Interpersonal communication skills are used in everyday situations and can have an impact on a child’s course of life. This is why they have to be fully and adequately developed. If a child is properly trained, he will grow to become a good conversationalist who knows how to politely and effectively initiate, maintain, and end a discussion. Training should start at home and at a time when the child can already grasp and communicate a message. As a parent, here are the things that you can do.
- Have conversations with your child daily. Daily conversations with your child will give you an opportunity to demonstrate proper interpersonal communication. He will pick on how you speak, how you choose your words, and how you deliver your message. And because you have such an influence on your child, you need to be a positive model. Make sure that you are communicating in an effective and courteous manner all the time. Take note not only of how you communicate with your child and other family members but also with people outside your immediate family such as the grocery cashier, the taxi driver, the lady neighbor, and the newspaper boy.
- Encourage your child to talk. Hearing your child talk will make you aware of the areas that need to be improved. Make sure to always initiate a discussion that will get him talking, especially if your child is aloof and shy. Ask, for instance, about his day at school, the people he talked with, and the rewards he got. When your child talks, listen and look intently. Does he always look away? Does he use inappropriate words? Does he speak in a rush? Address the issues, but don’t bring them up in the presence of other people to avoid embarrassment.
- Advise your child to never interrupt conversations. Stress that interrupting conversations is never a good thing to do. Tell the child to wait until it is appropriate for him to get into a discussion. The only time he should talk is when the speaker has finished speaking and when he has been acknowledged.
- Remind him to listen well. Tell your child that a good conversationalist is someone who doesn’t only speak well but who also listens very intently. Emphasize that listening to other people is an indication of respect. Also, tell him to let the other people end their speech before speaking. Constantly butting in not only cuts off someone else’s train of thoughts but is also outright disrespectful.
- Encourage your child to speak clearly. Explain to your child that he should speak in a clear manner if he wants to effectively send his message across. Discourage him from speaking too fast. Check his grammar as well. See to it that he constructs his sentences well, uses appropriate words, and enunciates words properly.
It is also important to discuss nonverbal language. Emphasize that nonverbal language is very much part of a conversation and sends messages as clearly as verbal language does. Make sure he knows that grimacing, yawning, and exhibiting similar behaviors while someone is talking are inappropriate. Educate him about the importance of eye contact as well. Explain that looking in another direction while conversing with someone is a display of disinterest and disrespect.