The Art of Communication


Good communication is a skill, and like any other skill, you can learn how to improve it.

What do you need to improve the ways in which you communicate? All you have to do is follow some basic rules. Here are just a few to help you become a good communicator:

Good communication starts with listening patiently and quietly. When you listen attentively, you’re showing respect to the other person, and you’ll better understand what your conversational partner wants to say. Better understanding leads to fewer conflicts.

Whenever you participate in conversation about important topics, try to be completely relaxed. A peaceful state of mind is crucial for successful interactions with others. Why? Stress interferes with the mechanism that controls language and perception. If you’re stressed, you won’t be able to properly carry on a good conversation, and you won’t be able to accurately perceive what the other person is saying. Under stress, cortisol, adrenalin, and other stress hormones change the physiology of the normal functions of the body by decreasing the activity of the frontal lobe, tightening the facial muscles, changing the tone of the voice, and increasing irritability and frustration. Simply put, when you’re stressed, you’re not really you. “Someone else” is speaking on your behalf.

Try to speak briefly, while using short, clear sentences. You’re a good communicator if you can express yourself within the shortest possible amount of time. The longer you speak, the less the other person will remember what you’ve said! What you say goes directly into your short term-memory, which has a limited capacity to store information for longer periods of time. Your long-term memory is nearly unlimited, but not your short-term memory.

If you’re angry, it’s best not to become involved in a serious conversation. Wait for a better time to express your concern or disagreement. Anger is very tricky, and I’ll tell you why: It damages your brain and numbs your rational mind. Now you know why anger rarely works, and why not expressing your anger during a conversation is a good idea. An angry voice, rapid breathing, uncontrolled speech, and irrational decisions will not give you an advantage: Anger shuts down the function of the frontal lobe, the place where your logic center is located.

Expressing anger is a bad idea, but not expressing it is also harmful. Repressed and unconscious anger causes the flow of stress hormones, thereby damaging the part of the brain that is in charge of your emotional centre.

Okay…we’ve established the fact that expressing anger is not good, and that not expressing it may be even worse. What are you to do? Well, try not to become angry in the first place, especially when you need to take part in an important conversation. I know…it’s easier said than done, but you can teach yourself how to control anger: It’s worth a try if you want to protect your brain from all the damage that anger can cause.