Communication skills are the foundation of success in many aspects of life. A good communicator will be able to make a positive impression throughout their professional life as well as in social situations and personal relationships.
Improving your communication skills can help you advance in your career, improve relationships with friends and family and make it easier to build substantial contacts who can provide new opportunities.
Communication is about sending and receiving information. For this reason, it is essential to master the art of listening as much as speaking with confidence.
The Three Levels of Communication
Effective communication in the workplace is essential for leadership and for creating a good working relationship amongst colleagues. Mastering the skills of communication can make you more confident and inspire people to become confident in your leadership. To become successful in all aspects of life we must master the three levels of communication.
Self-communication is the first stage in all communication. The nature of your internal dialogue can project to others who you really are, how you think about yourself and how you think about others.
Internal communication is the way in which we talk to ourselves throughout the day. Positive internal communication can boost our confidence, encourage success and inspire others to trust us.
Negative internal dialogue can produce low self esteem which can result in procrastination and a negative view of our selves. When a person has a negative self-image, it is noticed by others in our non-verbal communication.
2. One-on-one communication
When communicating with another person it is essential that the conversation is a two-way dialogue. One on one communication fails when it becomes a one sided rhetoric.
one-on-one communication is about building trust. It is important to listen to the other person before you begin to reply. Be direct in your response. Remain courteous at all times.
3. Public/group communication
A skilled public speaker can transform a leader from good to great. Public speaking is the art of speaking before a crowd and making everyone understand, become inspired and follow your direction.
Great public speakers use powerful body language, can tell a good story, understand their audience and influence the opinions of others.
Essential Skills of the Most Effective Communicators
Effective communication is required in all aspects of life. Here are the major skills that are employed by the best communicators. These skills are an advantage within the workplace as much as in personal relationships. Knowing the skills that you need can make you aware of which aspects of your communication needs improvement.
1. Listen Carefully
Be aware of more than just the words which are spoken. Listening involves more than just hearing. When you listen, you are aware of non-verbal messages which accompany the words. Good listening skills are as essential in communicating as making your own voice heard.
2.Consider Other Peoples Emotions
Emotional Intelligence is a skill required by good communicators. You should be aware of the times when people require sympathy and when someone should be congratulated. Make others feel valued by asking their opinion and using first names when it is appropriate.
To communicate well, you need to be able to view a situation from another person’s point of view. You should not be judgemental or attend a conversation with preconceived beliefs. Try to understand the other person’s perspective and why they may hold certain views.
A highly effective method of communication is encouragement. Offering praise lets someone know that they are valued, welcome and wanted. A person who feels valued will offer more in return.
5. Make Use Of Humour
People who make use of humour are often seen as more charismatic an draw people towards them. When we laugh, our body will release endorphins which help to reduce levels of anxiety and stress. Humour is a great way to break the ice and gain affection, but humour should always be appropriate to the situation and not used at the expense of others.
6.Treat Everybody Equally
Successful communication means treating everyone on an equal basis. Ensure that everyone is aware of what you are saying to them and encourage feedback for clarification. Avoid patronising people or talking behind the back of others as this can develop negative feelings.
7. Resolve Conflicts Effectively
When conflicts arise it is important to resolve them as soon as possible. Using negotiation and mediation skills, you can calm a situation and ensure that both sides are satisfied. Try to understand both sides of an argument without judgement. Allow people to make use of you to help them talk to each other.
8. Maintain A Positive Attitude
People often avoid people who are seen to be constantly miserable. By remaining positive and friendly with people, you will encourage them to engage with you more often. It is important to remain optimistic even when problems arise. A positive attitude means learning from you mistakes and not dwelling on them. People will recognise your positive outlook and respond to you positively.
Some situations may require communicating under stressful situations. When communicating with others you should remain calm and focused to avoid stress and conflict. Learn techniques for avoiding stress and use them to calm your mind when required.
10.Don’t Complain Too Often
There are occasions when it is required to complain about a particular issue which is bothering or upsetting you. When you find it necessary to complain, ensure that you are calm and find ways to offer a positive outlook. People are not drawn towards whiners or constant complainers. Try to avoid complaining too often as it will give a negative impression to others.
Essential Communication Skills for a Successful Leader
Strong communication skills are an essential part of many professional workplaces. If you are looking to improve your career prospects, you will benefit from ensuring that your communication skills are of a high standard.
A good leader is someone who can inspire action from their communication. Without these essential skills, you will not be able to motivate others or make your ideas fully understood.
When communicating, try to ensure that the other party has a complete understanding of what you are trying to say. This means speak with purpose and be specific.
You should avoid using lazy phrases that are essentially meaningless. People are often non-specific on purpose as this allows them room to manoeuvre. But this leaves both parties without a fixed settlement.
Lazy phrases to avoid include saying things such as :
..as soon as possible…
..a reasonable number…
2.Offer a positive alternative
It is common for leaders to feel as though their role is to tell people what they should not be doing. What is more helpful is to offer a desired positive outcome.
Instead of offering only suggestions of what you do not want, praise the positive things that have been accomplished and encourage more of the same to develop.
Sometimes a conversation can get delayed for too long until after it is required. It is important to act quickly if an important conversation is required. Try to be prompt in arranging to speak to someone when an issue is noticed.
Generally, a conversation should be held within 48 hours of an incident. If it is not possible at this time, then ensure that a notice is sent out that the conversation is necessary.
4.Don’t be disrespectful
Healthy debates are necessary in a successful business. It can be difficult however to maintain an atmosphere of respect when rebutting someone’s ideas. Disrespectful rebuttals can cause hurt feelings and make discussion uncomfortable.
Changing the way that you phrase your reply can make the difference between respect and insult.
There are some words which are seen as containing a negative implication once used that causes confrontation rather than agreement. Negative words and phrases include:
“..good thinking, but..”
“..that is correct, however..”
Other words imply respect, encouragement and adjustment rather than a blunt disregard for their opinions. Positive words and phrases include:
“..great idea and we can also..”
5.Consider tone and body language
The words that you say are only part of the communication that other read from you. Your tone of voice along with your body language helps to reflect a positive or negative attitude.
By keeping a positive internal dialogue, you will project the required outward impression. People will respond to you in the way you approach them in your physical attitude as well as in the words that you wish to communicate.
6. Offer undivided attention
Whenever you communicate with someone it is important for them to feel as though you are focusing all of your attention towards them.
When you offer your undivided attention it ensures that the person that you are communicating with feels valued. You should make everyone feel as though their opinion is as important as anyone else and that they are important enough to be heard.
The art of focusing attention includes body language as well as listening. You need to maintain eye contact and position yourself so that your body is not showing a distraction elsewhere.
7. Be direct but respectful
It is important, to be honest and make your point clear during communications in the workplace. The difficulty is in remaining respectful whilst pointing out your observations.
Being respectful means that opinions and emotions should be put to one side and the conversation should remain based on facts. Feedback is essential in leadership. But doing it correctly can make the difference between a professional relationship and an ongoing feud.
How to Improve Your Communication Skills
We now understand the importance of good communication within our personal and professional lives. Improving the following skills will help you develop successful communication within your relationships and in the workplace.
Once you improve your ability to communicate, begin interactions and make your points clearly you will find that you have more interesting conversations, find more opportunities become available and have a wider social network.
1. Learn to use body language
Your body language displays many communication triggers which are not necessarily included in what you say or what you write. Non-verbal cues can often reveal more about your mood and personality than you would like to think.
Common non-verbal communication which should be addressed includes:
- Don’t fold your arms. Folding your arms gives the impression of not being open to discussion.
- Take your hands out of your pockets. You should look engaged and not despondent while engaging in conversation.
Don’t divert your attention. When listening to someone speak, show them that you are listening. If you get distracted by a message on your phone or are not looking up from your work, you do not appear to be giving the speaker the respect they deserve.
Hold yourself confidently. Learning how to make eye contact and holding your body well is an important skill especially during interviews.
Practice power poses. By adopting a power pose, you demonstrate confidence to your listener. This is especially helpful if talking before a crowd.
Learn to read other people’s body language. By reading how other people are communicating through non-verbal cues, you can become a more intelligent communicator.
2. Reduce filler
Filler-speech is the many ‘um’s, ‘ah’s and ‘like’ that is included in daily conversation. By removing this filler content, you will appear more confident and convincing. This filler content is usually used to lubricate awkward silences. But these silences seem much more significant to you than to others. By pausing before you continue, relaxing before you speak you can make your point clearly.
3. Be prepared for small talk
There are many occasions throughout your working day or personal life when small talk is required. Small talk is the way people become familiar with each other and can often develop into substantial conversations. These conversations may lead to ongoing friendships or business relationships.
Finding an appropriate topic of conversation may seem difficult during awkward silences between people who hardly know each other. This is why it is important to have a small talk plan.
The FORD technique is one way to introduce a topic to someone who you have recently met. Think of a few questions from each of the following categories to start up a conversation.
By finding common ground, you will find it easier to continue building up a lasting friendship . You may be talking to someone that can have a huge impact on your future plans
4. Tell a story
Including a story within a presentation can help make the content more interesting and easier to relate to. Stories are shown to activate our brains in a positive way, making your message more memorable and appealing.
Learning the skills of telling a good story can help keep your audience engaged.
5. Ask questions
One of the most important skills in conversation is remaining engaged. You can demonstrate that you are paying attention to the other person by clarifying a point as they are mentioned by the person that you are talking to.
By asking questions on a regular basis or repeating the last few words that the person has said, you will remain engaged in the conversation. This will help prevent your mind from drifting or from mishearing key points.
Asking questions are also great ways of making small talk during awkward silences.
6. Remove distractions
When communicating with others, ensure that you are not distracted by what is going on around you. It can seem very rude to the other person if you are looking at your phone while they are talking to you. Find ways to conclude your conversation politely if you need to answer a message or call which is urgent or needs attention.
7. Consider the audience
Whenever you begin talking, remember who you are talking to. You will need to adjust what you say depending on whether you are talking you your co-workers, your boss or customers of the business.
The best communicators get their message across by considering the audience. Amending your talking style and content can help you provide a clearer communication. You should learn to vary your style of talking depending on whether you are talking to children, professionals, family or elderly people.
8. Don’t wander
When trying to get your message across to someone, you need to get to the point as quickly as possible. You should aim to say what you mean with as little detours as possible in your communication.
Both written and spoken communication requires you to be brief and concise to avoid the other person getting confused, bored or lose interest.
BRIEF: This is an acronym which can help you produce more effective communication. This rule is commonly used for email messages but can be adapted to any form of communication. It stands for:
The 7 Cs of communication: When communicating, it may be helpful to remember the 7 Cs rule. Your communication should be:
9. Become more empathetic
Effective communication includes understanding the person that you are communicating with. Practising empathy means that you should always try to see things from the point of view of other people in every situation. This will make it less difficult to react to conflicting arguments when they arise.
Empathy is an essential communication skill to learn. You will be able to understand things which people leave unsaid as much as what they are really saying. By knowing how a situation may be affecting another person, you are more likely to provide an effective response that can be agreed upon.
10. Pay attention to what the other person is saying
The most important of all communication skills is the ability to listen. Try not to jump in with what you have got to say before the other person has finished speaking. Pay attention to what they say then respond to what they have said.
When you pay attention and listen carefully it will let the other person know that you respect their view. You may not agree but you need to provide the courtesy of listening. Then when you respond and the other person is more likely to listen to you.
You can easily develop your communication skills for leadership with the help of these great books.
Republished by Blog Post Promoter