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“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes
Effective communication is one of the most important life skills we can learn. Approximately big part of our success in life is directly attributable to our communication skills. That means that no matter how ambitious, how committed, or how highly educated someone is, they still have a low probability of success unless they develop the right communication skills. Whether you want to have better conversations in your social life or get your ideas across better at work, here are some essential tips for learning to to communicate more effectively.
Be a good listener.
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 their words, and does not take the time to listen to the other person. You should practice active listening. It means paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding.
Pay attention to your body language.
It doesn’t matter how powerful your words, if you don’t appear confident and friendly, people will assume you aren’t. Your body language speaks volumes before you ever open your mouth. How you stand, your facial expression, and your eyes tell a story and create the very first impression others have of you.
Look others in the eye when you speak. Smile frequently (and appropriately). Offer a firm handshake or a warm hug (with friends and family). Stand up straight and hold your head high with your shoulders back. Don’t cross your arms or legs in a defensive posture.
Be clear in what you are saying.
“A good speech should be like a woman's skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest”. – Winston S. Cherchill
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 or confusing your audience.
It is important to be confident in all of your interactions with others. Confidence ensures your coworkers that you believe in and will follow through with what you are saying.
Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone. Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathizing with the other person.
Respect you opponent.
Even when you disagree with an employer, coworker, or employee, it is important for you to understand and respect their point of view. People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Save your judging for later after you have heard and understood what was said. Eliminate negative words and phrases from your vocabulary. Don’t use words that can be hurtful, offensive or misinterpreted.
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.
Asking good questions is probably one of the most important and powerful workplace interpersonal skills. Asking questions and repeating the other person’s last few words shows you’re interested in what they say. Questions after a response shows you are engaged in the conversation. The kind of questions we ask will lead us in a certain direction; help us to find answers…
If you take the time to develop even a few of these communication skills, you will improve your ability to connect with people from all walks in life at work and in social circles. Take some time to observe the most socially skilled people you know and you’ll see many of these methods in full use. Notice that they aren’t done in a way that is rigid or in a way that would be too noticeable. They are done naturally and in a way that fits in with the current situation.
Choose the techniques that fit best with your personality and your motives when you interact with people. Learn to get a feel for which ones to use for particular situations and the ones don’t resonate with who you are as a person.