New Year, New You: 10 Steps Toward Better Communication

Good Morning America
New Year, New You: 10 Steps Toward Better Communication

View photo

New Year, New You: 10 Steps Toward Better Communication (ABC News)

Advice from "Good Morning America" "Advice Guru," Liz Pryor:

Now that the holidays are over and a New Year is upon us, it is a perfect time to look anew at the relationships in our lives. 

Throughout the holidays, as families gathered and people were out-and-about, my inbox was flooded with inquiries about relationships on all fronts. People wondered how to deal with co-workers, how to handle family members and how to respond to that random shopkeeper or passer-by who had an unkind word.

With the struggling economy and shifting job market, much of what we once felt we could count on is now missing. Relationships with the people in our lives have clearly become the thing we rely upon for feelings of security and reliability.

Nearly all of the conflict I hear from people stems from some form of a lack of communication, a misunderstanding or an inability to connect the ideas they are trying to convey.

The good news? This can be remedied. We have the power to make the changes in our own lives.

Try these 10 tips to expand your communication skills and improve your relationships. The benefits have infinite value.

1. Take Control Where You Can. Remember what is true: we have no control over what other people say or do, but we do have control over how we choose to react, respond and engage.

2. Be Clear. If you expect to be understood, you must express yourself clearly. Make an effort to learn how to communicate to the best of your ability.

3. Be Proactive to Avoid a Misunderstanding. If you're unclear about what someone says, ask them to clarify in the moment. Don't wait for the misunderstanding, instead, catch it before it happens.

4. Remember the Golden Rule. Use yourself as the gauge for how what you are saying or doing may be received. Picture yourself on the receiving end of your comments or actions, and decide if that is indeed how you want to handle the situation.

5. Determine the Worth. Remember that none of us is exonerated from making a mistake. Consider forgiving a mild offense immediately and moving on. Your energy is precious and should not be wasted.

6. Be Honest With Yourself. If you find that conflict surrounds or follows you, acknowledge that the common denominator is you. You don't have to share that finding with anyone, just note it and make adjustments immediately.

7. Pay Attention to How You Are Received. What matters in communication is not what you intended, but how it is received. This is a common and tricky issue. If you find yourself constantly assuring others that you were well intended, you may be a person who needs to better connect how you mean to impact people with how you are actually impacting them.

8. Study Your Weaknesses. Knowing and acknowledging your own flaws in communication is key. Are you best with the written word, or prefer the open word? Know your strengths, but stay open to moving and improving your weaknesses.

9. Stay Committed. Commitment is the only guaranteed way to change the pattern of your own life and, in turn, make your relationships with others the best they can be. Commit to making some changes in the way you deal with and react to people. All of us could use some adjusting.

10. Be Alert. Most of the conflict with the people around us can be avoided, but not without you making the effort to see to it first. If we've heard it once, we've heard it one million times. Life is short, so make an effort to see where and how you can better communicate.

View Comments (11)

Recommended for You

  • Bernie Sanders Believes Bill Clinton Has Hit Below the Belt

    Sen. Bernie Sanders believes Bill Clinton’s attacks on him have been inaccurate, he told ABC News today. Sanders also pointed out that he has defended Hillary Clinton “against some unfair attacks” in the past, “but I felt that President Clinton said things that were just not accurate and I hope we…

    Good Morning America18 mins ago
  • Cat and Rat's Adorable Friendship Shatters Stereotypes

    Behold, the incredible tale of the Peanut the rat and Ranj the cat, an unlikely pair of best friends. "Peanut always wanted to be around Ranj, and she took a real liking to him," their owner, Maggie Szpot of Cedarburg, Wisconsin, told ABC News. Szpot explained she and her family first rescued…

    Good Morning America29 mins ago
  • Ferguson Sued by Justice Department Over Alleged ‘Racial Bias’ in Policing

    "The residents of Ferguson have waited nearly a year for their city to adopt an agreement that would protect their rights and keep them safe," Lynch said. "They have waited nearly a year for their police department to accept rules that would ensure their constitutional rights ... They have waited…

    Good Morning America37 mins ago
  • Twitter's Day of Reckoning Is Here With Earnings Report, User Numbers

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey struck a hopeful tone for the year ahead in a call today with investors as the social media company revealed its user base remained stagnant in the last quarter. Growing its number of monthly active users has been a challenge for Twitter. Dorsey reported today the site has…

    Good Morning America
  • 7 Not-So-Typical Valentine's Day Ideas

    With Valentine’s Day less than a week away, people will be scrambling for last-minute reservations and heading to convenience stores to get one of the few remaining boxes of chocolate that are still lying on the shelves. But, for others, Valentine’s Day means dates spent in cemeteries or naming…

    Good Morning America
  • 'American Crime Story': Cuba Gooding Jr., Malcolm-Jamal Warner Recall Recreating Bronco Chase

    Tuesday night's episode of the FX series "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" recreated the former football star's famous slow-speed Bronco chase from two decades ago.Cuba Gooding Jr. plays O.J. Simpson in the series, and he told ABC News that filming those scenes was really emotional…

    Good Morning America
  • How the Infamous Ford Bronco Chase Was Recreated for New O.J. Simpson Show

    The executive producer of "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" revealed that it took him more than a year to convince officials to allow him to close a highway in order to film Simpson's infamous Ford Bronco chase with the LAPD.

    Good Morning America
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Due Back in Port Tonight

    The Royal Caribbean cruise ship that was rocked by stormy weather is set to arrive back in port tonight, where it will be inspected by the Coast Guard. The ship, which left from the same port on Saturday and was due to head out on a week-long cruise to the Bahamas, was supposed to arrive sooner…

    Good Morning America
  • Chris Christie Formally Suspends Presidential Campaign

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally suspended his presidential campaign today. "I leave the race without an ounce of regret," the New Jersey governor wrote in a Facebook post announcing the news. The decision comes a day after the New Jersey governor came in a disappointing 6th place in New…

    Good Morning America
  • WWII Veteran Reunites With Long-Lost Love After 70 Years Apart

    After a 10,000-mile long flight from Virginia to Australia, a World War II U.S. army veteran finally reunited with his wartime girlfriend today after recently reconnecting online. For the first time in over 70 years, Norwood Thomas, 93, came face-to-face with Joyce Durrant Morris, 88, his…

    Good Morning America
  • Justin Bieber Says 'I Really Love' Hailey Baldwin

    People have been speculating about Justin Bieber’s relationship status with model Hailey Baldwin ever since he posted an Instagram photo of the two smooching to ring in the New Year. Justin hasn’t yet confirmed if their friendship has turned romantic, but he told GQ magazine that the two are quite…

    Good Morning America
  • New Video From Iranian State TV Appears to Show US Sailor Crying While Detained

    New video broadcast on Iranian state TV today appears to show a U.S. sailor crying while briefly detained by Iran in early-January. The video released by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network appears similar to footage aired at the time the sailors were detained, a U.S. Department of Defense…

    Good Morning America
  • Carole King's Landmark Album 'Tapestry' Was Released 45 Years Ago Today

    Today marks the 45th anniversary of the release of Carole King's classic album "Tapestry," which established the prolific singer-songwriter as a major solo star. Throughout the 1960s, King had churned out hit after hit for other artists with her husband and songwriting partner, Gerry Goffin, but…

    Good Morning America
  • Teresa Giudice Describes How She Survived Prison

    On Tuesday night, she shared with Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live" how she survived her 11 and a half months at the Federal Correctional Institution-Danbury, a minimum-security prison in Danbury, Connecticut. "I felt like I was dying, in reality, that's how I felt," the "Real Housewives of…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Family Feud' Contestant Speaks Out About Her Hilarious Repeated Answers

    In the greatest “Family Feud” fail to sweep the Internet, contestant Sheila Patterson's responses have gone viral with more than 1.3 million views as she struggles to come up with other ways to say “mother.”She continues to repeat answers already provided by her siblings, eventually driving host…

    Good Morning America
  • The Elderly Being Conned Into Trafficking Drugs

    Floridian Ralph Soles, 74, said he was caught transporting methamphetamine into New Zealand two years ago. “I lost a lot,” Soles said. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) announced today an investigation into the scam for the first time and…

    Good Morning America
  • Traveling 1-Year-Old Has Visited 12 Countries With Backpacking Parents

    Meet little Esmé Bayes, the 1-year-old world traveler. At just 10-weeks-old, she was off with her parents, Karen Edwards and Shaun Bayes, on her first trip to Singapore. “At 8 weeks old she went to Ireland but not sure I count that so much,” Edwards told ABC News.

    Good Morning America