In the era of the web, it’s important to understand the different levels of communication. We don’t see each other as much as before, but we clearly communicate more. It is then important to become someone who is a listener, a thinker, and an empath, is concise with his thoughts, and is not afraid to apologize if you want to communicate more effectively.
Especially during this digital era, social media, email, and instant messaging have all taken over as the forms of communication that we use on a day-to-day basis. The modern age of the web and social media has led to a reduction in face-to-face communication. While this is normal, it does have its negative impacts, such as the lack of nonverbal cues, where you will not be able to observe gestures and physical expressions in real time. Nevertheless, communication is at the center of our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not. We all have ideas and opinions, but are we communicating them effectively? In a world where communication has never been easier or more accessible, how can we ensure that what we say and what we share reaches the person(s) who need it most?
To help you better communicate your ideas, here are some easy things to do and remember.
Be an active listener.
It's amazing how often people think they're communicating clearly and still have their message misinterpreted. That's because listening doesn't just mean hearing the words that come out of someone's mouth. It means listening to what's going on underneath what they say—what their tone of voice is telling you, what emotions are being conveyed, whether they're looking at you while they talk, and whether they're gesturing in any way from across the room.
A good listener doesn't just listen and then think about what they're going to say next. A good listener listens and genuinely thinks about what the speaker is saying—that includes considering any emotions they may be feeling or how they might have come to the conclusions they've reached on what they're talking about. A good listener asks questions that help him or her understand more of the situation—and not just questions that are there for show. If you want people to listen better to you, listen better to them.
Be a thinker.
Always think before you speak. Being a thinker means being a good communicator. Being a good communicator means that you think about what you're saying before you say it, so you can make sure that the other person understands what you mean and that they're not interpreting your words in a way that would cause them to have false perceptions.
Thinking before you speak is one of the most important skills you can have. It also makes you a considerate individual because you take the time to choose your words well. If you're struggling to think about what to say before communicating, ask yourself some questions. What do you want to say? Why do you want to say it? Who will hear it? What should they get out of it? How should they react? How will you know when they've reacted appropriately? These questions help you explore the topic from multiple perspectives and allow you to flesh out your thoughts so that when you talk about them, no one has any room for confusion or misinterpretation.
Be an empath.
It's easy to forget this when we're talking with people we don't know or who aren't like us. But communicating well also means practicing empathy toward others—putting yourself in their shoes, listening to their perspective, and learning from them. Your efforts could go a long way in helping bridge the gap between those who agree with you and those who don't and in creating a safe space for everyone to be heard and participate equally during discussions.
Communicating better is about more than just learning how to talk. It's also about understanding and respecting others' communication styles and, in many cases, taking the time to adapt your own. When you're an empath, you practice kindness. You treat everyone you communicate with as if they're your equal. You consider their point of view and how they may be perceiving what you're saying. You actively learn to express yourself better when sharing your ideas, preventing future misunderstandings.
Be concise with your thoughts.
One of the best ways to be able to communicate more effectively is to be sure about what you actually want to say or ask. It's a lot harder to convey an idea when you don't understand it yourself, and struggling to get your point across can lead to people tuning you out. You need to make sure your own ideas are clear before entering a conversation about them; otherwise, you risk confusing the other person or having them make incorrect assumptions about your idea because they haven't been informed of its message. Remember that the more you understand your thoughts and ideas, the more you are able to convey them clearly and sincerely.
It's also important that you don't just assume that the person you are talking to already knows what you're talking about or how you feel; they don't, and they won't unless you tell them. If your goal is to keep the reader's attention, make sure that everything is laid out as simply as possible.
Be comfortable with apologizing.
One of the most important things to remember about communicating with people is that it's a two-way street. And sometimes, somewhere in the communication process, you will say or do something that doesn't come off the way you intended it to or gets lost in translation. And even if your intentions were clear, sometimes you'll still be misunderstood. If it comes to this, don't be afraid to apologize. If you've hurt someone's feelings with your words, even though you didn't mean to, it's okay to say you're sorry. It doesn't mean that you're weak; it means you're human. No matter how well we communicate, we'll inevitably end up saying or doing something that hurts someone else—it's what we do after that matters.
When you apologize, you can truly begin to let go of your fears of being misunderstood or seen as imperfect by others. It will also help you learn from your mistakes so you can be better next time. Remember, good communication means being able to apologize when you need to.
Learning how to communicate better is a lesson that never stops. If you're serious about communication, then you'll always be learning and growing—because good communication has as much to do with the receiver of the message as it does with the actual delivery. And even if you’re not necessarily a good communicator in person, you can definitely improve the way that you present yourself online. The web is about constant learning and relearning connections, relationships, and communication, after all. So it's time for you to be a better communicator in 2023.
Now, practice these skills and do some self-reflection afterwards, so you can see for yourself how these points completely improve your way of communicating. You may even practice with a friend or a colleague. The more that you practice it, the sooner that it'll come naturally for you.