Healthy Communication: Pros & Pros!

We’ve heard the phrase, ‘communication is a two way street’, but what exactly does it mean?
Simply put, it means that effective communication is not only about sending out proper information but also receiving it.

There isn’t enough emphasis on developing or improving communication skills despite the fact that all our relationships rely on good communication, personal, business or otherwise. There are countless blogs & books discussing the importance of effective business communication, but we want to focus on why it's important to also actively work to improve our personal communication skills.

Good personal communication skills can be extremely beneficial for the growth and development of any relationship. Clear channels of communication, ability to identify & express feelings and being aware of hurtful non-verbal behaviours like tone of voice, body posture as well as expressions paves way for healthy relationships.

Additionally, when we proactively work on improving our communication skills, it can help in many ways like

  • Help avoid misunderstandings

  • Improves trust and respect

  • Encourages honest conversations

  • Clarifies relationship expectations and intentions

  • Promotes a better understanding of one another

  • Improves ability to resolve conflicts

So, how do we improve personal communication?

In order to improve, it is important to put effort in the two main areas of communication. This would not only mean that one would have to attempt to be more in tune with one’s own feelings but also work on the ability to actively listen. Half the battle is won, just by identifying where exactly we are going wrong. It gives us a target area to focus on and improve.

There are a lot of ways to be more self-aware about how we are feeling and behaving, and best way is to just ask others. Try and take their suggestions constructively and try not feel the need to defend yourself.

We can use questions like,

‘How do I behave when I am angry? Or stressed? Or sad?’
‘ What would they suggest you do differently?’
‘Do you think that my tone/body language/expressions match what I am saying?’

Similarly, looking inward i.e. reflection on your past arguments, conversations or even general interactions may help guide you to a better understanding of your own communication abilities or limitations.

You can ask yourself questions like,

‘Did I handle this situation as well as I could have?’
‘Was what I said offensive or rude, etc.?’
‘ Am I sure I interpreted the situation or their words correctly?’
‘Am I able to express what I am feeling to the best of my ability?’

Now, what do we mean by active listening? It basically means putting in some effort into listening. You maintain eye contact, ensure your expressions are congruent with what the other is saying (which means don’t smile when your friend is telling you about their difficult breakup!), encourage to continue talking and remember what they said, ask questions or clarify what you didn’t really understand, also try to summarise what you understand and confirm that you understood correctly.

This will ensure that there are minimal misinterpretations in the communication process and you are able to clearly understand the point of views/perspectives and intentions of others. Moreover, it also always helps to broaden your horizons in other ways like reading about various styles of communicate, best way to communicate, etc. or listening or watching other people talk and express in a way that you aspire to do.

And if you are struggling with working on this your own, you could always seek the help of a professional like a psychologist or a counsellor, who can guide you into being a better communicator.

We hope you can try to slowly work this into your relationships and are able to at least take a step towards healthier communication styles.

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Illustrations by Shreyaa Krritika Das