Well, I said I’d do it. So here it is, a blog post on how to speak clearly and effectively with others.
Speaking clearly is difficult for me. I’m afraid of how the other person will react, so I usually cover it up with side comments, filler words, and half-truths. I’m not very clear because I want to protect the person in front of me. Little do I know that I’m setting myself up for failure when I have to hurt both of us by eventually telling her the truth.
Being clear is important for those of us who suffer with anxiety because when we have anxiety, we tend to have a problem figuring out what’s going on inside of us. We usually don’t know how to communicate what we’re feeling, what happened, or what symptoms we’re experiencing. Then, when we finally figure out our triggers, it is difficult for us to communicate with those who’ve hurt us, if necessary.
Now, before I discuss how to speak more clearly, it is worth mentioning that communication is a two-way street. There have been times when I’ve said all that I’ve needed to say in as eloquent a matter as possible, only to be met with two blank eyes staring back at me. When listening, here are some things to consider:
- Be present : Just because you are hearing does not mean you are listening. Instead of getting distracted, be intentional about giving the speaker your full, undivided attention.
- Don’t listen to respond; listen to understand : You may have a lot to say about what the speaker is telling you, whether to defend yourself or to contribute to the conversation. However, the speaker may have some valuable information that can be helpful or interesting to you.
- Repeat for comprehension : To make sure you are on the same page, you might want to repeat what you’ve heard. Ask, “Are you saying that…?”
- Be patient : Let the person speak. It is difficult to communicate from the heart, and if he has to do that, give him some time. Don’t be quick to judge or defend, but truly seek out a healthy relationship.
For the speakers, here is how to speak more clearly and be understood:
- Write down/rehearse : Especially if you are anxious, write down your thoughts. It’ll help clear your head and find the main idea. For your own benefit, you can write down what you need to communicate and the feelings behind that message. If someone hurt you, why did it hurt you? If you have something important to say to your boss, why is it important to you?
- Stick to the main idea : It is possible to talk a lot and yet communicate nothing. Remember the point and stick to it.
- Line your words up with your actions : If you communicate your desires, your boundaries, or your feelings, make sure you follow through with your actions. Parents know this better than anyone. When you take the time to effectively communicate to your children why you are not letting them have dessert because of how they misbehaved, but they give you the teary eyes and you cave and let them have dessert anyway, you are not communicating clearly.
- Be patient : The listener may not understand right away, but keep trying. Be patient with yourself as well as the listener. Your message is worth saying, and worth hearing.
The Bible speaks against giving a false testimony to your neighbor, so it is highly valuable to communicate as truthfully as possible without sugar coating anything. Overall, be patient with one another. Even if you both speak the same language, you have two different mindsets. Effective communication takes time to learn; that’s why it’s called a skill.