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Communication 101

Some of the greatest challenges in life surround the inability to communicate effectively. The ability to communicate effectively supports our success in all professional, social (platonic), and romantic relationships, yet we don't really give the necessary care and consideration to developing our ability to communicate effectively. If utilized correctly, this blog will support you with developing an ability to recognize your challenges with communicating effectively, as well as provide tools to enable your ability to develop better communication strategies.


Here are 6 Questions Critical for Effective Communication!


I. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

It is important that you know your audience. Who you are communicating with essentially shapes how and what needs to be communicated. Essentially, recognize that you would not communicate with your friends in a social setting, the same way you would your coworker in a professional setting. These are two different environments that require consideration of different dynamics so make sure that you identify your audience before conversing and or communicating with others.


II. ARE YOU ACTIVELY LISTENING?

To be able to answer this question, we certainly must know what active listening is. So, what is active listening? Active listening encompasses first approaching the conversation with the intent to listen and receive information, not solely share information. When we approach conversations with the intent to respond or relay, we disconnect from being engaged in the conversation and listening to what the other party has to say. When we are engaged in the conversation we need to listen to understand and follow up with questions to ensure understanding. Thus, one way to check and make sure that we are actively listening is to recite information heard, once the other party finishes a thought, and that is to make sure that we are hearing the information as it is intended to be received. A great way to do this is to restate the information by saying "What I heard you say was...". This gives the other party the opportunity to verify and confirm that you received their message correctly. And naturally, once they have confirmed you heard things correctly, then you can follow up with your response.

When all parties feel they are being heard correctly, communication is easier and more effective, especially in conflict resolution.


III. WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION?

This is a very important question because many of us don't give any thought to the intention for communication, but it's important that you consider the following questions as a tool to support identifying individual intentions when engaging in conversation.

  • Are you communicating a business proposal?

  • Are you advocating for the best interest of others?

  • Are you advocating for your best interest?

  • Are you attempting to acquire/obtain more information?

  • Are you sharing feelings and or feedback?

Although not limited to, these questions enable an ability to identify intention when communicating. The drive and motivation associated with your conversation, say a lot about how you will deliver the message. And in turn, that drive and motivation will manifest into visible attitudes, demeanor, and tone displayed via non-verbal communication. Therefore, it's pertinent that you are conscious of how the message is delivered based on your intent because, without conscious consideration of how it's being delivered, the probability of the message being received adversely (not in the best way) is very high.


IV. WHAT DOES YOUR BODY LANGUAGE SAY?

As the aforementioned introduces, tone, attitude, and demeanor are visibly perceived in communication, and sometimes our non-verbal communication speaks louder than our voice. Therefore, it is critical (if you wish to develop great communication skills) that you work on being mindful of what your body is saying to make sure that non-verbal communication aligns with the intent of the message. When you are body conscious you will see a difference in how someone responds to your message. Because your body will either be inviting or discouraging of communication.


V. WHAT ASSUMPTIONS ARE YOU MAKING?

Assumptions are antagonistic to growth, as they disable our ability to approach situations, conversations, and dynamics from a place of neutrality. When you do not go into a conversation from a neutral place, you set boundaries on your ability to effectively communicate. Thus, it is important to understand that you need not assume you know the answer or response. Be open to listening and collaborating on a solution, versus proving yourself right and operating through your bias. Because what we do know to be true, is that most often when we approach conversations and situations with stereotypes, misunderstanding, and lack of fact, we unconsciously force (enable) the assumed outcome by operating in the blinders of bias.


VI. ARE YOU ASKING CLARIFYING QUESTIONS?

The last question I regard as the most challenging because most often we assume we fully understand what the other person is saying without actually asking for clarity. Thus, to discourage assumptions and encourage active listening (as first introduced in question two) we have question six, which encourages you to ask clarifying questions.


You can approach asking clarifying questions in two ways, one way is to restate what you've heard to make sure you interpreted what you heard correctly. The second way is to ask questions to make sure you fully understand the intent of the message.


The key to using these two tools is to help you separate what you think you heard versus what is intended to be shared/communicated.

Again, I recognized that one of the greatest challenges in life surrounds the inability to communicate effectively, so I hope that these questions will support you in approaching communication in the best way. And these questions, if used, become easier to remember and call upon, so use this information to establish positive habits when approaching conversations and communication with others. I promise the more comfortable you become with effective communication, the better you'll feel about not only expressing yourself but being able to understand others. Subsequently, the skill of effective communication will prompt increased success in all professional, social (platonic), and romantic relationships.

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Audridom the blog created by author and blogger Audreyanna Garrett, stands to give birth to spirits of acceptance, encouragement, understanding and forgiveness, as well as help diminish spirits of fear, desperation, doubt and frustration, all while encouraging us to move forward in truth to something greater. 

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