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Effective communication does not always come easily, especially in emotionally charged situations. However, practicing communication skills enhances effective communication. Active listening, non-verbal communication, and "I statements" are important principles of effective communication.
Active listening is one of the most important skills for effective communication because it enables the listener to fully hear what the speaker is communicating and their emotional state. Active listening involves being fully present in the conversation (avoiding distractions such as cell phones and what you have to do later in the day), providing a summary of what the other person said to avoid misunderstandings/allowing for them to correct any misunderstandings, avoiding int eruptions, being engaged in the conversation through verbal "yes, ok, uh huh" and non verbal cues such as nodding, and creating a non-judgemental space for the speaker to express their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and ideas freely.
Often times how one says something is more important then what one says. Thus, nonverbal communication is incredibly important for effective communication. How an individual uses their body conveys different messages. It is important the listeners nonverbal communication conveys a sense of openness and the speaker's is congruent with what they are expressing verbally.
Finally, using "I statements," especially in emotionally charged conversations helps to let the listener understand the speakers feelings and places the focus on feelings not judgements. "I felt left out when I wasn't invited to girls night," vs. "YOU wouldn't invite me to girls night!"
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