6 Tips For Effective Communication
In a caregiving environment, communication is key. The client needs to communicate their needs, desires and goals to their caregivers and the caregiver needs to be able to communicate what they are doing or plan to do to help the client. But of course, communication isn’t only about speech. It includes many different aspects, all of which must be done properly for communication to not end up becoming mis- communication. Effective or mindful communication requires the following:
1. Active Listening:
Both parties need to give each other undivided attention. Listen keenly and to avoid misunderstandings, seek clarification. People want to see and know that they are being heard and treated as important. Concentrate on one conversation at a time and do not, if possible, answer your mobile when speaking with someone face to face.
2. Mind your body language:
Show that you are paying attention by maintaining eye contact with the other person. Have open body language to ensure that you appear accessible. Crossing arms gives off the message that you’re inaccessible or at odds with the other party.
3. Know who you are talking to:
Choose your language according to the person you are talking to. Formal language when communicating official matters is fine, but doesn’t really work well in a caregiving arrangement. It can come across as pompous, but more importantly may be difficult for the other party to understand. Obviously, acronyms and “SMS speak” should be avoided, particularly when the conversation is between two people with vast age gaps. What makes sense between millennials may sound like gibberish to an older person.
4. Be brief and specific:
Whenever possible, be brief and specific whilst ensuring that the message you pass across has enough information for the other person to understand. When responding to written communication such as e-mail, please craft your response after reading through the entire e-mail to ensure you fully understand what the email is about. And in this age of cybercrimes, do not give too much information, unnecessarily.
Before you send your messages, proof read what you have written to ensure that mistakes are eliminated and the words pass the message intended. Remember tone is not communicated well through email.
5. Be positive:
Have a positive attitude and smile often. Smiles are contagious and when you smile, people will respond positively to you. Smile even when talking on the phone, the other person will feel your positive attitude.
6.Respect your audience:
Rude or discriminatory speech can shut down conversation quite quickly. It is important to extend the same courtesy to everybody that you would like them to extend to you. That means not talking down to the other person and thinking before you speak. Speaking in a hurry can lead to problems in communication, so it’s better to take the time to think through things first.
Communication is an essential part of the care process, but also for everyday life. At HomeCare Australia we strive for meaningful and effective communication with our clients and amongst ourselves. We hope that these tips will help you and your clients, practice effective communication so you can have meaningful conversations with everyone you communicate with.