Effective communication skills are fundamental to success in many aspects of life. Many roles require strong communication skills. People with good communication skills also usually enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family.
Effective communication is therefore a key interpersonal skill and learning the way to improve your communication has many benefits. However, many of us find it difficult to understand where to start out. This page sets out the foremost common ‘problem areas’ and suggests where you would possibly focus your attention.
Four Key Areas for Improvement
There are generally four main areas of communication skills that the majority folks would had best to enhance. These are listening, non-verbal communication, emotional awareness and management, and questioning.
1. Learn to concentrate
One of the foremost common areas to wish improvement is listening.
We all have a bent to forget that communication may be a two-way process. We fall under the trap of ‘broadcasting’, where we just issue a message, and fail to concentrate to the response. Quite lot of the time, we aren’t really taking note of others in conversation, but brooding about what we decide to say next.
2. Studying and Understanding Non-Verbal Communication
Much of any message is communicated non-verbally. Some estimates suggest that this might be the maximum amount as 80% of communication.
It is therefore important to think about and understand non-verbal communication—particularly when it’s absent or reduced, like once you are communicating in writing or by telephone.
Non-verbal communication is usually thought of as visual communication but it actually covers much more. It includes, for instance tone and pitch of the voice, body movement, eye contact, posture, countenance and even physiological changes like sweating.
You can therefore understand people better by paying close attention to their non-verbal communication. you’ll also make sure that your message is conveyed more clearly by ensuring that your words and visual communication are consistent.
3. Emotional Awareness and Management
The third undersung area of communication is awareness of our own and other people’s emotions, and a capability to manage those emotions.
At work it’s easy to fall under the trap of thinking that everything should be logical, which emotion has no place. However, we are human and thus messy and emotional. None folks can leave our emotions at home—and nor should we attempt to do so, that’s to not say that we should always ‘let it all hang out’. However, an awareness of emotions, both positive and negative, can definitely improve communication.
This understanding of our own and others’ emotion is understood as Emotional Intelligence.
There is considerable evidence that it’s much more important to success in life than what we’d call ‘intellectual intelligence’.
Emotional intelligence covers a good range of skills, usually divided into personal skills and social skills. The private skills include self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation. The social skills include empathy and social skills all of those is weakened into more skills.
* Self-awareness consists of emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence.
* Empathy is that the ability to ‘feel with’ others: to share their emotions and understanding them. It includes understanding others, developing them, having a service orientation, valuing and leveraging diversity, and political awareness.
Fundamentally, the principle behind the various skills that structure emotional intelligence is that you simply need to remember of and understand your own emotions, and be ready to master them, so as to know and work well with others.
4. Questioning Skills
The fourth area where many of us struggle is questioning.
Questioning may be a crucial skill to make sure that you simply have understood someone’s message correctly. It’s also a really great way of obtaining more information a few particular topic, or just starting a conversation and keeping it going. Those with good questioning skills are often also seen as excellent listeners, because they have a tendency to spend much more time drawing information out from others than broadcasting their own opinions.
These four key areas of communication all share one common characteristic: they’re all (or mostly) about receiving messages.
There are, however, also important things that you simply can do to enhance the likelihood of having the ability to ‘transmit’ a message effectively. For example:
* don’t simply say the primary thing that comes into your head. Instead take a flash and pay close attention to what you say and the way you say it.
* Specialise in the meaning of what you would like to speak.
Consider how your message could be received by the opposite person, and tailor your communication to suit . By communicating clearly, you’ll help avoid misunderstandings and potential conflict with others. You can, for instance , make sure they need understood by asking them to reflect or summarise what they need heard and understood.
Other Aspects which will Affect Communication
There are variety of other elements and aspects which will affect how a message is both transmitted and received. They include the utilization of humour, the way that you simply treat people more generally, and your own attitude—both to life generally and to the opposite person and communicating.
* Using Humour
Laughing releases endorphins which will help relieve stress and anxiety. most of the people wish to laugh and can feel drawn to somebody who can make them laugh. Don’t be afraid to be funny or clever, but do ensure your humour is acceptable to things. Use your sense of humour to interrupt the ice, to lower barriers and gain the love of others. By using appropriate humour you’ll be perceived as more charismatic.
• Treat People Equally
Always aim to speak on an equal basis and avoid patronising people don’t mention others behind their backs and check out to not develop favourites by treating people as your equal and also adequate to one another, you’ll build trust and respect. If confidentiality is a problem, confirm its boundaries are known and ensure its maintenance.
• Plan to Resolve Conflict
It is nearly always helpful to resolve problems and conflicts as they arise, instead of letting them fester. the foremost effective communicators also are good mediators and negotiators. they’re not biased or judgemental but instead ease the way for conflict resolution.
* Maintain a Positive Attitude and Smile
Few people want to be around someone who is miserable. Do your best to be friendly, upbeat and positive with people. Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude to life: when things don’t attend plan, stay optimistic and learn from your mistakes. If you smile often and stay cheerful, people are more likely to reply positively to you.
See our pages on Personal Presentation and Positive Thinking for more.
Similarly, if something causes you to angry or upset, await a couple of hours and settle down before taking action. If you are doing complain, do so calmly, attempt to find some positive aspects to things and avoid giving unnecessary criticism.
See our pages: Anger Management, Communicating in Difficult Situations and Constructive Criticism for more.
* Minimise Stress
Some communication scenarios are, by their nature, stressful. Stress can however be a serious barrier to effective communication. All parties should therefore attempt to remain calm and focused.
For tips and advice about stress relief and avoidance see our pages Avoiding Stress and Tips for Relieving Stress, it’s also important to find out the way to relax, and that we have a series of pages covering Relaxation Techniques.
A lifelong learning journey
For most folks improving our communication skills is an ongoing process there’s unlikely to ever come some extent at which any folks could honestly say that we could learn no more about communication: that we were now experts, and never got it wrong.
Just because we’ll never be ‘experts’, however, doesn’t mean that we should always not start the method of improvement.
Improving your communication skills will almost certainly ease and improve all of your interpersonal relationships, both reception and at work, it’s an investment of your time which will very definitely pay off.