The key to good communication is to empathize with the other person

9. 1. 2023

What is the key to good communication?

My daughter was given a task at school to describe what 3 positive and 3 negative qualities she has. She wrote “communicativeness” as one of those positive qualities. And while listening to the thoughts of a 9-year-old schoolgirl about what leads her to realize that she is communicative, I thought too.

What influences the fact that we can communicate well? And what does the adjective good mean and who determines this assessment? And how am I doing with communication?

I remember a piece of advice from my boss when I was in my 20s. He told me that no one can see into my head and if I want to learn something or get others to do what I need, I have to talk about it. To open my mouth and use such words and ways of explanation that the other party understands me.

I learned it over time. Also thanks to the people with whom I had the opportunity to work on small and large projects. Be able to speak your mind, apologize, care about others, be concerned, ask others’ opinions, describe negative events and give feedback. Explain mistakes, admit failure, describe what I feel, but also defend my decision and take responsibility for my team.

I learned to be direct with clients, colleagues, friends and family. Straight, not raw. Good for some, uncomfortable zone for others. I am classified as an introvert and like to observe and listen.

And so I share with you simple communication tips that I also told my daughter about:

The problem is not in the receiver, but in the transmitter

Speak clearly and repeat what you said. If the other party does not understand me, it is a sign to me that I need to find another way of explaining or use other words to find agreement and understanding.

Ego, ego, little ego

With difficult topics, you need to listen and not apply the words spoken to your own person. Also, not attacking or insulting the person with whom I am dealing with a difficult topic. What works is “breathing” and giving yourself time to make a decision or to continue on a topic. Even not continuing communication is a decision.

I perceive you, I see you, I respect you

To be present and make the other person feel that I am there. I’m really interested in what you have to say and I’m listening. I don’t have to agree with you, but I try to understand you. I respect your otherness and difference from me. I ask the same from you.

Naturally, not by force

I have moments when I don’t want to talk. With the neighbor, with the postman, with no one. All I ask is silence. If I perceive this need from others, I respect it and do not force anyone to communicate with me.

Differences in character traits, characters and habits are the spice of every communication. It’s interesting to start a debate with strangers (on the train, in the doctor’s waiting room or with magazine sellers in front of shopping centers). Want to solve even less pleasant situations. Asking questions about topics that are new to us and crossing the familiar boundaries of the safe zone. But don’t force it, let it be pleasant for all parties involved.

What rules do you follow in communication? Do you think of communication as a skill?

Author: Anna Beňadiková, Operations Manager in EDU Trainings

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