Do you sometimes feel like you are speaking, but whoever you are speaking to is not getting your message? Maybe it goes over their head or they simply nod or mumble so it is painfully obvious they aren’t listening?

And the bigger question is, are you guilty of doing the same thing?

There are a couple of easy fixes you can start practicing right now to make a change.

When you are listening to someone, try to be still and focused on the person who is speaking. Limit your distractions, lay your phone face down, don’t look around at televisions or other people or anything else. Try to focus.

Periodically, summarize or paraphrase what the person is saying. It’s simple to say, “so you are saying…” or “am I hearing you right, …”.

In communication, it is important to understand who you are communicating with. In public speaking we say, know your audience. This is equally important in communication. Bear in mind, men use wayyyy fewer words per day than women. If I am communicating with a man I will keep my message clear, short, and succinct. When I tell the same story to my best girlfriend or my mom, it will be longer, more descriptive, and with a lot more details!

If you are in a conversation with someone who speaks slowly, or is nervous, or uses long descriptions then remind yourself to be patient with them. Focus on what they are saying, don’t get distracted, summarize what they are sharing with you, give a nod and other validation, and see how much better your conversations get!