Effective communication starts with you.
Do you communicate your needs effectively? Do you gently ask for people’s attention when talking with them or do you try to squeeze things in when you or they are busy doing something else? Learning how to pick up on verbal and nonverbal clues will help you to understand if what you are saying to a loved one is being heard.
- Ask if it is a good time to have a discussion. You want to know that they aren’t distracted by other things when you decide to have a conversation with them.
- Increase the amount of eye contact you’re giving to the other person. This lets them know that you really want to connect.
- Be confident in the words you speak. If you start to feel your body language changing because you feel uncomfortable, be gentle with yourself and let yourself know that you’re okay, and what you’re saying matters.
- Pay attention to voice tone and volume. Don’t speak too fast or loudly if you want to avoid confrontation.
- Note what you expect from the other party. Even if you assert yourself, there is still the likelihood that someone may not be listening to you like they should. Ask them for the response you’re hoping for.
- If you need help speaking to a person you care about, couples or marriage counseling may be an option you want to look into.
When a person listens to you and understands what you’re saying, they give you verbal and nonverbal signals to let you know. They might repeat back part of you’ve said, take action that’s supportive of you, or provide feedback that is neither dismissive nor defensive. They care about you as a person, so they show you by helping you feel heard and valued and by giving you the time and attention needed.