We hear about communication from time to time. It really is a great deal to have good communication skills to succeed in personal as well professional life. A common mistake that a lot of people make while meeting someone new is entering into an “Interview Mode”. They bombard the other person with a series of questions which can be extremely uncomfortable.
Asking too many questions makes the conversation one-sided. When you ask a question, you are not sharing any information about yourself. All you are doing is demanding information from the other person. This leads to uncomfortable feelings at both ends. There is a lack of connection that is being built. It is important that both parties share as much information as possible so that to build a strong rapport and connection.
Benefits of Communication Skills
Some of the benefits of effective communication skills in personal as well as professional life are:
- Building trust
- Preventing or resolving problems
- Providing clarity and direction
- Creates better relationships
- Increases engagement
- Improves productivity
- Promotes team building
Types of Communication Skills
Communication is considered an important interpersonal skill globally. You have to interact and relate with people from all walks of life. There are three categories of communication:
Verbal – Verbal communication involves all the talking. It can be face-to-face, or on call. In this type of communication, your choice of words matters a lot.
Non-verbal – Non-verbal communication also referred to as body language involves visual signs visible through face-to-face communication or on a video call. It includes; facial expressions, eye contact, nodding, hand gestures, and the position of your body.
Written – Written communication is mostly in the form of emails, chats, or messages. This can undergo through various platforms.
How to Improve Communication Skills
There are loads of actionable tips to take help from to strengthen your communication skills.
1. Be Efficient with Your Speaking
The conversation is all about quality. Try to remove all types of filter words like “Uhm, Like, I Guess, Well, Uhhhh, You Know”. These words have no value in the conversation and mean nothing. This way you will sound more confident and sophisticated.
2. Use Pauses Instead of Filters
Don’t be afraid to take pauses instead of relying on filter words as a crutch. Pauses can be powerful and can emphasize different parts of the message.
3. Conversational Threading
Conversational threading is an ability to branch off different topics. If you can master this skill, you will be able to have endless conversations with just about anybody. Within every sentence you speak, there are multiple topics that you can branch off into.
Whenever a conversation dies, it is usually that there are no more topics to talk about that are interesting. So, whenever you get the opportunity to branch off into different topics, choose the one that you are interested in talking about.
It is necessary to give the opportunity to the other person to talk about various topics. If you don’t allow them topics to talk about, there will be a communication gap and conversation will eventually die. This skill comes with practice. The more topics you look into to branch off, the more you will notice the conversation.
4. Use Statements Instead of Questions
When you are making statements, you are sharing information about yourself. Pay attention the next time you hang out with your close friends, you will notice that the majority of the conversations are with statements. Once in a while, a question is thrown in as a natural step to initiate conversation. The large majority will still be statements.
There are a lot of different types of statements such as:
Story/Opinion Statement – a statement that tells a small story or shows your opinion on something.
Cold Read Statements – a great way to use statements with someone you just met. in simple words, it is an observation that you make about the other person.
Random Statements – they can range from anything about the things that are happening around you, observations, stories, random thoughts, and a lot more.
This brings a sense of creativity and spontaneousness to a conversation.
5. Make Communication a Priority
In order to excel and become an excellent communicator, prioritize learning communication skills by taking classes, reading books or magazines, and engaging with even more people. There are plenty of handbooks to help you in improving communication skills. But, the best communication skills come through experience.
6. Respect Your Audience
It is necessary to recognize that whatever you are communicating must not be centered on you. It is wise to care about the needs and respect the perspectives of those with whom you are communicating. One simple way to show respect is by paying attention to the communicator so that they feel heard.
7. Maintain Eye Contact
Regardless of the number, maintaining eye contact is an important way to communicate in an effective way. In one-on-one conversations and even in groups, maintaining eye contact brings credibility and care. Doing something as simple as eye contact can improve your communication skills.
8. Body Language
Apart from verbal communication, non-verbal communication also plays an important part in effective conversations. These visual signs indicate that the listener is understanding you or agrees or disagrees. On the other hand, the body language of a communicator also matters to make it more meaningful.
9. Avoid Judgement
The best communicators are the one that conversates without judging the other person. These judgments, whether right or wrong, can impact a conversation negatively.
10. Develop Active Listening
While communicating is an important part of the conversation, it also involves listening to some extent. The best communicators are always those that are active listeners. Being an active listener leaves the tension of what to respond to next.
Even if you are a great listener, there is always room for some more improvement. When you are listening actively, you must engage and involve in the conversation.
11. Avoid Assumptions
Assumptions can be a big reason for misunderstandings and conflicts. It is easy to assume what others want without having any real evidence.
12. Ask for Feedback
Honest feedback from a trustable person can improve your communication skills a lot. Feel no shame when asking for feedback. One must be willing to take feedback with the goal of having a better understanding of how you are getting along.
We can’t all have the same ability to communicate well. Some have the natural gift to communicate effortlessly while others struggle to try to make others understand them.
We can’t all have the same natural gift after all!