The art of effective communication helps us better understand the person or situation and enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and caring can flourish. As simple as communication seems, much of what we try to communicate to others – and what others try to communicate to us… gets misunderstood, which can cause conflict and frustration in personal and professional relationships. By learning these effective communication skills, you can better connect with your spouse, kids, friends and coworkers.

In today’s information age, we have to send, receive, and process huge numbers of messages every day. But the art of effective communication is about more than just exchanging information; it’s also about understanding the emotion behind the information. The art of effective communication can improve relationships at home, work, and in social situations by deepending your connections to other and improving teamwork, decision-making, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust. The art of effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress in the moment, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with.

While the art of effective communication is a learned skill, it is more effective when it’s spontaneous rather than fomulaic. A speech that is read, for example, rarely has the same impact as a speech that’s delivered (or appears to be delivered) spontaneously. Of course, it takes time and effort to develop these skills and become an effective communicator. The more effort and practice you put in, the more instinctive and spontaneous your communication skills will become.

Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they’re communicating.

The art of effective listening can:

Make the person feel heard and understood, which can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you.
Create an environment where another feels safe to express ideas, opinions, and feelings, or plan and problem solve in creative ways.
You can save time by helping clarify information, avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
You can relieve negative emotions. When emotions are running high, if the speaker feels that he or she has been truly heard, it can help to calm them down, relieve negative feelings, and allow for real understanding or problem solving to begin.