When you think of someone who is an effective conversationalist, what do you picture about their communication skills? What skills do they have that you admire?
JOURNAL PROMPT: What does effective communication look like to me?
Before you continue reading, grab your journal, take 5-10 minutes to reflect on the journal prompt, and then keep reading.
As I’ve studied and pondered that question, I’ve gathered six main points to describe the anatomy of an effective communicator. These six skills are not exhaustive. There are many more, and these just scratch the surface.
Let’s take a closer look at these skills:
- A growth mindset: This means that we are open to possibilities, learning opportunities, options, etc. We see the complexity of life and of being human. We understand that we have layers to us and to our communication styles and patterns. We approach people with wonder and curiosity knowing that we have a chance to learn and grow from doing so. We seek after growth. We are flexible.
- Eyes for recognizing our common humanity: When we see the complexity in others (and in ourselves!!), we recognize that we are all experiencing life together. We haven’t done this before! We’re doing our best with what we know at the time, as is everyone else. With that, we understand that we are all human. We look for our similarities rather than seeking out our differences. As a bonus, we know that we aren’t alone in our journey.
- A heart full of compassion for self and others: When we have a heart filled with compassion, we seek to comfort those who need comfort. We look for those who are in pain, and we act with kindness and care to help them. It means that we are paying attention to our surroundings, especially the people in our circles.
- Mindful awareness of our emotions and needs: How do we connect in our relationships if we aren’t aware of our emotions and needs? It’s a big deal! Being mindfully aware means that we are present with ourselves. We are honest with ourselves about what we are feeling and what we need to be fulfilled in our relationships. That means paying attention and responding with care to our feelings rather than shoving them under a rug, so to speak. It means that we also need to evaluate what is important to us (our needs) in our relationships.
- Strength to establish boundaries and protect our values: Once we figure out what is important to us and what we need, we create boundaries to keep our relationships safe and secure. We establish those boundaries to keep ourselves safe. Creating boundaries doesn’t mean that we are building walls. It means that we recognize that our needs matter, and we deserve to have our boundaries respected. Boundaries help us create healthy relationships. They set basic guidelines of how we want to be treated in our relationships and in our conversations.
- Commitment to remain present: When we communicate with others, especially when we want to strengthen our relationship, it’s vital to stay engaged in the conversation. Put our phones down. Turn away from our computers. Lower the volume of the music in the car. We listen to understand rather than to reply. We pay attention to the nonverbal cues of the person. We notice the emotion they express while they speak. We give them the attention they seek because they are important to us.
As I mentioned, there is so much more communication than what I’ve listed here. What would you add? Come visit me on Instagram to share your ideas.
If you want to strengthen your communication skills, let’s connect! I can teach you more about these six skills and many more.
compassion communication skills self-worth self-love love yourself depression