We communicate through speech and writing on a daily basis, so it’s easy to take it for granted. What you may not realize, however, is that the effectiveness of your communication can vary greatly depending on its preparation and presentation, as well as the environment where it’s taking place.
By following these eight prerequisites of effective communication, you’ll be much more likely to convey your message clearly and effectively—every time!
Effective communication is important in both personal and business relationships, and when you’re communicating face to face, it can also give you an advantage over someone who isn’t as good at communicating with their body language.
However, if you want to improve your communication, it’s important to understand the prerequisites of effective communication first.
To do that, here are eight (8) prerequisites of effective communication that will help improve your body language and thus help you communicate more effectively in any situation where face-to-face communication is necessary.
1) Approach the conversation with an open mind
Communication is an extremely powerful tool. The key to effective communication is understanding that it takes two people to have a conversation, and listening carefully to the other person's perspective.
When you approach the conversation with an open mind, you are actively listening and respecting what the other person has to say. If you take time before reacting or responding, it will improve your ability to respond in a positive manner. You should also make sure that the environment is conducive to communication.
2) Show empathy and understanding
Empathy and understanding go hand in hand. When you show empathy, you are demonstrating that you understand what the other person is feeling and why they're feeling it. This builds trust and strengthens your relationship with that individual.
If you don't have empathy, then it will be difficult to connect on a deeper level with the person who is speaking to you. You'll be thinking about your own feelings rather than trying to figure out how the other person feels.
3) Be honest, but compassionate
It is important to be honest but also to be compassionate. When communicating, it can help if you use a I statement versus a you statement. For example, instead of saying, You never listen to me, say, I feel like you don't listen to me.
This will help maintain your relationship with the person you are talking to and will give the other person a chance to reflect on what they could do better. Another way to communicate in an effective way is to ask questions before stating an opinion or giving advice.
It's also important not to make assumptions about people or their intentions- these assumptions may not always be correct.
Asking how someone is feeling will help them feel validated and understood which in turn makes them more likely to want to hear what you have to say.
4) Understand that you may be wrong
It's important to know that you may be wrong. Understanding that you may be wrong can help you stay open-minded and willing to listen to other points of view. When people feel like they are right, it makes it difficult to build healthy relationships with others, solve problems effectively, or stay on task with work.
One way to address this is by understanding that if you're in a group setting and there is disagreement among the members, the group should take a vote instead of letting one person make all the decisions. This also helps ensure that everyone has had their say in the decision making process.
Being a good listener is one of the most important prerequisites to effective communication. It doesn't matter how eloquent you are if you don't understand what your audience needs.
At the same time, it's not enough to just listen; you have to be able to apply what you hear to your own situation and make adjustments accordingly. To become a better listener, first tune into your surroundings. Listen for things that catch your attention—not only auditory information but also visual cues and body language.
These can tell you more about someone's mood or emotions than words ever could.
6) Take turns talking
It is important to know when to speak and when not to speak. This is something that takes time and practice to master, but there are a few ways you can help yourself out. It's important that you don't interrupt your partner or co-worker as they speak, or take over the conversation without giving them a chance to reply.
You also want to make sure that you keep your tone at a level where it is easy for the other person to understand what you're saying.
7) Break down barriers by asking questions
Effective communication is key to building and maintaining relationships. No one enjoys talking to someone who doesn't listen, or who can't accept feedback. You may be the most intelligent person in the world but if you don't know how to communicate, then what's the point? The prerequisites of effective communication are trust, respect, and open dialogue.
In order to break down barriers with someone you need to ask questions like What led you to this decision? or How does this make you feel? By asking these kinds of questions, you will better understand the root cause of their feelings and/or actions.
When they realize that you genuinely want to understand their perspective they will reciprocate by listening to your viewpoint more closely as well. After all, everyone wants someone on their team who cares enough about them to take the time to find out why they do what they do!
8) Communicate from a place of we, not I
Effective communication, like any other skill, is a learned ability. Successful communicators have cultivated their skills and trained themselves to communicate from a place of we, not I.
Communicating from a place of we, not I can be difficult to master because it requires a change in mindset and how you perceive others’ perceptions of you. The good news is that with practice, this mindset becomes second nature. One way to start practicing this new way of communicating is by looking at the needs and desires of your conversation partner before your own.
When listening closely, ask yourself what would best meet their needs and wants before giving your opinion or sharing yours. And when speaking your truth with someone else, make sure you keep their perspective top-of-mind.