Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How to communicate more effectively.

Post 360 - To build or maintain a relationship requires that you communicate honestly and reveal yourself to someone else. People naturally hold back until they’re aware of the intentions of others. Recurring and stable reciprocity is the building block of trust. The more we trust someone, the more deeply we can communicate with them.

Recent studies suggest that over 90% of all communication is non-verbal. Attitude, spirit and body language are all factors in the communication process. Understandings or misunderstandings in verbal communication come through the interpretation of three things:

1. about 7% of our interpretation is based on the words used.
2. about 33% of our interpretation is based on the tones used.
3. about 60% of our interpretation is based on body language.

Tone is a more significant factor in communication than the words or body language used. A person can say “have a nice day,” but by their tone make it clear that they wish the opposite.

So, there’s a lot more to communicating than talking. Listening is also important. "We were given two ears but only one mouth, because listening is twice as hard as talking."

• Here are some tips on effective listening:

Expressing our wants, feelings, thoughts and opinions clearly and effectively is only half of the communication process. The other half is listening and understanding what others communicate to us. When a person decides to communicate with another person, he or she wants something, feels discomfort, or has feelings or thoughts about something. When deciding to communicate, the person selects the method or code which he or she believes will effectively deliver the message. The code used to send the message can be either verbal or nonverbal. When the other person receives the coded message, they go through the process of decoding or interpreting it into understanding and meaning. Effective communication exists between two people when the receiver interprets and understands the sender’s message in the same way the sender intended it.

• Sources of difficulty by the speaker:

- Voice too soft to be heard.

- Making the message too complex, either by including too many unnecessary details or too many issues.

- Getting lost, forgetting the point or the purpose of the interaction.

- Body language or nonverbal elements contradicting or interfering with the verbal message, such as smiling when anger or hurt is being expressed.

- Paying too much attention to how the other person is taking the message, or how the person might react.

- Using a very unique code or unconventional method for delivering the message.

• Sources of difficulty by the listener:

- Being preoccupied and not listening.

- Being so interested in what you have to say that you listen mainly to find an opening to get the floor.

- Formulating and listening to your own rebuttal to what the speaker is saying.

- Listening to your own personal beliefs about what is being said.

- Evaluating and making judgments about the speaker or the message.

- Not asking for clarification when you know that you don't understand.

There are three basic listening modes:

1. Competitive or Combative Listening; We’re more interested in promoting our own point of view than in understanding or exploring someone else’s view. We either listen for openings to take the floor, or for flaws or weak points we can attack. As we pretend to pay attention, we're impatiently waiting for an opening, or internally formulating our rebuttal and planning our devastating comeback that will destroy their argument and make us the victor.

2. In Passive or Attentive Listening, we’re genuinely interested in hearing and understanding the other person’s point of view. We’re attentive and assume that we heard and understand correctly, but we don’t verify it.

3. Active or Reflective Listening is the single most useful and important listening skill. In active listening, we’re genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting or what the message means, but we’re active in checking out our understanding before we respond with our own new message. We restate or paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification.

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