The world cant go round without communication, it is a must in every aspect of life. Yet many people have trouble communicating. These people have difficulties functioning well in their relationships, jobs or socially. But its all in a matter of time until one decides to learn few of these communication skills to function better.
Every job vacancy talks about requiring good communication skills which is taken as a soft skill. It includes skills like listening skills, writing skills, verbal skills, presentation skills, interpersonal skills, nonverbal skills, personal skills, etc. Every jobs asks for it as it is needed in communicating with anyone and good communication is a leap towards success. It is a mechanism to establish relationships and work on it, be it a personal or professional one.
Some of these steps mentioned below might be of help for establishing a good communication skill in oneself.
Listening and hearing are two totally different activities but many people take it as synonyms. The things we hear are not stored in brain whereas if listened, it is stored and can be used for future conversations. Listening skills not only encompass hearing words but creating proper meaning with the words and using other methods to decipher intended meaning which can include noticing gestures, body languages, etc. It can be done by paying attention and focusing. The brain does not create proper meaning to what we hear and there is no reflection to the meaning leading to confusions. Good communication is when you listen to what the other person is saying and not think of what to say next at the same time. Message sending alone is not communication, receiving also plays an equally important role.
About 55 percent of meaning of any message is generated from facial expression, other 38 percent from the tone of voice and only 7 percent from actual words spoken to convey message. Decoding non-verbal signs sent with words are important in interpreting messages. One can be saying something and meaning something which can only be known through the tone of voice and gestures like feelings of anger, jealousy, desperation, sadness, etc. Nonverbal communication includes facial expressions, hand movements, tone of voice, eye contact, etc. Body language impacts people’s thinking of you even before you speak anything. Your abilities are judged through your confidence or friendliness more than from the words used. So, try to change your body language, be confident, comfortable and speak your mind. Give firm handshakes, warm hugs and spread smiles.
Think before you speak
Just pretending to accept what others say is not communication. Communication is giving and receiving messages. So, you should tell what you feel is right and defend on your own views. But, sometimes people can be insensitive. You do not want to hurt the other person or offend them. Even if you have to comment something negative, try to make a positive impression and express it positively.
Make people laugh
When people feel you are one of them, they will accept you and talk to you better. Use good humor according to situations. Do it only if you are naturally funny, or you might create awkward situations and ridicule yourself. Watch time and place for it. It helps in connecting with people, being social and getting attention.
Choose appropriate medium
Medium can be an issue if communication is not face to face but through a channel like phone, Skype, chat, etc. Phone, when used as a channel can miss body language while transmitting voice tones and words. Similarly, Skype can have problems if the network is bad. Chat does not include vocal tones too in addition to body language. Therefore, you must choose a medium that is right for your purpose.
Empathize, be aware of others emotions and try to resolve conflicts
Step in shoes of the person you are talking to, that will provide you better understanding of what he/she is thinking. It will make you aware of what the other person is feeling and the reason why he/she is reacting that way. This also prevents you from getting into conflicts and resolving the ones you are in. You should also be keeping your own emotions in check while communicating.
Respect individual differences and don’t judge
Nobody is you. They are different people with different thinking, views and opinions. They also have different habits, behaviors, beliefs, etc. You should learn to respect individual differences and not be judgmental. Judgmental behavior creates conflicts as you stop thinking about other’s feelings. You also have a preconceived first impression. Some things might be too hurtful or offensive to people and rather should be avoided.
Be positive, show interest and smile
Positive people attract and influence others. People want to look at people who talk with smile on their faces. People do not want to stay with miserable people. Ability to tell negative things positively is one of the best character trait one can have. Friendliness and cheerful attitude encourages communication and relationships.
Don’t stress about communication
Have you ever said something in stress and regretted it later? Surely you have as it is a very common situation. Communication situations are very stressful sometimes as people are afraid of their performance. Stress can have a severe negative effect on communication. Both parties involved in communication must stay calm while talking to reach to better conclusions and find solutions. So, you should try to manage your stresses as when stressed you misinterpret everything.
Speak clearly and to the point
Give one point and use less words so that your point is clear. You can support your point with examples and data, but do not make it complicated as to drift away from your topic or point. This needs to be done as people lose interest if what you say is too long or complex. You can even use stalling tactics to gain you time to think before speaking. Summarize your point in the end for the other person to remember what they have to reply to if you can. Communication must be clear and direct.
Encourage feedback and give feedbacks
Act and speak so that who you are speaking to is bound to give feedbacks as it helps in knowing if message intended has reached as it is or not. You can encourage the other person by doing it yourself. When the process of feedbacks are continuous, then communication does not stop and communication is effective. You can encourage with praises and positive reinforcements. When people feel that their feedback is important, valued and appreciated, they will get encouraged to communicate more fluently.
People we talk to most and share all our feelings are our friends. If you are successful in making people feel that you are their friend, they are more likely to talk to you, communicate. So it is important not break their trust and make them sad. Not only there is less stress in friendly atmosphere, but while communicating with friends, people feel relaxed and happy. It works as an antonym of stress.
Thus, everybody should develop the skill of good communication to better every aspect of one’s life, as it fosters relationships and builds them along with opening new communication channels and processes. Open and honest communication is always better than staged and false communication.