Top Tips to enhance your communication skills
In our past blogs, we have focused on offering support with conflict situations and their sources, such as bullying and lack of anger management skills. Another aspect of conflict is when there is a lack of communication skills and empathy, or when we feel we are not being heard, listened to and understood.
In this article, we shall look at communication styles and skills, in particular listening skills and empathy.
Empathy is the ability of one person to step into the inner world of another person and step out without becoming that person. It means trying to understand the thoughts, feelings, behaviour and personal meanings from the other person’s internal frame of reference.
Do you do any of the following when someone is talking to you?
If so, then you may not be listening effectively, with a risk of a potential conflict situation.
- Not paying attention
- Pretend listening
- Listening but not hearing the meaning
- Rehearsing what to say in reply
- Interrupting the speaker in mid-sentence
- Hearing what is expected
- Feeling defensive, expecting an attack
- Listening for something to disagree with
- Offering solutions instantly.
- Dismissing importance.
- Using jargon
- Being judgemental
What is your communication style?
Are you passive, aggressive or assertive? The table below will help you with this.
How would you communicate in the following situations?
At work, your line manager asks you to work overtime when you have plans for the evening and you want to be able to say ‘No’ to the request but feel anxious about your manager’s reaction.
A friend calls you at work and wants to go out that evening. You want to go home and rest after what has been a pressurised day. You start off by saying you’re tired and want to go home, but your friend keeps pushing until you say yes.
You go to see your doctor with a very sensitive issue. It has taken a lot of courage to make this appointment. When you go into the consulting room, the doctor is sitting in front of the computer and is half listening and half typing away on the keyboard.
At work you have many issues to discuss with your manager and have asked for a meeting several times. Your manager makes an appointment and cancels at the last minute saying s/he something else more important has come up.
“Listen, Empathise, Agree, Partner”. The bottom line is to listen for what the person finds motivating, empathise with them, find common ground you can agree on, and partner with them to address common goals.
- 1 Listen
- 2 Demonstrate that you understand the other person
- 3 Say what you think and feel calm
- 4 Say specifically what you want to happen
- 5 Consider the consequences for yourself and others of any joint solutions.
Hansa Pankhania is a published author of 10 Wellbeing books for adults and children available on Amazon or through her website.
In her books, she is passionate about sharing natural wellbeing techniques which do not cost anything but nourish your body, mind, and soul in powerful ways.
She and her team offer Coaching and Training on Wellbeing, Stress Prevention, Resilience Building and related topics to Individuals and Managers.
She has a national and international team of affiliates who are committed to promoting individual wellbeing as well as develop mindful, compassionate, thriving workplace cultures.