During WWII, when the young daughter of the then King of England asked her father what Hitler was saying in his speeches, he replied:
I don’t know but… he seems to be saying it rather well.
A few years ago, The Conference Board of Canada, a non-profit organization for applied research, developed the Employability Skills 2000+ which focus on the must-have skills that one should have to succeed at their workplace. Not very surprisingly, communication skills top this list.
For a long time, social media has been on the rise and has played a great role in replacing non-mediated modes of communication. While it may be beneficial in some cases, we still think it is absolutely necessary to enhance your communication skills to succeed in personal as well as professional life.
When you look at leaders, one of the greatest skills they have is the ability to communicate effectively.
As James Humes, former American presidential speechwriter, said – The art of communication is the language of leadership.
Let’s see what effective communication really is.
What is Effective Communication?
Effective communication is basically the ability to express yourself and listen to the people around you. It is vital in personal as well as professional life as it allows you to translate your feelings and thoughts into words.
Effective communication also allows you to understand what others are saying and makes you a better team worker.
Tips on How to Improve Communication Skills
Following are a few tips on improving communication skills.
1. Listen, Listen, Listen
No matter how much we put emphasis on this, we don’t think we would be able to justify the importance of the role of listening in effective communication. Know that people want to be heard and when they are talking to you, they want you to listen and respond, not react.
Ask questions, try to be non-judgemental and do not get distracted.
2. Focus on Non Verbal Communication
You may not know this, but mastering non-verbal cues will help you become a better communicator. Non verbal communication is a great way to avoid misunderstandings.
Along with this, non-verbal cues also affect the first impressions. Limiting hand gestures, maintaining eye contact, not folding arms and having a good posture go a long way.
It is essential that you are conscious of your face expressions and body language when you are in a social setting. While non-verbal communication may help you improve your communication skills, it can also become a source of miscommunication.
3. Develop a Filter
As the famous saying goes – Think before you speak.
One of the qualities that you will find in effective communicators is that they have control over their thoughts and feelings. They know how to express themselves in a social setting – what to say, what not to say, how to put across certain things – they know it all!
Developing a filter will help you know what is appropriate to speak in different interpersonal situations. It will also help in other communication techniques and will ensure that you avoid conflict at your workplace.
4. Simplify Your Message
The basic idea of communication is to express yourself and communicate what you feel. But if your message is not being communicated, the essence is lost.
Whenever you communicate with someone, try to use simple language so that people are able to understand you. Using fancy words may make you feel good but it is of no use when it boggles the other person’s mind.
5. Take Time to Respond
After you have listened to someone, you can take some time to respond. Take a few seconds, draft a message in your mind and then say what you want to say.
This trick can also be used when you are communicating with someone on emails or on any other mediated form of communication.
6. Make Sure You Are Understood
In case of a misunderstanding, there is a probability that you may not have been able to communicate your message properly. So make sure you are audible and clear so that the other person understands what you are trying to communicate.
7. Practice Public Speaking
We know that most people dread public speaking but it is one of the best ways to enhance your communication skills. Regularly speaking to a large audience will help you gain confidence and will force you to develop communication habits.
Once you develop strong communication skills, you will gradually master the idea of having difficult conversations. Try to be empathetic as it is an essential trait of a good communicator.
Popular English-American pianist, composer and record producer, John Powell once said – Communication works for those who work at it.
This saying may be old but it still holds ground.
We hope that this blog will level up your communication skills. Do let us know if we can help you in enhancing any other skills.