effective communication

We start communicating from the instant we take our first breath. Our first cry is a communication to our mother, and to the world, that we have arrived. And till our last breath, we are in constant communication. Yet, good communication is much more than mere words. It is an art, and effective communication has dimensions that are larger than what is spoken. The ability to communicate affectionately with one and all is a skill worth possessing. 

See Others’ Viewpoints

Communication is a dialogue, not a monologue. We must respect the viewpoints of the person or persons we are communicating with. Communication is the art of being sensitive and sensible at the same time. Some people are too sensitive, thereby losing their sensibleness. Their speech lacks clarity and is inarticulate. And there are people who make perfect sense, but they are insensitive. They say the correct things, but they are not aware of the emotional response of the audience. We need that beautiful combination and balance of sensitivity and sensibleness.

Conflict arises in the first place because both sides stick to their stand and to resolve, both need to rise above and look at the larger picture which is possible only when there is an exchange of views. Therefore, dialogue is an important tool for resolving conflicts.

Steer Clear of Anger

Suppose you see someone breaking some rules. If you get angry and frustrated on seeing this, you are only making yourself miserable. Instead, keep the mind calm and steady, and educate the other person about it. If they are not willing to understand and realise it, then you need to ignore it and move on. Will that person improve or understand the mistake by you losing your peace of mind? No. You cannot improve someone else by getting angry at them. You only ruin your peace of mind.

When you are angry, nobody wants to hear it even though you are saying the correct thing, Your communication does not have the impact it ought to have had.

Your mental state is heard by your listeners before the words. A calm state of mind, and a smile, will conquer the most difficult of people.

Humour is Your Best Friend 

Humour is not just about words: reading and repeating jokes. It is the lightness of your being that brings out authentic humour. This lightness comes up with taking life itself not too seriously, having a sense of belongingness with everybody (including those who are not friendly), practicing yoga and meditation, having unshakable faith in the Divine, being in the company of those who live in knowledge and are humorous. Humour should be coupled with care and concern. Mere humour without care and concern or appropriate action can irritate those who come to you with serious problems.

Over Explanations Are An Overkill

In head to head communication, you talk. In heart to heart communication, you communicate. Almost all relationships break down due to too much talking and explaining about oneself. “I am this way. Don’t mistake me. Don’t misunderstand me.” If you keep silent when required, everything will work out much better. Don’t explain things of the past, brood over them, or ask for explanations. When the heart speaks and the heart listens, harmony is produced. 

It’s Not Just About What You’re Saying – Communication Is Beyond Words

All of us have experienced at one time or the other, an amazing phenomenon. Whether in one-to-one communication, or in addressing a huge audience, something intangible moves people more than the words. We try to rationalise it by attributing it to charm, charisma, presence, body language, etc. 

Real communication is beyond words. If you are firmly established in the zone of silence, if your mind is calm, you will find yourself suddenly being able to influence individuals, groups, and masses. What a single glance can convey, a thousand conversations cannot. It is not only what you are saying, or how correct you are, that is important. Making the other person understand what you want to convey matters much and is the key skill behind all successful communication.

To Be Heard, We Must First Listen

Most people are not good listeners. The single most important skill in the art of good communication is the skill of listening; listening not just to words, but also to feelings and expressions. Observe infants. They listen to expressions and gestures. Even without understanding the words, they communicate with you. Somewhere in the journey of life, we have lost this ability. Let’s make an attempt to regain it.


  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

    Global Humanitarian. Spiritual Leader. Peace Ambassador

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values which collaborate on humanitarian initiatives worldwide. Sri Sri’s work includes armed conflict resolution, U.S. Veteran PTSD relief, prisoner rehabilitation, addiction treatment, poverty alleviation and human rights advocacy. He developed a powerful breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) that makes use of the relation between breath and emotions by including specific rhythms of breath that harmonize the body, mind and emotions and help individuals find relief from stress. His programs have reached an estimated 370 million people in 155 countries.