It's easy to misread what people say. It's just as easy to be misunderstood. By communicating better, you can improve nearly every aspect of your life.
Communication is about more than talking; it's about listening and considering. Be thoughtful when you speak.
Conversation is a skill, just like reading and writing. That means it can be learned with practice and attention.
Identify what you want to share about yourself. What topics are you comfortable discussing? Decide beforehand.
Stay informed. However you get the news (twitter trends or viral videos), remember interesting things you see.
Don't make assumptions. You might hate rap music, but others love it. Hold off on any polarizing topics at first.
Pay attention to what's not being said. Look at how the other person carries themselves and how they react.
Be open and honest. It's amazing how quickly little lies can lead to big ones. Keep it simple and tell the truth.
Be willing to learn from everyone. A bad social experience can help shape you just as easily as a good one.
True communication should be rewarding, interesting and engaging. So try to discuss more than just the weather.
Talk about subjects the other person is interested in. If they love talking about books, engage them on that subject.
Make sure to listen. It seems obvious, but you're not the only one talking. They should be contributing as well!
Say what you mean. Cut down on sarcasm and jokes unless you know the others you're speaking to will enjoy it.
“Recognizing power in another does not diminish your own.” Admit when you're wrong and move on.
Avoid passing judgement. It might seem like the others are attacking you, but wait and make sure before reacting.
Pretending everything is alright when it isn't doesn't help anyone. If you're upset, try to put the feeling into words.
Going to a social event? Think up some interesting topics and do research before you go, so you're confident.
Ask open-ended questions. Not only does it prove you're listening, but it might help you continue the conversation.
Don't force yourself to have a deep conversation right away. Take time to get to know each other.
Consider your attitude. If you really care about the conversation, ignore your phone and other distractions.
Know that you don't have to tell the best stories or be the funniest person to be the best conversationalist.
Be respectful. Sometimes conversations take a turn towards arguments. Take a breath and refocus yourself.
Entering a new conversation? Follow the flow for a while first before butting in to avoid ill-timed jokes.
Give your partner time to work through their thoughts as well. We're all learning; don't expect them to be perfect.
When making big decisions, try to disconnect from your emotions. Big decisions should be thought out logically.
Stop trying to 'win' arguments. Be willing to admit where you are wrong and notice when you go on the offensive.
Always deliver bad news in person. It's difficult to be sure, but shows you still care and are supportive.
Sometimes it's okay not to talk. True communication doesn't always have to happen in words.
Look up some research on body language and learn to read it. Try to keep it in mind as well when you're chatting.
Keep eye contact, but don't be afraid to blink or look away from time to time. Staring is worse than not looking at all.
Make sure you aren't in someone's space when you talk to them. Many people get uncomfortable without a buffer.