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Effective Communication: Improving Your Relationships

Good communication is essential for any personal to work-related relationship. Good communication skills help build trust, connection and improve conflict resolution. Communication is about expressing and understanding each other, and in most situations, there’s no such thing as over-communicating.

Even with the best effort, messages can reach others in a distorted way.

Our communication style is learned mainly in childhood. By observing others' interactions, we learn how to address people on all kinds of social occasions, and this is generally enough. We constantly communicate and adapt conversations to the situation, using different verbal and non-verbal language with friends, partners, and colleagues. But, despite the attention we put into it, miscommunication is one of the most experienced challenges we face daily in every kind of relationship.

There is no communication that is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.

Luigina Sgarro

What's the reason behind that?

There is more than one answer to that question, different levels of awareness, backgrounds, experiences, triggers and communication styles. These set the basis of how communication is experienced for each person creating their own filters when expressing themselves and receiving messages. This added to the idea that the main contribution to a conversation is non-verbal communication. No wonder understanding each other appears so tricky. A lot can go wrong when we deliver a message; if emotions are involved, things become even more complicated.

Even if you are saying nothing, you are saying something, as body language determines 55% of communication. The percentage for tone and emphasis is 38%, turning out to be way more important than the remaining 7% of the impact for content or words.

The Relationship Expectations Gap

We tend to put high expectations in our relationships, causing us high levels of frustration when we feel misunderstood and expectancies are unmet. For example, we expect our partner to make us happy, fulfil our needs, know what we need, understand our mood swings, guess our wishes, be ready to step in when we need help and possibly do this the way we want. While these expectations may sound very reasonable in our minds, we forget that our partners are not mind-readers and do not know what we expect unless we communicate openly with one another.

Expectation gaps are the leading cause of miscommunication, as they get generally filled with assumptions, judgement and resentment. We get defensive when these feelings are set in place, and open communication becomes almost impossible.

The only way for our partners to get a clear idea of what we like and when we need them to step in is to let them know what we want. Another critical point we miss is that our partners may have different needs and perspectives about how things should be done. This is the moment when compromise and conflict resolution skills become vital.

It’s important to make sure that we’re being with each other

in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”

Barack Obama

Communication Fundamentals.

Communication is essential for happy and healthy relationships. However, unless we are naturals, when communicating, keeping in mind that your body language and tone have to match the message is easier said than done. It requires being mindfully present and paying attention to how the message is received.