Communicating effectively is an essential skill. It is a constantly evolving process that can have both positive and negative effects on your relationships and life. We’ve all been on the other end of ineffective communication and have been challenged ourselves when it comes to communicating. By being able to communicate effectively, we can set boundaries, build authentic relationships and exchange our ideas, opinions, knowledge and needs.
It’s not always easy, it takes courage to be able to communicate well - if you’ve ever been caught off guard in a conversation you’ll know the feeling of emotional overwhelm. Sometimes we are able to speak up in a clear and authentic way and sometimes we just don’t have the capacity to communicate clearly and considerately so we resort to silence, outbursts or passive aggressiveness. We’ve all been there and it’s all part of being human!
However by treating ourselves with kindness and leaning into vulnerability we can hold ourselves accountable and can give ourselves the space to better understand our communication style and needs.
Effective communication is:
• Active listening
• Body Language & Tone of Voice
• Asking Questions
• Being clear and concise
• Being Empathetic
• Giving & Receiving Feedback
• Being Present
There are 4 main styles of communication:
• Passive - Closed; Silence and avoidance. Even when you have something to say. Positive or negative.
• Aggressive - Direct; rudeness, lies (pretending to be ok when you’re not), inauthentic.
• Passive Aggressive - Indirect; Complaining & gossiping without kindness or consideration of the impact of your words.
• Assertive - Open; Speaking honestly and with kindness and compassion.
Although an assertive communication style is the most effective, we need all four styles in differing amounts and ways for different situations.
Having the courage to show up for yourself even when things get hard means you are committed to being present, actively listening and staying open. This creates space for authentic, kind and clear communication and connection.
1. List two people who you think have great communication skills.
What about them do you admire? What makes them a good communicator? Is it their body language, their willingness to be honest, or their active listening? How can you incorporate some of these characteristics into your own daily communication?
2. How do you communicate?
How do you react to or show up for difficult conversations or negative feedback? What type of body language do you use? How often do you speak up and share how you truly feel?
3. What are some areas that might need a little improvement?
What are some strategies you can use to make things easier? What do you need? Do you need ask for a bit of time to think? Do you need to prepare for a conversation? Being clear on your boundaries will help you to better communicate your needs to others.
4. How can your communication practices be unintentionally hurting others?
Communication is a two way street. Knowing your communication style and knowing how people like to receive messages is important. Do you hold back? Do you tell the honest truth? By not being clear and kind you may be unknowingly harming them.
5. How can you improve your listening skills?
Active listening is one of the most important parts of communication. Are you an active listener? Are you present in the conversation? What can you do to become a better listener?
5. What do you need to be able to communicate with confidence?
This might be something that you are working on eg. body language or perhaps it is something that you need from the other person. What do you need to ask for?
YOUR RITUAL TOOLS
“THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT WE CAN OFFER OTHERS IS OUR PRESENCE. WHEN MINDFULNESS EMBRACES THOSE WE LOVE, THEY WILL BLOOM LIKE FLOWERS."
- Thich Nhat Hanh