Communication Styles to Improve Relationships

Do you have people in your life you always feel in conflict with, like you are always on a different page? Maybe simple conversations end in arguments. Perhaps you just always feel defensive or on edge when you speak. Are you always stressed in interactions because of this difference? Well, the good news is there are simple ways to alter or improve your communication style that can help improve these interactions, and will ultimately better your relationship and your own wellbeing.

These communication styles are tools that you can use with everyone, from the bank teller to your mum. So listen up and let’s brush up on some quality communication tools to benefit you and your relationships!

The Golden Rule

Remember this one from primary school? “Treat others the way you want to be treated”? Well this is an important concept in communication skills. Speak to others the way you want to be spoken to.

Take a moment to reflect on an interaction that went poorly.

Did you speak to that person the way you would have wanted to be spoken to in that moment? We are all human and experience real emotions, like anger or frustration, but stopping and being intentional about our communication can actually dramatically change your interactions with others.

How to make positive communication changes?

Well we tend to mirror those who are speaking to us. Speaking in a way that you would like to be spoken to will actually set the tone of the conversation. It also may work in your benefit to speak slower and more intentional in your words. They will probably do the same! You can actively play a role in how the tone of the conversation takes shape. Realising you have this control can be very helpful and empowering during intimidating conversations.

Conflicts often arise when one person uses a poor communication style, like aggression or frustration. The other individual usually responds by becoming dismissive, dismissive or even combative. These arguments can usually be avoided by slowing down the conversation and becoming aware of emotionally charged moments. Emotions are important to recognise, but when communication styles are altered by them, arguments tend to escalate.

A great tip for helping recognise your emotions and slowing down conversation is to ask for clarification. Often times arguments and conflicts are caused by miscommunication and misunderstanding. Don’t waste your energy arguing about something that may be trivial or even just a misunderstanding. If someone says something that you have a strong reaction to, pause. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification to ensure you understanding their point of view.

Another great tip in modeling effective communication is to empathise with the other individual. We can’t expect everyone to be just like us, but understanding each others differences can be vital in building healthy relationships. Even if you disagree, learning to empathize with your peers can help you model effective communication. The easiest way to practice empathy is to put yourself in their shoes. Even if you are both angry, you can still understand how frustrating it is for them to feel this way. After all, it is not that hard to imagine if you are frustrated as well. It is also a great reminder to remember that one disagreement doesn’t define a person. Once you separate the person from the topic, relationships are protected from disagreements.

It is never too early or too late to work on effective communication skills. It will benefit your wellbeing and relationships for years to come. If you would like to work with a psychologist on developing effective communication skills or discuss relationship issues book in a time to speak to a psychologist. Call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.

Related reading:

Arguments: Is being “right” really worth it?
Top Reasons for Divorce: How to keep it from happening to you
Going from Good to Great in Your Relationship

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