Make the world listen by mastering the skill of effective communication. There are thousands of messages and information circulating about. Everyone wants to be heard, put across their thoughts, and make an impact. But how do you outstand and compete with these 7.8 billion people? Thankfully, brushing up on those communication skills will do the trick.
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Since the most distinguishing factor of human beings is their evolved language system, you ought to sharpen both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. You will benefit from such communication skills in every sphere of life. Be it with your family, society, or at the workplace, every domain calls for the successful sharing of information. Accomplish this feat in the following ways to improve your communication skills:
- Listen With Purpose
- Bead Your Thoughts in a Garland
- Ask Questions Fearlessly
- Timing is Everything
- Know Your Audience
- Build Engagement
- Stick to the Point
- Use Nonverbal Communication
- Know-How to Speak Under Pressure
- Practice Consistently
Have a look at each of these ten steps to strong communication down below.
Listen With Purpose
The essential part of effective communication is being a good listener. While others give more attention to speaking, start out by becoming an engaged listener. An immersed listener is far more involved in the conversation as compared to someone who is merely hearing it. By listening actively, a lot of crucial information can be retained about the speaker. This includes:
- Their thought process
- Queries and doubts
It becomes easier to frame specific answers and replies after knowing such fundamental information about the speaker. Moreover, active listening, just like speaking, is equally important to participate in a conversation. Try and listen with empathy and make the other person feel understood. Use these tricks to seem more engaged while listening:
Give your hundred per cent attention to the other person while he speaks. This is the basic etiquette and rule of a successful conversation. Be respectful while the other person talks and avoid dabbling in other activities.
Do not interrupt or redirect
A good listener never interrupts others while they speak. Dedicate ample time to listen and comprehend what the other person has to say. Keep your replies and questions for after they finish. Additionally, listen with an open mind. Don't let clouds of judgment obstruct your listening.
Show your engagement
Give your speaker a nod, a smile, or a small verbal comment, like yes uh-huh, yep, got it, every now and then. This will convey your interest and understanding of the subject matter of discussion. Moreover, it will encourage the speaker to converse more actively.
Bead Your Thoughts in a Garland
The principal rule of effective communication is to make sense. When you make sense to your listeners,
- ideas penetrate deeper and
- the impact of your speech magnifies
Thus, satisfying the end goal of communicating. The first step in this process is to arrange your thoughts and replies in order. To state your point of view, or take on an issue, create an answer that is coherent and understandable. Simply begin to:
- put your thoughts and queries together
- link them to each other
- form a valid argument or reply structure
- communicate with clarity
To increase your credibility, as a reader, learn to think before you speak. A single thoughtful response is more appreciated than a casual irrelevant retort.
Ask Questions Fearlessly
Effective communication is a two-way process. It is an exchange of thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. Here, asking questions and clarifying doubts only improves your understanding. Moreover, questioning is proof of active listening.
Therefore, ask questions to facilitate good communication. You can do this by:
- Paraphrasing whatever you have heard.
- Picking out the parts you don't understand.
- Asking questions and demanding clarification.
- Seeking repetition of some topics or points.
Timing is Everything
All successful communicators know when it is time to speak. Just like comedy is all about timing punch lines, effective communication depends on what topic to introduce and when? If you watch closely, all respected speakers build an aura, play around the subject matter to arouse curiosity, and then propose a theme for discussion. This is where timing comes into play.
As a speaker, you should pay attention to public speakers. Analyze how long they take to come to the point and when. This is crucial as it is what separates an engrossing conversation from a moderate one.
Know Your Audience
The way you communicate should vary from audience to audience. Your communication etiquette with your friend has to differ from when you converse with your boss at work. Therefore, you ought to curate and manipulate your conversations accordingly. With a changing audience, your tone, body language, and word choice should also transform.
When do you like listening to someone? It is only when the conversation is absorbing and relevant. Thus, the building block of effective communication is to engage your listeners. To build engagement, you primarily have to know your audience.
People with strong communication skills use this tool of engagement judiciously. They employ various methods like storytelling or sharing real-life experiences for the listener to pay attention to them. If you want your communications to be more effective, think from the listeners' point of view. Put yourself in their shoes and analyze if your speech is engaging or interesting enough.
Here are a few ways to make your communication more engaging:
- Ask questions from the listener
- Seek their involvement
- Stimulate them through an activity
- Establish eye contact
Stick to the Point
Avoid being too verbose. Refrain from showering your listener with a lot of information. Excessive details become difficult to process and digest. So, it is best to stick to the point. While you may weave a convincing story or share experiences, make sure they take the listener back to the original topic.
Effective communication begins with the sharing of valuable information. Its goal is to build a topic based on useful facts and points. Stating meaningless instances and remarks only complicate it.
Use Nonverbal Communication
The Salesforce research on interpersonal communication states that nonverbal cues make up 93% of the communication. Therefore, verbal communication should be supplemented by nonverbal prompts too. You must monitor your body language to communicate better. After all, it is one of the many rewarding skills to learn. Look into your body movements, posture, gestures, facial expressions, and tone of your voice. All these components of pleasant body language should reinforce what you speak.
Adopt a proper posture, make eye contact, use your space, use appropriate hand gestures, speak clearly, and confidently to improve your communication skills.
Apart from perfecting body language, try to identify and read them too. This way, you can understand what the listener or the audience is trying to communicate.
Know How to Speak Under Stress
Not all conversations are conducted in a friendly and relaxing environment. During a conflict, interview, presentation, or during first meetings, your communication can suffer due to stress. For these situations, know how to communicate effectively under pressure. Adopt these techniques to try and stay calm:
- Stall the other person and compose yourself in the meantime.
- Take a pause to re-collect your thoughts
- Look for humour to lighten the situation
- Take a long breath and focus on the topic
Just like all other soft skills, effective communication is possible only by practising. Become an active speaker to lower inhibitions (if you have any). To enhance your communication skills further, work on your verbal and nonverbal conversational methods. Make use of every opportunity and participate unhesitantly. It is better to practice in a realistic setting like a group of friends or family or during meetings.
Another helpful way is to practice in front of a virtual audience while standing in front of a mirror. While you are at it, pay special attention to gestures and your overall body language. If rehearsing for a speech or presentation, prepare a group of possible questions that your listeners may ask.
Strong communication skills are needed for success in the personal and business world. Smooth communication establishes relationships, builds trust, and helps understand each other better. This effective communication also leads to problem-solving and decision-making - highly mandatory future-proof skills.
Therefore, the key to improving communication skills is to primarily understand what the listener wants to hear and deliver it most pleasantly.
For extra practice, watch expert speakers and lecturers talk. List all the things you want to adopt and imitate in your future conversations. Another simple way is to personally connect with professionals who can help enhance your communication skills. Our online skill-sharing app KoolStories grants you a learning opportunity to meet top rated experts. Simply download KoolStories micro learning app and get inspired in 15 minutes.