In the eagerness to present your own point of view, you will often forget to listen to what the other person is saying. You usually arrange your arguments and are eager for your turn to speak. You haven’t really heard what the other person said at all, and this failure is reflected in your responses. Use these nine steps on how to improve communication by listening and reacting.

Stop and Listen

It’s fun to one-up each other in the big fish story, not so much fun when the speaker is trying to communicate a painful episode in life or funny moments in buy essay and you’re ready with your own story about how much worse circumstances have been for you. Moving the conversation over from the speaker to yourself doesn’t help the troubled mind and only causes a breakdown in communications. Don’t move on until the speaker is ready to stop talking and start listening.

Scan for Misinterpretation

What you say is often interpreted by how you say it. You use a different tone when talking to children and when talking to adults. Your tone may change when talking to someone in a professional capacity, an authoritative position, or your next-door neighbor. Be conscious of the tone of voice you use and whether it is conversational, encouraging communication, or if you are trying to establish yourself as an authority.

See when the Body Language is Lying

Body language is an important aspect of how to improve communication. Whether you know it consciously or not, you’re always reading body kinetics. Here are some common things to look for:

a) An aggressive stance will indicate to the listener that you’re not really going to listen to arguments. Poor eye contact will also symbolize you are not really listening or concerned.

b) Appear relaxed and use open-handed gestures. The more laidback you appear, the more confidence others will have in their ability to communicate with you.

Put Your Own Body Kinetics Skills to Work

Make it a habit to be a people watcher. When in public places, such as on a bus, in a shopping mall, or even in the workplace, observe the body language of the people around you. This will help you gain clues as to when you’re actually communicating and when the people you are talking to really aren’t paying attention.

Emphasize Your Points

Sometimes being laid back isn’t enough for presenting a persuasive argument. Maintain eye contact as much as possible. Lean forward when you are in a group and saying something in earnest. Use your hands for emphasis, such as a sweeping gesture to imply all-around inclusion or a fist driven into the palm to indicate something that needs to be done. People are all culturally driven, and the culture of a person provides different perspectives. What is polite and natural in one culture may not be perceived as such in another. For instance, downcast eyes in some societies can mean the person is trying to screen you out, whereas in other societies it means the person is trying to pay full attention. It can also mean the person with downcast eyes is simply shy.

Keep Your Biases at Home

You may not like what the other person is saying and disagree, but try to listen with an open mind. Evaluate internally the points the person is making before stating your objections. If you hear the person out, there’s a chance you’ll agree with some of the viewpoints, which is an initial step in good communications.

Release Tension

All good discussions should begin in a relaxed environment. Tensions appear when there are unresolved disagreements. Not only is there then a breakdown in communications, but everyone goes home angry or disgruntled. When things start to heat up, a little appropriate humor can help put the arguments more in perspective. A good laugh creates a bond everyone can share, reduces stress, and gives the efforts to communicate more leverage.

Be Confident

Even if you’re shy, you can deliver the message of confidence. Hold your head high, and don’t slink into your chair as though you’re not really sure you belong there. Maintain good body posture. When speaking, enunciate clearly and look at the people you are addressing. If you are in a group and groups overwhelm you, concentrate on looking at one person whom you feel relaxed around and gives you confidence. If that person is in the middle or back of the room, no one will ever know the difference.

Good communications depend on your receptiveness to what others are saying and on your own abilities to deliver your points well. Your non-verbal communications are as important as the words you speak, and your ability to listen is as important as your desire to speak. Accept that there will be differences of opinion, but those differences do not have to mean a breakdown in communications. These pointers will come in handy as you learn how to improve communication with friends, acquaintances, and peers.