Principles of Effective Communication
Communication can be broken down into two main elements: speaking and listening. Both of these are of equal importance in coming to a mutual agreement, disseminating information, and the determination of personal and objective truths. The most important principle of communication is acknowledging that the message sent is not necessarily the message received. No matter how obvious a point may seem, many factors go into the way another person interprets messages they receive– be it verbally or otherwise. The number one reason why miscommunications happen is because of a failure to acknowledge that what one person may be hearing, the other isn’t saying.
In order to communicate effectively, it is important to be aware of what the other person is ‘hearing’. In addition to word usage, body language, perceived acknowledgment of validity, tone, and pace is all vitally important to receiving emotional or factual information from another person. If somebody senses that your non-verbal communication is incongruent with your verbal communication, then the point will either be distorted or will fail to get across entirely. This is because every message has two elements to it, the content and the emotional presentation. If the emotional effect of a situation is lost on the listener, then they will resort to non-verbal communication to interpret the emotional effect. More often than not, we are not aware of the communicative output we give off with our body language and tone, so in order to communicate as effectively as possible, minimizing the risk of miscommunication which may lead to conflict, we must explain rationally the emotional cause-and-effect while reinforcing those verbal statements with non-verbal communicators.
Communication is a natural and human method of sharing information, and it takes time to build the ability to communicate, as with any other skill. The more skilled a person is at communicating with their partner, the more fluidly a couple can problem-solve and effectively understand each other’s personal experience.
“Principles of Effective Communication” was written for D’Arienzo Psychological Group by our 2019 summer intern and Stetson University Psychology Major, Thomas Henley.