Do you ever find yourself listening to someone, but not really focusing on what they are saying? Instead, you’re thinking of what you want to tell them about yourself or your story. Maybe you have the opposite problem. You would rather not say anything for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings or creating conflict.
Many of us make these same mistakes. These are common communication errors, and we usually do not notice we are making them. For some people it’s not a big deal. The conversation moves on, and that’s that. However, the consequences of poor communication take a toll. Feeling unheard can lead to resentment, frustration and pain.
We all make mistakes when it comes to communication. With practice you can learn how to communicate effectively by recognizing common errors and learning techniques to both hear and be heard. Even if you feel you are not having problems with your relationships, learning how to communicate effectively may improve aspects of your life…which may lead to landing a better job, improving relationships and feeling heard and understood.
There are three types of communication styles we use when we interact with others.
- Passive Communication
- Aggressive Communication
- Assertive Communication
Passive communication refers to putting the needs and desires of others first, while neglecting your own.
Aggressive Communication is the opposite. You concern yourself with your own needs at the disadvantage of others.
Both these styles can be appropriate at times, but usually ineffective.
Assertive communication is a healthy balance between both passive and aggressive communication. It requires stating your own needs and advocating for getting your needs met, as well as listening, acknowledging and respecting the needs of others.
Communication goes two ways. You have to listen, and you have to share.
Tips for assertive communication:
- Use “I” statements
- Make an effort to use good eye contact
- Use good posture
- Avoid ambiguity
- No swearing
- No criticism
- No mocking
- Control the tone of your voice (talking too loudly may be a problem, and being soft spoken conveys being unsure of yourself)
If you are struggling with communicating (or not feeling heard) with a loved one, at your work place, or with your family, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one trained and seasoned Orlando mental health counselors.