Why is communication important as an adult?
Good communication skills are vital when it comes to adulting. Encompassing more than just verbal and written communication, this soft skill entails the capacity to telegraph and read facial expressions and body language, as well as the ability to receive information.
Poor communication increases the risk of social conflict, which can include anxiety, frustration, misunderstandings, and—at worst—broken relationships. At the core of all relationships (whether with colleagues, roommates, or a significant other) is the ability to communicate in a way that ensures you and the other party understand each other accurately.
Your grasp on different forms of communication has an enormous impact on the way you navigate your professional and personal life. Take a look at the following real-life scenarios to gauge your awareness of communication’s role in different environments.
Table of contents3 ways to improve your communication at work4 ways to improve your communication at home3 ways to improve your communication with friends and familyPracticing self-awareness
3 ways to improve your communication at work
Communication in the workplace is about more than meetings and emails. When you join an organization, you are expected to collaborate with coworkers to achieve a common goal. Openly communicating with colleagues doesn't just make you effective in the role you were hired for; it enables others to perform to the best of their abilities as well.
Trust is a crucial component in team communication and collaboration. A safe space gives people the confidence to share their ideas and insights, encouraging them to engage more enthusiastically in shared projects.
Here are three ways to build trust and effectively communicate with your team members.
Give positive feedback. This may seem obvious, but sincere compliments help build trust and improve morale. If you catch yourself frequently criticizing someone's work, make an effort to balance the feedback with observations of things they're doing well.
Be direct and respectful. Share your honest thoughts in a way that shows empathy and considers others' perspectives and priorities.
Ask for input. When you ask teammates for their opinions, you demonstrate faith in their judgment and interest in their point of view. Asking how you can better support them in their role shows that you’re invested in their long-term success and helps build rapport.
4 ways to improve your communication at home
While your home is a space where you should be able to rest and recharge, bumps in the road are inevitable when you share your living space with others. Here are four ways you can stave off the passive-aggressive post-it notes, slammed doors, and uncomfortable encounters in shared spaces.
Establish expectations and boundaries upfront. Make time to lay out ground rules in a roommate agreement either before you move in or right after getting settled. If you are clear about your needs from the start, you are less likely to encounter unnecessary conflict down the road.
Have regular house meetings. While imposing structure at home can be daunting, it helps resolve (and even prevent) difficult conversations with roommates. Have a time limit, conduct the conversations face to face, adopt a positive attitude, bring snacks, and most importantly…
Practice active listening and open communication. You are sharing space with autonomous individuals who deserve your attention and respect. Your ability to listen and communicate your thoughts without judgment are the cornerstones of effective communication and conflict management.
Avoid using judgmental language. There's nothing like an unwelcome criticism to make someone defensive or upset. Instead, practice empathy and look for an assertive approach to the situation.
3 ways to improve your communication with friends and family
It's tempting to throw yourself into new and exciting relationships—especially when it can be hard to make friends as an adult—but we often do this at the expense of our other, older relationships. Here are three ways to make sure you’re properly tending to relationships with friends, family, and partners.
Have regular meetups. Establishing a recurring gathering eliminates the need to continually schedule time together. Decide on an interval that works for everyone involved, and be flexible about rescheduling (life happens, after all).
Shake things up now and again. Long-term relationships are prone to stagnation. Keep things fresh by trying new things together—try planning an outing, tackling a creative project together, or surprising them with their favorite meal.
Show you care about their personal life. Much like appreciation, care and acceptance sustain relationships. Practice those active listening skills, and make sure you are sharing airtime when spending time with your most important people.
A crucial element of communication is self-awareness. If you don't have a firm grasp on what you’re trying to say, odds are no one else will, either.Here are three ways to keep yourself in check.
Understand your own thoughts and feelings before attempting to communicate them to others. What is your concern? What are you feeling? What do you want to say? Answering these questions for yourself will save time and headaches when conveying the information to someone else.
Don’t assume you know what someone thinks or feels. You may sense your roommate is irritated, but you won't really understand why they are upset (if, indeed, they are) unless you ask.
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. We all have our preferred communication styles, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Verbal communicators may need to take more time when writing and learn to self-edit. Those who prefer written communication may need to practice speaking up in group situations.
Most importantly, in developing your self-awareness and working to communicate effectively, you are advocating for yourself. Being able to openly share your ideas, feelings, and needs sets you up to do fulfilling work, have your needs met, and be understood by those nearest to you.
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