How to have good communication skills
A guide to good communication skills even if you are shy.
Good communication skills are extremely important to have, through your entire life span, and in every possible situation you can think of. If you consider yourself to be shy in nature, I urge you to get over it.
People are shy for many reasons, they may have a withdrawn personality, be insecure, feel like they aren't good at socializing, have a hard time expressing themselves, and so on.
People who are shy, usually do not like the fact that people point out that they are shy, quiet, or both, and chalk it up to " That's just the way I am."
However, the sad reality is that if you don't open up, voice your opinions, and learn to be more outgoing, your communication skills will suffer. If your communication skills are poor you will experience a great deal of trouble in your personal, working, and general relationships. You may have even noticed that being shy causes you aggravation in your day to day life.
Some people experience bouts of shyness, for instance, someone who might normally be out going, may be afraid of public speaking, or talking to their boss, or talking to a member of the opposite sex--- you get the idea.
Bad communication ....be it written, oral, or body language, can send the wrong message in more ways than one. Most people would rather be around those who are easy to communicate with, and are open, than those who need "special treatment" like shy people.
Here are some tips that will improve your communication skills:
In a conversation, really listen. You can show you are really listening my smiling, tilting your head to the side, nodding, inserting signs/words of agreement and so on. If you want people to hear you, you need to hear them.
Have good body language. Stand up straight, it will show confidence. Smile , you will seem approachable. Don't cross your arms over your chest, this tells people you disapprove. Keep your hands to your side, or if you are sitting, keep them in your lap.
When having a serious conversation with your boss, or a higher up, always turn a negative into a positive... for instance, if your boss says, I heard that they work pretty slowly, you should say something like " That's true, they didn't meet the original deadline, but the final product was of really high quality." I know its easy to vent, and skip adding a positive in, but employers want you to be a "yes" person, not a complainer.
Have confidence when you speak. If you are shy AND quiet, project your voice. Always look the person in the eye when you are speaking to them. If you avert your gaze, you will look nervous and not trustworthy. Never turn your head away from someone when you are speaking to them, it may show them you don't care enough to give them your full attention, and it will make it harder for the other person to hear what you are saying. Don't mumble and enunciate your words. Even if you feel intimidated, make sure you project your voice enough so that you are being clear. If someone has to keep asking " I'm sorry, I can't hear you, what did you say?" They will get irritated with you and the conversation. If you aren't sure how you sound to people when you are talking, record yourself and listen really closely to how you sound. Then pick out the areas you need to improve upon and get to work.
Don't let people intimidate you. If you feel intimidated by someone you are in a conversation with, DO NOT let it show. Think before you speak. Speak in an even tone of voice.
Never answer with " I don't know". This will make others feel like you don't care enough to give a response, or that you aren't knowledgeable enough to answer. When people ask questions, they want answers. If someone puts you on the spot, you don't have to answer them right then and there. Say something like " I'm in the middle of something, can I get back to you?" or " I don't want to ill advise you, let me find out for you."
In written communication, always be clear. Before you send an e-mail, or any type of written communication, read over it AT LEAST once, to be sure it makes sense. If you aren't sure its clear, have someone else read it before you send it. Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Write in clear, concise, declarative English. Written forms of communication can be tricky, because there is no way to put your tone of voice in, so if you feel like you are writing a message on a touchy subject that could be misconstrued, its probably best to have a face to face conversation.
The most important part of having good communication, especially if you are shy, is to remain relaxed, open, and confident. This will give you the appearance of being easy-going. People like to communicate with easy going people, because its easier to communicate with them! Its all about confidence. If you are confident in yourself, you will automatically speak more clearly and have better communication than someone who is not confident ( and quiet, shy, and mumbles, etc). You simply have to say to yourself " I QUIT BEING SHY" and GET OVER IT.
Diagram of good communication
USA TODAY QUIZ
- ARE YOU AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR?
Take this quiz and find out! This quiz asks questions to see if you are an effective communicator in the work place.
HOW TO GET OVER BEING SHY
- WIKIHOW: how to get over being shy
A concise how to guide on getting over shyness, i recommend anyone who is "reserved" in their communication read this!
BBC News: Bad communication hurts cancer paitents
- BBC News: Bad communication hurts cancer paitents
Bad communication can have tragic effects. Don't let yourself be a victim of someones poor communication, speak up, ask questions.
- Tips to help you improve your written communication skills
Great blog article about how bad written communication skills can hurt you, and how you can improve your writing.
WikiAnswers: What makes someone a good communicator?
- What makes someone a good communicator?
Use this as a checklist while working to improve your communication skills.
Are you a good communicator? Quiz
- Not sure if you're a good communicator?
Take this quiz if you aren't sure if you're a good communicator.
- COMMUNICATION 101- blog
This guy created a very thorough blog post that includes a lot of great ways to improve your communication skills, and it has a lot of helpful feedback from readers.
ABC NEWS: BAD COMMUNICATION AFFECTS PRESCRIPTIONS
- From Poor Penmanship to Bad Communication: Many Opportunities for Medication Mishaps
An article based on a report on the mistakes made by doctors in writing prescriptions, the report recommends prescription be written electronically.
Communicating at work
- An exercise to do with employees at work
This is an activity designed to help aid good communication in the work place.
- Good communication
Another article with many tips for all areas of communication mediums, and how to develop better communication skills.