10 Tips to Improve Communication Skills
By communicating with each other, we express our views and thoughts and also understand others. The interaction could be verbal or non verbal. While some people are born with good communication skills others need to work on them to improvise their skills. Interacting with another individual or a group, making presentations, giving public speeches, negotiating large deals, persuading a team, or mailing a client across the world, whatever be the method of communication, it needs to be effective, clear and concise. If you are good at communication then you will automatically own problem solving skills. Let us look at some of the ways it improve communication skills:
1. Listening: Some people think if they are fabulous speakers then they are good at communication, forgetting that listening is a very key factor in communication. And unless you are a great listener you cannot be a great communicator too. To be a good listener takes genuine interest in other peoples’ view points and perceptions, avoid distractions, make notes if you are unable to remember all that you listen, don’t interrupt another person while they are speaking, listen to them till they have finished without jumping into conclusions about what they might say. These are some of the practices you can adopt to become a good listener.
2. Read: Reading helps you to understand a language, the grammar, the way sentences are formed, helps you acquaint yourselves with jargons, opens up your mind to new perspectives, helps you learn new things, increases your creativity, and also enables you to be an interesting speaker. Sharing views with people you would like to have conversations with or just for the pure pleasure of your personality development, whatever be the reason, reading definitely brings you the benefits and improves your communication skills.
3. Watch Your Body Language: We not only speak verbally but also non-verbally. By understanding or reading a person’s body language such as their tone, gestures, eye contact, facial expressions, etc you can decipher their true intentions or message. Body language helps you improve your understanding and communication by mapping others’ words with their body signals as it is believed that body language gives out what truly goes on inside of us. However, it is important to keep in mind that body language can also be influenced by various cultures.
4. Questioning Right: Asking questions is a crucial part of communication as it helps you understand the topic or point or matter clearly. It enables the exchange of information between people. Some of the various types of questions are open and closed questions, rhetorical questions, leading questions, funnel type, probing questions etc. Questioning right and also listening intently will help you while communicating and enhances your comprehension.
5. Understanding the Basics of Communication: What is the communication process? A communication process or a cycle is applicable to all situations and to everybody. It involves steps and by understanding the process, you can figure out your strengths and areas of improvement in communication. You can avoid the communication loopholes and make the process effective. The communications cycle involves: A goal – encoding the message – transmitting the message – receiving the message – decoding or understanding the received message – providing feedback or responding to the sender.
6. Negotiation: There maybe situations where you may have to negotiate with another person or group to meet your goals and it is quite possible that the other person or group may also try to win the negotiation. Effective negotiation occurs when you listen well to others needs and perspectives; talk with an open mind, direct your interaction towards a win-win solution rather than trying to win at the other’s expense.
7. Making Notes: Sharing information or circulating the minutes of the meeting is one way to remember all points discussed and track them to closure. Prepare an agenda well before the meeting so that people can come prepared for the meeting, and everyone’s time is better utilized. Assigning owners for action items and informing them helps not only get the work done but also saves time in co-ordination.
8. Public Speaking: Addressing an audience requires preparation of the content to be presented either orally or by projecting the information on a screen. Be confident and make eye contact with the audience. Speaking slowly but clearly will ensure the audience are able to understand your message. Too much data or too many statistics may spoil your presentation. It is important you focus on the needs of the audience.
9. Receiving and Giving Feedback: Feedback forms a key role in communication. It helps the sender and the receiver improvise their communication or work. Being fair in your judgment also helps in enhancing working relationships and communicating further in a better way. A positive attitude towards feedback can get you that much nearer to success.
10. Conflict Resolving: Conflicts are a natural part of interaction and working relationships. If managed badly, conflicts can blow up businesses and profitable deals or relationships. Communicating in a polite but firm manner, focusing on resolving the conflict instead of focusing on the individual or group, exploring facts rather than basing decisions on assumptions etc are some of the ways communication can help resolve conflicts.