When communicating with others, we often focus on what we should say. However, effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. Listening well means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to communicate
Effective communication is a key interpersonal skill and learning how we can improve our communication has many benefits. Communication is a two way process, so improving communication involves both how we send and receive messages.
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who only cares about putting in her two cents and does not take the time to listen to the other person. If you’re not a good listener, it’s going to be hard to comprehend what you’re being asked to do.
Your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone all color the message you are trying to convey. A relaxed, open stance (arms open, legs relaxed), and a friendly tone will make you appear approachable, and will encourage others to speak openly with you.
Also pay attention to other people’s nonverbal signals while you are talking.
Clarity and Concision
Good communication means saying just enough – don’t talk too much or too little. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively and/or confusing your audience.
Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, you will encourage your coworkers to engage in open and honest communication with you.
It is important to be confident in your interactions with others. Avoid making statements sound like questions. Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive.
Even when you disagree with an employer, coworker, or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view. Using phrases as simple as “I understand where you are coming from” demonstrate that you have been listening to the other person and respect their opinions.
A good communicator should enter any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting your message across. By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.
People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Simple actions like using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel appreciated. On the phone, avoid distractions and stay focused on the conversation.
Being able to appropriately give and receive feedback is an important communication skill. Similarly, you should be able to accept, and even encourage, feedback from others
Picking the Right Medium
An important communication skill is to simply know what form of communication to use. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication, and will be more likely to respond positively to you.