When it comes to effective communication, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about confidence and speaking clearly for one lifetime.
But if you’re looking for some practical strategies that you can use today, then you’ll love this post.
It’s a simple checklist of 4 communication habits that we need to STOP doing.
We are all affected by these 4 habits to a certain degree, and only by recognizing them can we lessen their negative influence on how we communicate.
Check them out and be inspired to get rid of them immediately:
1) Being Right
One thing that messes many of us up is the overwhelming drive to always be right. It’s built into us to want to be right because it makes us feel better than those around us.
But this can be hugely destructive for your relationships; people don’t like being proven wrong all the time (especially when they’re not wrong in the first place).
Our desire to be right comes from the fear of disrespect, and the fear of being flawed. Recognizing our own flaws is a challenge for those who cannot come to terms with our imperfections and internal contradictions.
We do everything we can to feel respected and worthy, even if it means making others look wrong.
So we interrupt others, instead of listening to them. We have this yearning to constantly disagree, demand an explanation, make our voice heard, without hearing anyone else’s voice.
But this can damage the conversation, both technically and emotionally. You evoke negative emotions from the interrupted person, who will resent you instead of continuing to communicate.
When you fix in a conversation, you skip the step of genuinely listening and understanding the pain, anger, sadness, and general negativity of the other person. Instead, you fall back to the default an easy fix, such as “Don’t be upset” or “Don’t cry.”
While your intentions may not be malicious, fixing a situation like this teaches others that it’s not okay for them to be upset. It comes from the belief that negativity should be feared rather than expressed, which ends up hurting those you are trying to fix.
The truth is, people need to feel what they need to feel. Emotions should be embraced, not repressed, and by “fixing” a situation by ignoring negative emotion before the negativity has had time to mature, you end up making the situation worse over time.
Truly listen and understand their pain or grief, and let them share it in their own way.
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3) Looking Good
We’re not talking about physically looking good, but rather the image of looking good in front of other people. We always want to look educated, smart, and in-the-know, which is why some of us have the habit of saying “I know” whenever someone is trying to explain something to us.
But when you teach the people around you (and convince yourself in the process) that you know everything, then how will you ever learn?
Being around someone who never allows himself to be impressed or intellectually vulnerable can be exhausting.
When you are out in a foreign country with a group of friends, let yourself experience the marvel of the scenery and the different cultures. Shaking every amazing sight and a new piece of information with an apathetic shrug does nothing to boost your image; instead, it makes you look like a kill-joy.
When it comes to communication, “speechwriting” is the worst way of looking good. This is when we ignore a valuable piece of information or insight and change the topic with a simple non-sequitur, such as “anyway” or “whatever”.
Then there’s “competitive speaking” which is when you take every opportunity to one-up everything you are told. If someone mentions they’ve been on holiday to Rome, you might say that you’ve been there five or six times. No one enjoys talking to these people.
4) People Pleasing
When your words are under the bias of people-pleasing, they have less effect on your audience; and the truth is, people can tell.
They will lose trust in the authenticity and honesty of your words and your overall character, lessening how much your message can successfully resonate.
Trying too hard to get people to like you by agreeing with everything they say can backfire in your face the moment you go too far, and they won’t like you at all.
To stop this, ask yourself some key questions, such as: What do I believe in? What do I value in life? What are the truths that I can’t back down from?
By building a strong foundation in your head, you build the character that you outwardly display, making you more respectable in the process.
Finding Your Bad Habits
Some of the bad habits or leeches above may be affecting you; some may not. Our gut reaction will always deny any accusations that we hear our read about ourselves.
However, if you take the time to get past the reactionary backlash, you may realize that there is something to be learned from the bad habits described above. Start becoming a better communicator and person today.
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