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How to Verbally Communicate Effectively

by
author image Stacey Elkins
Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.
How to Verbally Communicate Effectively
Open, honest, direct communication is key. Photo Credit Gary Houlder/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Strong verbal communication skills are key to healthy, successful relationships. Good communication can help to resolve issues, avoid misunderstandings and develop deeper, more meaningful relationships. Communicating in a verbally effective way is a skill that you can learn through effort and a commitment to improvement.

Be Aware of Your Feelings

It’s important to be aware of your emotions and how they play a role in your verbal communication with others. Your feelings, more so than your thoughts, drive you to communicate, says HelpGuide.org in the article, “Effective Communication.” Lack of emotional awareness can result in unnecessary arguments and frustrations. If you are unaware of how you feel or don’t know why you feel a certain way, it will be a challenge for you to communicate how you’re feeling or what you need. Don’t ignore or try to bury uncomfortable feelings. Develop your emotional awareness by embracing and dealing with uncomfortable and difficult feelings. For instance, writing in a journal or talking with a friend might help you to gain an awareness of how you’re feeling.

Express Yourself

An important part of verbal communication is the ability to express your needs, expectations and desires. Don’t make the assumption that other people know what you’re thinking or what you want. Doing so can cause misunderstandings. If you don’t express yourself, it makes it hard for someone to compromise or meet your needs, warns California State Long Beach’s Health Resource Center in the article, “Love & Communication in Relationships.” Express your feelings and encourage the other people in your life to do the same.

Manage Your Stress

Stress can affect your ability to communicate effectively. When stress is high, it can make it difficult for you to think clearly and to act accordingly. For instance, if you are feeling overwhelmed, you may say something out of character or make a comment you later regret. Pay attention to signs of stress, such as sweaty palms, a headache or a stomachache. Take a moment to relax before responding. It may help to count to 10 or take a few deep breaths. Knowing how to monitor your stress can help you to control your emotions and respond in an appropriate manner.

Own Your Feelings

Express yourself directly, rather than indirectly. For instance, say, “I am upset,” rather than “You upset me.” Doing so can help prevent conflict since you are making your point without blaming the other person. Don’t put the other person on the defense. By focusing on your thoughts, feelings and what you find important, you can avoid pointing blame and are more likely to elicit a positive response from the other person, asserts therapist Irene Hansen Savarese, in GoodTherapy.org's “How to Express Your Feelings in a Respectful Way.”

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