Communication is one of the key foundations for a positive relationship. For dating success, success in the workplace, and overall success in all of your relationships, communication is necessary to have meaningful and healthy connections. When it comes to communication, there are so many moving parts. Whether you’re speaking to one person or a group of people, there are simple ways to hone these skills. Many people are under the impression that a way to communicate with someone only involves verbal communication. However, 55% of communication is nonverbal. Therefore, understanding non-verbal cues are just as imperative. So, it’s a no-brainer that what you don’t say is just as important as what you do say.

To understand how to truly form healthy, deep and loving relationships with yourself, your partner, your family member, your co-worker, etc., you must reflect first. If your end goal is to have clear and open communication, keep reading because we’ve simplified the best way to learn how to communicate better is just in three simple steps.

Here are three tips on how to communicate better:

REFLECT

Three Simple Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships - Reflect

Three Simple Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships – Reflect

To communicate what is going on in your mind to the other person’s mind is first asking yourself, what exactly are you trying to convey? What is your message? What is your story? Ultimately, you want to develop a shared understanding and a shared meaning while avoiding miscommunication and misunderstanding. When reflecting on what exactly you are trying to communicate, think about what signals are you sending? Are you sending the correct messages? How are your non-verbal cues? What are some non-verbal communication cues you can express to show interest or understanding? Are you interpreting what is being communicated back to you by the other person?

These reflective questions can help you understand the process of how you communicate better. To form better communication techniques, you must be honest with yourself. Think about a time or conversation you had with someone where things went wrong. Were you defensive? Was the other person defensive? Do you feel like you took the time to listen? Discover what works and what doesn’t work.

PREPARE

Three Simple Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships - Prepare

Three Simple Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships – Prepare

After reflecting on what you’re trying to communicate to the other person, the next step is to prepare. Do you have all your points? Is the story you’re trying to communicate consist of all the details so that the other person can fully understand? For instance, if you’re going on a first date, try sharing a personal story. Personal stories can be funny, serious, relatable, or simply a way to open up and form a connection. Sharing personal stories is a great way to break the ice and find common ground on a first-time interaction scenario.

If you are having difficulty communicating with someone, the next time you converse with them, mentally prepare what you will do to share your point of view successfully. It takes about six seconds for the emotional side of your brain to dissipate. The best way to react to someone’s response is to take a deep breath, wait six seconds, and then respond. Internally, within those six seconds, you are interpreting the context rationally rather than emotionally.

PRACTICE

Three Simple Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships - Practice

Three Simple Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships – Practice

Now that you’ve reflected and prepared for better communication methods, it is now time to put it into practice. All of us are guilty of miscommunicating something to someone at one point in time. When practicing, remember to think about the non-verbal cues you are signalling as you prepare for what you’re going to say. Make sure your body language is appropriate for the situation. Eye contact is essential, good posture, light appropriate touches to the shoulder or hand; these are just a few examples of how you can communicate without saying a word.

Be mindful of what signals you are giving off and look out for cues from the other person you are trying to communicate with. Another skill to practice for effective and productive dialogue is listening. Finding a balance between listening and sharing your thoughts is the ultimate foundation of communication. Remember, the intention is to understand, so instead of being defensive, which most of us are guilty of, try to listen first. Digest what is being communicated, then share your thoughts.

One way to practice is to say your thoughts out loud in front of the mirror. This way, you can hear and see yourself, hear the tonality of what you are trying to share, and physically see how your body language is too.

Guest post article is co-written in partnership with Linh Pham, co-founder of Designer Swap and our In House Virtual Stylist and event co-ordinator. 

Linh is Carmelia Ray’s Style Expert.  She consults and advises clients in making fashion decisions for dating and lifestyle photoshoot profiles. She provides customized recommendations on individual pieces, entire looks, colour palettes, styles, and fabrics. She is the Co-Founder of an online luxury consignment boutique called Designer Swap and a women’s networking group called Canadian Lady Bosses. She loves fashion, travelling, shopping, and women empowering events.