“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

― George Bernard Shaw, Leadership Skills for Managers

 

It’s definitely true that communication is an art acquired over years of practice and self-awareness—but it’s also possible to get much better at it by adopting a few very basic ideas.

 

In this post we’re going to share three communication habits that everyone should try! Learning and acquiring such habits for yourself might take work and effort—but they will more than pay off in the end by helping you to build bridges to other people instead of walls.

 

Habit Number 1: Find a way to empathize

If you don’t legitimately care about the individual in front of you, then you’re going to have a very difficult time communicating with any real positivity.

 

Did you know that only 7% of communication is accomplished through words? 38% is accomplished through other vocal elements, while a whopping 55% is accomplished through non-verbal cues, gestures, and actions.

 

But how are you going to be able to keep all of this in line when having a conversation? How can you keep from seeming negative if your goal is to be positive?

 

As it turns out, the easiest way to keep verbal and non-verbal expressions in the ‘positive’ range is to empathize with the person on the other end of the conversation. If you can find a way to care about them, then you will automatically come off as a more caring and positive individual.

 

Habit Number 2: Listen and understand before speaking

While it can admittedly be difficult to listen to someone else when we feel that we have something meaningful to say, doing so can do a world of good for both your relationships and for your abilities as a communicator.

 

People will respect you more if you listen. You will also relate to them more effectively if you know exactly what their thought processes are and can find it within yourself to attempt to understand them as a person.  

 

Habit Number 3: Use the word ‘I’ instead of the word ‘you’

This is a simple trick that can really help you to avoid building walls between yourself and other people. You might feel like saying this:

 

“Why are you doing that? You are going to mess that up!”

 

But instead, try wording it to paint the word ‘I’ as the focal point.

I really appreciate your hard work, but I feel like doing it that way might not work quite as well.”

 

 

Sometimes, changing your wording to be less abrasive or abrupt can make a huge difference to the people around you.