper on them so they resent you
- You have a mental list of what needs to be discussed: This is incredibly important because you don't want to fumble and freeze with what you're saying or it will be really awkward for both parties
2. Be honest
Being honest can be one of the most difficult parts of effective communication. People can react badly to perceived slights and even the most minor of criticisms even if the intent behind them is good. But in order to grow and improve the relationship, it is incredibly important to not hold back on things that may be bothering you.
Nothing can truly be fixed if you are always holding in your feelings and thoughts and as mentioned earlier, not communicating is an easy way to decline a relationship fast.
Always remember that with honesty and sincerity comes tact. It's incredibly important that while you want to be truthful about whatever it is that you are trying to communicate, make sure that it is done in a way that won't hurt the other person. A man once said, let what you are trying to say pass through 3 gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
Do not disregard the last part and make sure to be as kind as possible in conveying a criticism or something that may not be received positively.
3. Communicate more often in person
Nowadays, most of our communication happens digitally and over the internet. This has been further exasperated by the Covid-19 pandemic and its lockdowns where people do not even meet up anymore to talk about important matters. Unfortunately however, this makes it super convenient and easy to communicate in ways that can be hurtful without having to bear the same shame and consequences one would have to in person.
It is possible for people to lose vital communication skills with a screen protecting them and enabling in poor communication. And this can be the case for your situation or for the person on the receiving end. So - if there is an important matter to be communicated or discussed, for the sake of you sanity, make it a point to do it in person or at least over a virtual face to face meeting.
This will make sure that both you and the other person will put more thought into the communication and doing it with tact and efficacy.
In fact, breaking free from the electronic shield will improve your overall communication skills and help you be more effective in your work and professional life as well.
4. Notice your body language
They say 90% of communication is non-verbal and people only really take into account 5-10% of what is said verbally when communicating!
Thus, when trying to communicate effectively it is crucial to keep your body language in check.
Your eye-contact will matter: whether you avert your eyes or gaze thoughtfully at the other person. If you are tense, the person will notice as well, so try to loosen up. If you are awkward or stuttering, that will also be noted. And if you are distracted the person may feel like you are not giving them your full respect. Even something as simple as crossing your arms can send a defensive message to the other person.
Thus, it's important to stay relaxed and loosened up to speak more naturally without every nonverbal move you make sending waves of uncomfortable signals to your partner.
When attempting to communicate effectively it's important to stay true to your point but also take the other person's feelings and circumstances into consideration.
Picking an appropriate time, being honest, meeting in person, and minding your body language will make a huge difference for your interaction when communicating about something important.
Communication takes two, so make sure to listen and respond respectfully for the most positive and effective experience in improving your relationship.