Effective Communication: the Key to Building Strong Relationships

I can’t hammer it home enough how important communication is in leadership and, more importantly, your life overall. While John Maxwell says everything rises and falls on leadership, I have to diverge from this great leadership thinker.

Leadership is important, but I believe communication is even more important.

Without communication, you can’t rise to the level of a great leader. People won’t follow or understand you if you can’t effectively communicate your

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Desires
  • Thoughts
  • Agendas
  • Etc…

Communication is the key to getting things done in leadership. It holds that communication will get you to the next level. Especially in building relationships.

Many relationships, in business and personal, have fallen because a person couldn’t communicate. They failed to share their needs, desires, and wants. They couldn’t spit out the words to let the other person know.

That’s why you need to know how to communicate.

Effective Communication: The Key To Building Strong Relationships

If you want to build your communication skills and build stronger relationships, try the five tools below.

1. Learn to listen:

According to Scientific American, research shows that people spend approximately 60% of their communication talking about themselves. It goes to 80% when you factor in social media. That’s a lot of talking about yourself.

What does this show us? People like to talk about themselves.

How can this help you build better relationships? Listen to what the people around you are telling you. They’re sharing stories, ideas, and thoughts about their lives. 

By listening to what they’re telling you, you learn about them. You get to know them. You’re able to understand who and what they are.

Listen and learn. Then build the relationship.

2. Identify your communication style:

There are four main communication styles. If you want to build better relationships, you have to identify your communication style and the person you’re in a relationship with.

The four main communication styles are:

  • Passive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive-aggressive
  • Assertive

Each communication style is unique and has its own way of being heard. By understanding how you communicate, you can tone it down or amp it up when it comes time to share. 

3. Stop catastrophizing situations:

Rarely is a situation fatal yet think of how many times you freak out over a missed shipment, a forgotten date, or some other insignificant thing. If you’re always thinking the world is falling apart, you may be catastrophizing the situations in your life. 

Catastrophizing is the act of assuming the worst-case scenario in a situation. This could look like thinking a customer will completely break off the business relationship if the wrong number of items are shipped to them.

Yes, it’s a big deal. Things should be correct. But, if they’re not, it’s not the end of the world, or relationship. You have the opportunity to fix it.

Understand the true importance of a situation. 

By reducing the severity you place on a situation, you reduce the stress in your life and those around you. You’re able to communicate clearly and with reason. Work on toning down the catastrophizing of situations.

4. Use your words to clarify:

Relationships get murky when they’re unclear. Words or expectations are left unsaid you no one knows where the other stands.

Be a leader/person who clarifies what they’ve said. Use your words to paint bright, descriptive pictures of the situations happening. 

By being clear, you help others know where you stand. This will draw people toward you.

5. Tell the truth:

The last piece I want to share is to tell the truth. This seems like common sense but how quickly do we slip to a little white lie to cover one of those catastrophic situations? (-; 

If you want to build great relationships, you have to tell the truth. You can’t hide behind white lies or even bigger lies. The truth will set you free. Speak it.