Although some people purposely sabotage relationships with their actions for various reasons, most individuals make a genuine effort to have their connections grow.
When you look at the primary reason why most relationships end, poor communication is one of the top problems.
If you can work on your communication with people you trust, you’ll discover that most relationships are salvageable. Even if you’re in a tough spot right now, you can use the following ideas to improve this skill in your relationships.
What Are the Best Ways to Improve Communication?
Communication is a two-way street. If one person is putting in all of the efforts, you’ll need to examine why that outcome happens.
You can start that process by looking at these different perspectives.
1. Make your communication skill improvements a priority.
If you want to save a relationship after a miscommunication, it will make this skill a higher priority. We make time for the items that are the most important to us each day. If you make sure that this improvement process is in that conversation, you’ll find fewer conflict points as time passes.
You can improve your communication skills in several ways with your health coach. Depending on your situation, you might get asked to read specific books, take a class, or find a mentor who can help.
2. Stay on message when you talk.
It’s easy to get lost in a tangent when having a conversation. When you have an emotional investment in the eventual outcome, it triggers the fight-or-flight mechanism inside, making you want to “win” the argument.
It helps to simplify your message whenever you communicate. If you get straight to the point and offer a non-judgmental statement of your facts, most relationships experience fewer arguments. The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history, but it was less than 300 words long.
3. Work on your active listening skills.
Your communication skills involve more than talking. When someone is discussing their concerns with you, an active listening approach will prevent misunderstandings. If you can listen without judgment or distraction, it’ll be easier to get onto the same page as the other person in your relationship.
The biggest issue that impacts listening is the desire to interrupt. We want to share our knowledge, but that approach is disrespectful to others’ views.
Try to think about a conversation like a court hearing. Each person gets a chance to say their peace, and then both of you can conclude.
One of the best active listening techniques you can practice is called “reflection.” After the other person says something, you would say, “What I hear you saying is…” You would summarize what the individual expressed in your words to ensure you’re on the same page. “Did I get that right?”
If you did, the other person confirms that fact for you. If not, you’ve created an opportunity to avoid a misunderstanding.
4. Think about your body language.
Did you know that about two-thirds of your communication comes from non-verbal sources? If you’re having a conversation with someone when your arms are crossed against your chest, that action sends a different message than standing with your hands tucked in pockets.
When you’re communicating with someone, you’re looking at how a person agrees or disagrees with you. Those cues become part of the conversation. If someone misinterprets your non-verbal behaviors, it can lead to the same unwanted misunderstandings in a relationship.
5. Maintain eye contact without it seeming like a threat.
When you can maintain eye contact with an individual during a conversation, it allows the other person to understand that you are their priority.
If you stare down a person with aggressive body language, your communication efforts might seem more like a bullying effort.
Eye contact works to build credibility within a relationship. It demonstrates you care about the other person. If you want to avoid an uncomfortable or awkward moment, you can focus on different parts of the individual’s face while maintaining active listening skills.
Are You Ready to Start Improving Your Communication Skills?
Health coaches can help you recognize different areas in your life where you could practice better communication. Our role isn’t to be a relationship therapist, psychologist, or doctor. Still, we can work with you to see when other experts’ assistance would benefit your circumstances.
Although some relationships are already changed because of miscommunication and misunderstandings, most are savable when you’re proactive with skills in this area. These ideas can help you get started on this work right away.