We can get so caught up in our busy routines that we often operate on ‘autopilot’ and are not fully engaged in the moment. While that isn’t necessarily bad to do from time to time, it doesn’t allow us to be our best selves in many situations—especially when it comes to communication.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re constantly sending out signals to others through your words, your tone, your body language and your invisible energy field.
Not sure how your skills are? Start by being aware of when you’re on autopilot so you can shift into being more present when you need to. Throughout the day you can also check in with yourself to find out how you typically speak to yourself (internal dialog). Are your words harsh or kind? Do you give your body time to rest or do you always pressure yourself to push through? When you feel emotionally or mentally drained, do you offer yourself compassion or do something nurturing for yourself?
Once you’ve practiced being able to catch yourself and shift into being more patient and kind toward yourself, try our tips to enhance your communication with others.
- Beware of Reacting If you start feeling stressed or triggered during a conversation, take a moment to internally regroup. Taking a few deep, slow breaths will reset you to a more calm and centered state; helping you respond more effectively. This is especially transformative if you visualize breathing through your heart area.
- Always Say Thank You Even when you choose to not follow someone’s advice or offer, graciously say thank you to show that they’ve been heard and are appreciated.
- Eliminate Communication Killers Cut unnecessary phrases out such as ‘I know’ or ‘but’ when someone offers you a piece of information. It’s usually more helpful to respond with phrases such as “Good point” or “True, thank you” or “Thanks, I’ll take that into consideration.” Again, it makes the receiver feel much more appreciated and heard.
- Body Language Matters When communicating, pay attention to your body language. Are you giving eye to eye contact or looking away or distracted? The more present and relaxed you are, the more likely the person will feel safe to express themselves in your presence. By showing them that you’re both interested and open to what they have to say, conversations will naturally deepen. Tip: Keep your phone out of sight!
- Feeling Stuck? If you find yourself stuck in poor communication patterns such as with a family member, keep in mind that you’re only responsible for your own actions. While you can’t change what and how they speak to you, you can learn to not take it personally. While you may feel an internal eye roll coming on, you can still choose to deliver your response with compassion and understanding, allowing you to productively redirect the conversation.
- Stand Your Ground If you find yourself in a not-so-friendly encounter, trust your gut. Clearly and kindly state your point of view. Rather than get into a combative situation, try to de-escalate it by making the other person know they are heard. If necessary, distance yourself entirely.
Next time you’re in a conversation, check in with yourself to determine where you can improve your skills. As you practice these tips, you’ll start communicating with greater awareness, openness and clarity, expanding your life to hold more joy, peace and deeper connections.
We’d love to hear how being more mindful in your communication has impacted your life!
Photos: Elevate (top), Ketut Subiyanto