As dancers, we understand that communication is extremely important. Whether you are trying to coordinate a complex lift or determine a specific count, having a clear line of communication is a necessity. However, outside of the studio, communication with your peers can sometimes be difficult. Here are some of MTD favorite tips on how to improve communication with your peers which will benefit you in the studio and in life.

Put Away Technology

While technology does help improve communication in some facets, it hinders face-to-face communication. When you are communicating with someone in person, it is important that your technology (i.e. your phone) is put away. Not only does this allow you to be more focused on the conversation, but it also shows whoever you are communicating with a sign of respect.

Be the Listener

A key to being a good communicator is being a good listener. This means not interrupting anyone in conversation and being the individual that asks questions rather than responding to them. Becoming the “Listener” takes time and practice, but a good way to begin is by reflecting on communication situations and determine if you both spoke for an equal amount of time/shared an equal amount of information. If you seemed to dominate the conversation, it may be a sign that you need to work on listening skills.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

A part of good communication and healthy relationships means being straightforward in your conversations or not beating around the bush. If you are upset about something share openly that you are upset and why you are upset. If you need a favor, don’t preface your request but be direct. Having open lines of communication creates honesty and trust in a relationship.

Be Honest with Yourself

Being honest with yourself in regards to communication means recognizing your strengths and downfalls in communication. By acknowledging what your weaknesses are, you are able to attend to that weakness until it becomes a strength. Consider the following to reflect on: Do I truly listen to those around me? Does my body language show respect such as do I face the individual I am speaking with? Does my face indicate communication with the use of eye-contact and expressions? Do I communicate exactly how I feel?

Recognize Everyone’s Needs

The final and most important key to great communication is recognizing everyone’s needs as legitimate. Have you ever been in a conversation and you are thinking “why are they telling me this”? For the individual who was telling the story, they had a need to tell you the story. However, you did not have a need to hear the story. Situations like this can be difficult, but it is important to remember that your needs are just as legitimate as the needs of someone else even if expressed differently. So, by listening to this person you help tend to their need which shows respect and excellent communication.