Each of us communicate on a daily basis, but oftentimes we miscommunicate and do not get our intended point across. There are a lot of guidelines that help to make for more effective communications, one being is to have eye contact with the person you are communicating with. By looking at the person it shows that a you are interested in what the person is saying and are paying attention and is engaged with the conversation. By a lack of eye contact with another other person, it shows that you are disinterested in the conversation. By practicing direct eye contact with the person you are speaking to, will assist in maintaining good lines of communication. Besides, eye contact, it is important to be a good listener. By asking “What” and “Why” questions it will ensure that you are attentive to the what the person is saying. In effective communications between two people, it is important that each individual understand what message is being communicated. It also important to reflect upon what a person has said when there is a pause in the communication. This allows for each individual to think about the conversation and maintain a continuous flow of the conversation. It should be noted that good communications between individuals is a two-way street.
As for me personally, there are a lot of situations that has made me a good listener. Oftentimes, I was interrupting the people who were speaking and not listening to what they were talking about. There was a problem for me to be attentive to the details of conversation and I had not listened to them during the conversation and forgetting most everything that was said. One day during a conversation, a friend told me that my problem was that I was not a good listener. They went on to say that I needed to develop more effective listening skills. They suggested that during a conversation, I should focus on a what is being said, remain silent until the speaker has completed what they were saying. In turn, it would show to the speaker that I was interested in what they were saying. It should also be noted that during a conversation, the subject should not be changed as it will disrupt the communication process. When engaged in conversation, I should put aside my own thoughts and intently listen to what the person is saying. I should place all of my attention to the speaker and not hurry the speaker before they have completed what they are saying.
In developing good communication skills, it is necessary for a speaker as well as the listener to maintain a responsiveness about what is being communicated. When there is a mutual understanding between two communicators, the level of effective communication increases ten-fold. When a listener shows a genuine interest in what is being said, the miscommunication gap decreases. I have personally learned when engaged in conversation not to interrupt the person speaking. I have found that by not interrupting the speaker makes both me as well as the speaker feel more comfortable with them and allows for a more interesting flow of information.
Distraction is one of the major pitfalls of communication. There are various types of distractions including background noise and people speaking over each other. It is strongly recommended to make all attempts to limit distractions during any conversation. An example of a distraction could be a constant background noise that would make listening a challenge. Such distractions may be a telephone ringing, a television program in the background, or for that matter most any background noise that takes away from the conversation at hand. The background distraction tends to creates a mental blockage which limits the attention span of both the listener and speaker. In maintaining effective communications and conversations, it is strongly advised that distractions are kept to a minimum. When distractions are encountered, it is advised to move the conversation elsewhere or to remove the particular distraction.
Showing full attention towards another during conversations is called “conversation engagement.” It is important to fully engage the speaker by showing a focused sincerity on what is being said. When there is no engagement in a conversation, the other speaker will feel that there is a disinterest and would perhaps end the conversation. It should be shown to the speaker person that you care about what is being said and that there is a real interest in what they are talking about. The listener may interject responses such as “I understand” and “Yes” which will show the speaker that you are engaged in what they are saying.
In closing, effective conversation is an art form that can be perfected over time. By practicing good listening skills, will allow for a more engaged conversation. The speaker will feel that you empathize in what they are talking about and will feel comfortable in continuing to maintain the conversation. By interjecting key words that show the speaker that you are listening to what they are saying will ensure that the conversation will continue on an even flow. But listening isn’t the only key to effective communications. Both the listener and the speaker must make every attempt to avoid distractions. Distractions will almost always lead to a path of miscommunication and eventually communications breakdown. By removing the distraction(s), will ensure that the conversation will proceed smoothly. Lastly, when engaged in a conversation, it is imperative to display a genuine interest in what is being said. Yes, the topic of discussion may be of no interest to the listener, but good communications etiquette maintains that an individual should display in interest (even if uninterested in the subject matter) in what the speaker is saying. To quote Zig Zigler, a world-renown motivational speaker who once remarked “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.”