Emotional awareness in communication is often misunderstood and seldom if ever discussed or taught. Feelings play a big role in communication. Emotional awareness, or the ability to understand feelings, will help you succeed when communicating with other people. If you are emotionally aware, you will communicate better. You will notice the emotions of other people, and how the way they are feeling influences the way they communicate. You will also better understand what others are communicating to you and why. Sometimes, understanding how a person is communicating with you is more important than what is actually being said.
Have you ever tried to hide your feelings? It’s pretty hard for most of us to do. That’s because emotions don’t lie. Instead of trying to hide or ignore your feelings, focus on becoming aware of your feelings and the feelings of those around you in order to be a better communicator.
You can improve your emotional awareness by focusing on these five skills:
- Consider other people’s feelings: One day, a coworker might tell you something personal that doesn’t seem important for you to know, or a supervisor might seem angry with you for no reason. To figure out why, think about what the other person is feeling. Consider any situations that may be affecting their emotions and how that might in turn affect what they say to you.
- Consider your own feelings: Just as other people’s’ feelings can affect the message they’re trying to send, your own feelings can get in the way of your communication as well. When you feel a strong emotion or feeling, pay attention to that emotion and try not to let it get in the way of your message. Both positive emotions, like happiness, and negative emotions, like anger, can get in the way of communication.
- Have empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to the feelings of someone else. Once you’ve learned to recognize another person’s feelings, you can go one step further and actually relate to those feelings.
- Operate on trust: Good communication requires you to build trust between yourself and the person with whom you’re communicating. You can earn the trust of others by sending nonverbal cues that match your words.
- Recognize misunderstandings: A misunderstanding happens when two people think they are on the same page about something, but in reality they are thinking two different things. Misunderstandings happen all the time, but emotional awareness can help you to avoid misunderstandings