Conflict in relationships is inevitable, but poor communication can increase the chances for conflicts to happen. Poor communication is a source of relationship breakdowns, and typically contributes to work-related stress. With an increase in technological methods for communication, including texting and email, there are more ways in which communication can be misunderstood. Here are four tips to strengthen your communication skills.
Good communication helps disseminate information accurately, and it is an effective tool for building understanding between and among people. It is the way we connect with one another. Yet many times we are careless in talking, writing, or expressing ourselves and do not state clearly what we mean to say. If you are communicating with someone, consider what the goal of the message is and why you are talking about that subject. Consider the best method for communicating your message.
People have different points of view. Communication allows for people to share their opinions and establish a common ground of understanding. But do not expect everyone to change their opinions to agree with yours just because of your persuasive talent. Accept that people can disagree, and that disagreement does not necessarily need to lead to conflict. Such acceptance will keep the relationship less stressful and help you to create a mutual, collaborative understanding.
Improve the art of active listening. One of the biggest problems in communication is not listening carefully. You may think that you are listening, but are you? Or are you really thinking about what you are going to respond when the other person stops talking? A good conversation is a joint venture where a collaborative understanding is built on each others’ points of view.
Remember that communication includes verbal and non verbal messages. Determine the appropriate means of communication and avoid ambiguity in your message. People use words differently. Be aware of that. Be thoughtful in your word choice and try to avoid using words with double meaning. In different cultures, words and body language can mean very different things, and conflict in relationships can arise if you are not sensitive to such differences. Remember that conflict in relationships is usually not the underlying problem. It is the way people handle the conflict, and using poor communication skills can increase the conflict.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
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