How to Improve your Communication Skills?

Learning to Listen and Connecting Deeply with Others

Photo by Erez Gavish on Unsplash

The Struggle

Suppose you are having an argument with someone about the “roundness of earth” and you are trying to make them believe that the earth is round. But the other person is convinced that the earth is flat. Now, what will you do at that point?

Self-Empathy

Suppose there is a jug that is full of water and you pour one more glass into it. What will happen? It will spill. So when you are feeling charged by emotions take a moment to step back and see what is going on inside you. It is a 4 step process.

  1. Observe Feelings: Try to observe your feelings. It can be either positive(joyful, excited, calm) or negative(angry, sad, lonely).
  2. Observe Needs: Observe needs that are connected with your emotions. For example, if you are feeling lonely there is an underlying need to connect.
  3. Make a Request: If you can fulfill the need that you have identified. Great! If you can’t fulfill it then you can request yourself that “Hey anger! I see you are there and you want to protect me.” Try acknowledging all those feelings and accepting them.

Empathy for Others

1. Listen with Complete Presence:

When someone is talking, try giving them your full presence. Also, try to let go of the need to come with a response. So many times even before another person has finished talking, we are thinking of our response. In complete silence, try to listen to what the other person is saying to you.

2. Summarize When they Stop:

When they take pause, it’s your opportunity to make them feel heard. Try summarizing what they said in 1 or 2 lines. It shows them that you are listening with curiosity and are fully present in the conversation.

3. Observe their Feelings and Needs:

When someone is talking and saying something, Just like you they also have feelings and needs behind what they are saying. Try sensing them and ask them in form of questions.

4. Avoid Advice:

I love this quote about advice.

More Resources

If you liked this article and want to learn more about empathy and how it can be used in conversations. You can read this book called “Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg”. It was given to me by one of my colleagues Kriti. She is an NVC practitioner and taught me a lot of things about empathy and NVC.

Conclusion

We have learned about how we can improve our communication skills and how empathy can be a really useful tool to connect with others and ourselves.

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