Communicating effectively

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Communication is complex. There are so many things that go into it: body language, tone, and word choice. Experts agree that body language can make up 70-90% of our communication. Then there’s culture and communication styles. There’s a lot to unpack.

Stacy Crawford of Klear Water Coaching and Wellness shares tips to help us communicate effectively.

Tip No. 1: Consider tone and nonverbals

It’s important to step into the shoes of the person we’re communicating with. Stacy says use empathy but recognize the limits, “The perception of your own tone and the words you’re using, and also those nonverbals…. Pay attention to that.”

Tip No. 2: Ask whether the person wants to listen or problem solve.

“I do think this is really helpful with friends. We want to fix things for people. We want things to be better but sometimes people want to be heard and seen,” Stacy adds that sometimes we don’t even have to say anything.

Tip No. 3: Use “I” statements. Avoid “you ” and “always.”

Stacy says that we should take ownership of our own language. Using “you always” can be accusatory.

Tip No. 4: Recognize different communication styles

“I have a very direct communication style. Not everyone does. Some people comes from more of a story based culture. They come from a little more indirect,” Stacy tells us we should develop appreciation for other styles. “Sometimes people want to think about things. They may not have a response in the moment.”

Tip No. 5: Avoid minimizing

This includes “I know how you feel” and “the same thing happened to me.” Using these phrases can prevent someone from feeling fully heard or seen.