Not only can having effective communication skills help you succeed in your job, but they can also help you improve your relationships and achieve true happiness in all that you do. When your communication skills are poor, you will suffer personally as well as professionally, and everything you do will be more difficult than is necessary.
Some people believe that communicating well is a talent when, in reality, it is a skill, just like driving, riding a bike, or creating a spreadsheet. You CAN learn to be a better communicator when you develop and practice the skills that are involved in this process.
The Skills Necessary for Effective Communication
Communication is not just one skill. It is actually a combination of many smaller tasks and processes, all of which can be learned and honed with practice and patience. If you want to improve your communication efforts, here are the eight skills you can start practicing today.
One of the easiest ways to communicate more effectively is by being a better listener. Practice active listening in all your interactions. Pay attention to the person talking, making eye contact with them. Ask questions to help you understand what they said or asked. Listening will help you know what others need and want while teaching you new knowledge and skills.
#2. Understanding Non-Verbal Cues
Words are not the most essential part of communication. Paying attention to the gestures, posture, tone, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues from others will provide you with more meaning and context to what they are saying. Active listening helps, as it makes you aware of more cues.
#3. Being Friendly
If someone perceives you as hostile or negative, they are not likely to listen to or be open to what you have to say. A smile and a friendly tone go a long way toward improving your communication efforts. A nod to courtesy and friendliness in your written and verbal communications makes people more willing to engage with you in the future.
#4. Being Clear and Concise
Whether in written or spoken messages, it is crucial that you can state your point or idea with clarity and conciseness. Give people the information they need to know without rambling on or distracting with irrelevant details. It helps to plan out your message before you start talking or writing.
#5. Being Confident
How confident you are comes across in your message as well as your tone. When you are confident, people are more likely to trust you and think that you are credible and competent. Using your listening skills can effective non-verbal cues can help to communicate your confidence, as well.
#6. Showing Respect
When you convey respect to the other person, they are more likely to be open to you and your ideas. Paying attention to the other person, making eye contact, listening, showing empathy, and using proper grammar and usage all show that you respect the other person and care that they can understand your message.
#7. Being Open-Minded
Communication is about sharing information, and being open-minded means you want to learn more and understand others’ ideas and points of view. Rather than caring only about getting your message out there, you should be open to what others have to say, as well.
#8. Showing Empathy
While you may not always understand or agree with someone, you can respect that they are allowed to have ideas and perspectives different from your own. And you can acknowledge that you do not have the same background or experiences as them.
Each of these skills is something you can practice in your daily life that will help you to be a better communicator overall. Taking time to work on these regularly will improve your communication skills in no time.