How well do you listen?
Effective communication involves two parts: presenting information and active listening. Without both, resolving conflict is impossible, as is maintaining your friendships. Practice these skills:
- Think before speaking. Know exactly what message you want to convey.
- Make sure your friend has your full attention and understands your meaning.
- Stay focused on the matter at hand.
- Be clear and precise.
- Listen to yourself speak.
- Be aware of your body movement, voice inflection, facial expressions and other nonverbal cues.
- Pay attention to what your friend is saying and acknowledge your interest and understanding in what your friend is saying.
- Listen for what is behind the words—like feelings and ideas.
- Do not interrupt, get angry or judge.
When resolving conflict, keep these additional communication tips in mind:
- Remain calm. Recognize when you are becoming defensive or too emotional.
- Do not blame or accuse each other.
- Focus on the issue at hand, not the way you are feeling toward each other.
- Explore underlying issues.
- Accept that each other’s perspective is different, but not wrong.
- Be willing to apologize and forgive.