Some of us are really great at holding conversations. Others… not so much. But there’s nothing wrong with that! Because the truth is that each and every one of us can work to improve our communication skills in one way or another. And we can all benefit from doing so, as effective communication is the backbone of healthy relationships, of which play a huge part in our wellbeing and our happiness.
So, how do you improve your communication skills? Well, you could read a book on communicating well. You could practice with a friend. Or, you could get some professional and valuable guidance from a counselor at Thriveworks Bethlehem. Our providers are experts on communicating well and they would be thrilled to help you become an expert too.
What Are Communication Skills? Do Mine Need Some Work?
Effective communication skills enable an individual to communicate effectively! Pretty straightforward, right? To delve a little deeper, effective communication skills allow us to speak, listen, read, and write well. They also play a big role in our social and professional lives, as they can make or break our relationships as well as our business ventures. Here are a few basic communication skills that prove crucial to our everyday:
- Listening: Communicating is about more than just talking. In fact, a big part of communicating successfully is listening, as nobody wants to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t care about what they have to say!
- Nonverbals: Another big part of successful communication is nonverbal communication. I’m talking body language, eye contact, hand gestures, etc., as these add value to (or take value away from) a conversation.
- Clarity and concision: Does the person you’re talking to really understand what you’re saying? It’s important you’re communicating clearly—but also try not to overdo it, as rambling can be just as harmful as saying too little.
These are just a few examples of effective communication skills, which belong to a lengthy list. If you’re thinking you could improve these or other communication techniques, a counselor at Thriveworks Bethlehem is here to help.
Why Are Effective Communication Skills Important?
No relationship is a great relationship if you can’t have respectful, meaningful conversations. Which means if you’re offending, disrespecting, or failing to listen to another individual, your relationship could probably use some work. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would I offend a friend?” or “I would never disrespect someone.” But that’s just it. Often, we don’t mean to offend or disrespect in conversing with another—we do it unintentionally and without even realizing it. And we can thank our poor communication skills for that! Here are a few tips and tricks for communicating more effectively with your loved ones:
1) Practice empathy.
- Instead of spending the whole conversation thinking about how you feel or what you’re going to say next, concentrate on what the other individual is feeling and saying. Even if you’re in disagreement, you shouldn’t tune out or interrupt them—listen closely and see if you can’t understand where they’re coming from.
2) Use universal statements.
Avoid the word “you” when and where possible. Phrases that begin with “you” often offend the other individual. You should opt for more universal statements, such as those that begin with “I”. These statements force you to focus on how you feel, rather than what the other person may (or may not) be doing wrong.
3) Do your best to stay unbiased.
It’s helpful to position yourself as a mediator, so you can really take in the full spectrum of the conversation you’re partaking in. If you go into the conversation with a stubborn opinion, you’re likely to ignore or miss something important or substantial.
Schedule a Counseling Session at Thriveworks Bethlehem Today
A counselor at Thriveworks Bethlehem can help you understand where you might be lacking in your communication skills. They’ll also work with you to develop and improve them. If you’re ready to take this proactive step in living a better life, schedule a counseling session today. All you have to do is give us a call at 484-241-2848 to set up your appointment. We look forward to hearing from you!