10 Ways to Make Conversation Easier
People with speech and language impairments must often find ways to communicate more efficiently with their peers and co-workers. They are instructed by speech therapists to practice often, and we thought it would be helpful to share a list used by someone with a communication impairment to provide a better understanding of what they go through in order to communicate more effectively.
- Make sure all necessary information is provided so that a partner in speech understands what I am speaking about.
Example: If I am talking about “House of Cards” I need to make sure the listener knows that’s a TV show.
- Check my language partner’s facial cues to see how they are feeling and then take action on that information. As an example, if I notice a partner in speech looks confused, rather than labeling, ask clarifying questions.
- Think about how I am talking to a partner in speech and what reaction I would usually get. As an example, think about the tone of my voice and what feeling that tone engenders.
- Reflect on how my body language makes me feel, how I am feeling and if it’s wrong, modify it to show how I am feeling.
Example: Think about the meaning of body language and what message I am sending and other behaviors.
- Think about how I am acting through an unbiased observer. This is a combination of # 3 and 4. Remember this includes oral communication, body language, and other behaviors.
- Remember that I don’t know everything. This can make someone seem superior and cocky. So superior + cocky + communication impairment concerns make a person hard to like.
- Consider both my perspective and the other’s perspective to make a better decision. Both parties need to participate equally in a conversation.
- Keep a person’s background in mind, how a person’s background can affect a person’s perspective on life. Example, make sure not to speak about politics and religion because there can be personal emotional opinions.
- Keep in mind that things that happen to me are farther away from me and not as important as things/people that are close to me.
Example: make sure I am focused on the conversation and not on the background or things that can be distracting.
- Think about whether a person would be feeling if talking about something that they do not understand or care about and use that as a gauge for the length of a conversation.
When you read through this list you realize all of the things a person with a communication impairment must think about while talking. Obviously, someone with a speech and language disorder must work hard to communicate more clearly. We can help them by having a better understanding of how they must approach a conversation with us.