Effective communication is a somewhat esoteric concept that is frequently applied to business management. It can, however, easily apply to our personal lives as well.
Put simply, effective communication aims at improving our understanding of the emotional content (*taps head and does a bad Bruce Lee impersonation) behind any given information. Theoretically, this understanding makes us more empathic and thus better able to relate to our spouses, co-workers, employers and friends.
Effective communication, then, aims at fostering a deeper understanding between communicators, by creating a stronger emotional resonance.
Experts in the subject maintain that the first step towards becoming a more effective communicator (should you wish to, of course) is to become a better listener. You can do this by fully focusing on the speaker (as opposed to being distracted, or deliberately distracting yourself), not interrupting them and openly demonstrating an interest in what the speaker has to say.
The next step, maintains that the use of open body language (e.g. not crossing your arms) and emphasizing a point via your body (such as tapping your head to indicate thinking ahead) is also very important to effective communication.
Step three is to focus on and thus better manage, your stress. A stressed person, even if their outward demeanour seems pleasant enough, gives off a lot of anxiety, from body language to posture, so it is best to deal with your anxieties privately before dealing with others (where possible).
Of course, effective communication is largely emotion-centric as a concept and so the final point brought up by the article is to improve your own emotional awareness. Essentially, this is the understanding of yourself and what makes you tick. It sounds obvious, even easy, but the truth is that most of us don’t have a clue. If you find yourself entrenched in petty squabbles or constant bickering with your friends, spouse, family or colleagues, then there is a good chance that there is something deeper that is bothering you. With a greater emotional understanding of yourself, not only will you be able to avoid potentially stress-inducing situations, but you should also be able to recognize patterns in others that you have seen in yourself, allowing you to become more empathic and, ultimately, a better communicator.
Essentially, effective communication is all about communicating effectively. It is about improving your understanding of yourself and others around you, in order to live and work with other in a more harmonious way.