Communication 101: The Art of Conversation

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on September 18, 2011

Let us take a look into the basics of communication, AKA Communication 101: The Art of Conversation, from the wisdom of the top relationship expert.

Although there are similarities between men and women in conversation there are also several differences. Three specific differences include: 1) Women have a tendency to use many more words in conversation in terms of direct quantity then men do. 2) Women have more of a tendency to utilize touch with their communication style. The use of touch is a non-verbal form of communication and just as important as one’s verbal use of communication. 3) Women and their experience of and use of their emotionalism in their approach of expression, is more active then men.

It is this writer’s contention that body language and all forms of non-verbal communication is of significance in communicating whether it is with the same or other gender, with just as much importance as verbal communication. This non-verbal form of communication becomes removed when utilizing technological forms of communication. This is one of the very significant reasons why for some, they report that they communicate better when using technology whereas for others they report they feel misunderstood. The same person can sometimes feel communication is better with technology and other times better when verbal, depending on whom they are speaking with.

There are several challenges inherent with regards to the three differences aforementioned above with regards to men and women in conversation pose. One challenge is that women often report that they feel men loose focus in paying attention to what they are saying. It is the use of more words coming from women towards men that is a significant component that plays a role in this. Another challenge is that there are increased opportunities for miss-communication and misunderstandings since quantity and quality as well as physical style combined is at times like speaking a different language. Also, the difference in emotional expression leads at times the focus of the dialogue to be on who is not expressing versus who is and how that affects one another, rather than what the actual problem at hand is.

As a relationship expert who specializes in the marital and couple interactional dynamic and the parent-child relationship, I am often asked what is effective and truly good communication, as well as how to communicate effectively. The answer is as follows. When each person feels their voice is heard, and each person feels they understand the perspective of the other, even if they disagree, that in and of itself infers effective and good communication. Taking it a step further, the best thing a man or woman can do to communicate effectively is to have the overall goal and intent in mind to: communicate with not at the person you are interacting with. Whether it is the parent-child relationship, the couple and/or spousal interactional dynamic, and/or friends, it is this goal that is imperative. By utilizing the following pieces of a, b, c, and d, you too can implement a communication style where you are speaking with not at the person you are interacting with: a) hear the other person’s voice, b) utilize reflective listening skills so the other person feels heard and you have true clarity and understanding of what they are saying, not just what you think they are saying, c) communicate how you feel and what you are thinking, d) communication outcome attempt as a communication team.

With consistency be cognizant of taking ownership of your own thoughts and feelings. Blaming the other person combined with a disinterest in the others thoughts and only a focus on your own position is a definite what not to do when trying to master the art of communication. Do be aware that neglecting your own inner voice and only hearing the other person’s is a no-no as well.

Within each of the aforementioned points documented today, do note that when it comes to communication there are multiple layers upon which one can further explore. This blog as I have shared are simply pieces of the puzzle as a basic communication 101. This offers an introduction and summary of key pieces on your journey to be mindful of your communication in an effort to develop a talent and art for this important life skill. If you are getting married or are currently married and struggling with the communication interaction with your loved one, or simply wish to enhance the skills you already have, there are concrete strategies and communication techniques you can learn right now. A healthy lasting marriage requires great communication skills. Relational communication skills can be taught and learned. Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual, my newest cutting edge book now available for purchase provides this education. I share do-able communication techniques that have been proven time and time again that work. Take a sneak peak into the topics included in my newest release: Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual.

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