Building trust through effective communication

Effective communication is defined by various articles (#1, #2, #3, and more), and I challenge myself not to repeat them. I would like to give a different perspective on the matter. Since some of the articles focus on how to communicate better, ignoring the fact that people need effective communication for a critical purpose — improving their relationships and interactions with other people.

Ultimately you need to figure out what works best for you. These are just things that I have found helpful.

Positive attitude

Usually, when you interact with people, it somewhat related to your needs. Try to focus on communicating them positively, avoid other person’s flaws and mistakes as much as possible. Otherwise, they’ll feel attacked and criticized, thus naturally leading them to be defensive and even shutdown.

If you choose the other way around, it will be hard to have a collaboration. Any feedback won’t be acceptable, and information from their side won’t be shared.

Prefer the usage of “I” and focus on your specific demand positively (For example: “I need your help with a code review”). Avoid using blaming language, including using “you” and generalizations (such as always and never).

Be mentally present

Listen, the other person has something to say. Make your attention on him to understand what he’s saying. Be patient, don’t judge or be defensive — even if you don’t agree with him.

Understanding is not always enough; you should be there emotionally too. Try to see the situation from the speaker’s eyes and grasp his emotions about the subject.

Besides, be authentic, meaning you shouldn’t pretend something that you are not — that simple.

Eventually, when people feel heard, deeper connections can develop.

Always check the temper

Before you speak, try to gauge in which emotional state your listeners are. Have tact; it will help you deliver your message effectively. Otherwise, you’ll be that irritating person who no one wants to talk with.

Note that some people are gifted with high emotional intelligence; others have to work on themselves to achieve it.

no tact — pic: source

NO, is the answer

Identify when you don’t want to do something and reply with a justified “no”, say “yes” only when you mean it. Don’t do it if you look to avoid upsetting the other person since you’ll end up upsetting yourself.

Every “no” can be justified politely — people respect and trust others who stand up for themselves.

Reject victim mentality

Acting in a victim role is about denying any responsibility for your actions. You choose not to do something about your situation deliberately. And people know to recognize it.

By doing so, you’ll miss opportunities that could help you become better as people will refuse to collaborate with you.

As humans, when things get complicated, we naturally raise our walls and go into a pessimistic mental state — leading us to start complaining about something, anything. Try to resist the urge. Nevertheless, if you find it challenging — choose people you trust, and even then, don’t exaggerate.

Be wise, not right!

Pick your battles carefully. Don’t try to win arguments, ignore things.

To become a better person, save your energy for what matters to maximize your well-being.

Don’t assume anything; be slow to judge. It is impossible to read people’s minds and understand what they ponder about. Try not to overthink about assumptions; usually, they come from your insecurities and toxic beliefs, by that you’ll free your mind (and weaken them for next time).

Treat others with respect

Maintain proper eye contact when talking to each other. Keep in mind that eyes can show emotions without saying a word, so reflect a positive attitude.

Furthermore, if you tend to be sarcastic, duly note that it delivers contempt, resentment, and passive-aggressive. It is an “acquired taste” of humor, hence choose your audience carefully and use it wisely. That being said, as a role of thumb, your best option is not using it.

Besides, I’ll state the obvious, don’t insult people — they are more sensitive than they appear to be.

Lastly, for both cases, don’t accept this kind of behavior from anyone.

Be articulate

One of the optimal ways for improving your ability to express yourself is through writing (and a lot). While thinking about what you are going to write, you usually brainstorm, organize your thoughts into subjects, extracting the essence from them. And finally, picking the proper wording (as the saying goes — “The only kind of writing is rewriting”).

Keep in mind, practice makes it better — so, write as much as you can. It will take time and eventually be fruitful.

Apologize with actions

Dealing with people’s feeling can sometimes ‘hurt’ them, you’ll find yourself in the position you regret your actions, and when you do, apologize.

sorry — pic: source

Saying ‘sorry’ isn’t enough, be specific. Make sure you won’t repeat the same mistake. Share your progress, it will help the other side understand your steps.

Final words

Pay attention to how people respond to you; those who react positively are the ones to collaborate more with. For others, you should adjust your behaviors for reaching out. Either way, creating trust through communication.

Senior software engineer. Love to ask questions and write about their answers.