Key To Effective Communication


By Jayaram V

The key to effective communication is to be in the present, paying attention with mindfulness to what is going on. It is not letting your mind think, when you are listening, but paying attention to what is being said. It looks easy, but many people do not do it.

Listening requires open mindedness, while many people are either defensive or aggressive and do not let their communication to happen in a normal way. They want to control it or dominate it or ignore it or avoid it according to their mood or interest. Indeed, unless you are in the present you cannot pay attention, and unless you pay attention you cannot be in the present. Thus, both are interrelated.

Good communicators are also good at communicating with themselves. They pay attention to their own thoughts and feelings, and at the same time are sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. They listen with empathy, patience without judgment and without being aggressive. They may be assertive, but not aggressive. They  know when they are happy or unhappy, what motivates them or inspires or what depresses them. Because they can empathize, they also accommodate other's thoughts and feelings when they communicate with them.

Being aware of their desires and aspirations and their strengths and weaknesses makes them transparent and truthful about their feelings and emotions. This ability to look within themselves and honestly acknowledging their feelings and emotions help them empathize with others, which is the key to effective communication.

Effective communication is all about paying attention, being mindful of oneself and the other person or persons in communication and knowing when to speak and when to listen, when to yield and when to assert, and when to speak out and when to suspend judgment. Good communication requires effort. Those who excel in it excel in their lives and professions.