Barriers to Effective Communication
There are some good reasons why many people are less-than-effective communicators. These are the most common reasons:
• Lack of skill; not knowing how
• Not taking the time to think through what one wants to say
• Not taking the time to anticipate what another person might be thinking and feeling
• Fear of revealing too much of oneself
• Being afraid of another person’s anger
• Not wanting to hurt another person’s feelings
Four Key Listening Skills
Listening skills are the building blocks of effective communication. These skills enable you to demonstrate that you are interested in what the other person has to say, as well as hearing and understanding the other person. Four key listening skills are open-ended questions, summary statements, reflective statements, and neutral questions and phrases. They are easy to learn with a little practice.
Open-ended questions begin with what, why, how do, or tell me.
- These questions get the other person to open up and elaborate on the topic.
- Asking these kinds of questions gets the other person involved by giving him or her a chance to tell what they think or know.
- These questions are designed to encourage the other person to talk.
- They are useful when the other person is silent, or reluctant to elaborate.
- They are also useful in dealing with negative emotions (such as anger or fear), since they help encourage the other person to vent feelings.