Efficacious and powerful communication proficiencies are fundamental to success in many phases of life. Efficient communication helps us to understand a person or situation and empowers us to solve differences, erect reliance and respect, and originate atmosphere where imaginative ideas, problem solving, affection and caring can flourish. As simple as communication seems, much of what we try to communicate to others—and what others try to communicate to us—gets misunderstood, which can cause conflict and frustration in personal and professional relationships.
Effective communication skills help us to connect better with members of family, friends and coworkers. Many jobs require strong communication skills and socially people with improved communication skills usually enjoy better interpersonal associations with friends and family.
It is no secret that good leaders are also good communicators. The best leaders have learned that effective communication is as much about accuracy as the words they speak and write. Unquestionably, communication and leadership are intricately knotted. How can we electrify, motivate or guide others if we do not communicate in a clear, credible, candid way……!?
Most people take their inter-personal communication skills for granted – until there is a breakdown in communication. Poor communication skills make accomplishing both personal and professional tasks and building relationships more difficult to accomplish.
Communication is a two way procedure so refining communication encompasses both how we send and receive messages. In the information age, we have to send, receive, and process enormous numbers of messages every day. But good communication is about more than just exchanging information; it is also about understanding the emotion or sentiment behind the information. It enables us to communicate even pessimistic or problematic messages without creating divergence or destroying trust.
While effective communication is a learned skill, it is more effectual when it is spontaneous rather than methodic. It takes time and effort to develop communication skills and to become a proficient communicator. The more effort and practice we put in, the more instinctive and natural our communication skills will become. Therefore, one has to cultivate below mentioned skills to have strong communication capability.
Learn to Listen
Evaluating another person’s feelings, not just the meaning of the words, can help us to understand what they actually mean. Grasping the feeling behind the words that are coming out of the mouth of the other person will enable us to respond better and address those moods. While listening, we should focus on the speaker and show our interest. Listening is not the same as hearing; learn to listen not only to the words being spoken but how they are being spoken and the non-verbal messages sent with them. We must use the techniques of clarification and reflection to confirm what the other person has said and avoid any confusion.
Empathy is attempting to see things from the point-of-view of others. When communicating with others, we should not be biased by prejudiced ideas, instead view circumstances and responses from the other person’s perception. If apposite, we must offer our personal standpoint lucidly and honestly to avoid chaos.
We should offer words and actions of encouragement, as well as praise, to others. We should make other people feel welcome, wanted, valued and appreciated in our communication. We must try to ensure that everyone involved in an interaction is included through effective body language and the use of open questions.
Keep it Simple
We should not beat around the bush and confuse clarity with rudeness. Instead of saying the same thing from three different angles, we should be very clear in sending across the message in as few words as possible. Perhaps this was the inspiration behind the character limit of Twitter.
One of the best ways to instantly connect with people is to admire them. If being too direct is not proper, we should indicate a few indirect statements here and there. Either approach can be equally as potent because everyone reacts well to approbation.
When we smile at people, we communicate that we like them and their presence brings us happiness. Smiling at them will cause them to subconsciously want to smile back at us which will instantaneously build rapport between the two of us. We should just make sure that our smile is sincere.
Eye contact communicates to the others that we are not only interested in them and what they have to say, but that we are also trustworthy. As a result, people will naturally want to pay more attention to us and what we have to say.
Laughing can help relieve stress and anxiety. We should not be scared to be clever or funny, but humour should be appropriate to the situation. By utilizing the proper humour we will be perceived as more charismatic. We must use the sense of humour to break the ice.
We should prepare well before we communicate. This may not hold true for our day-to-day communications but it definitely holds true for even moderately important communications. We have seen that star presenters are very relaxed while communicating with their audience. This does not mean that they have not burned their midnight oil preparing for the presentation. In fact, on the contrary, they are the ones who spend most time preparing for the communication. This is very significant in an age where our electronic communication habits have badly impacted our effective spoken and written communication skills. We should not try to do too many of these things at the same time – we will probably get frustrated, give up and not do any of them. We must select and work on one idea at a time until it becomes a part of the way we communicate. Then, one by one, incorporate the other ideas that we find relevant to improve our communication skills.
Mind the say-do gap
Our behavior is our single greatest mode of communication, and it must be congruent with what we say. If our actions do not align with our words, there is trouble. And it can turn into big trouble if not corrected swiftly and genuinely. Rule of thumb: it is better to say nothing or delay our communication until we are sure that our actions will ring true.
To conclude, if we take the time to develop these communication skills, we will dramatically improve our ability to connect with people from all walks in life. As Lee Lacocca rightly said, “You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.” Communication skills lead to new opportunities. Our entire life will go much smoother if we take the time to improve the way we interact with others by developing better communication skills. This ability will open up an abundance of new openings that would not have been available otherwise. That is the sovereignty of effective communication skills. Effective communicators start by collecting information and then, through continued dialogue, develop understanding and ultimately, gain insight which they use to make better decisions and to guide their actions. More effective communicators express their ideas clearly, learn from the people with whom they interact, are generally able to resolve conflicts more efficiently and, more often than not, build better relationships, both personally and professionally. Thankfully, like all skills, with the right attitude and practice, our ability to communicate more effectively can continuously be improved.