Have you ever considered how effective your communication is? We can always improve our ability to communicate. Communication skills are essential to positive professional and personal relationships. When you interact with your family, make a presentation at work, or address a problem with your boss, you use communication skills.
What Are Communication Skills?
We’re communicating any time we transfer information from one place to another via voice, written words, visuals, or non-verbal gestures. And we use our communication skills in a variety of ways in our personal and professional lives, in conversations, emails and written documents, presentations, and visuals like graphics or charts.
Communication skills are essential in one’s life because they can:
- Improve your relationships with people
- Help you convey your point quickly and clearly
- Enhance your professional image
- Encourage active listening and open-mindedness
- Help advance your career
Here are some tips to improve communication to help reduce misunderstandings or conflicts and to increase positive and helpful interactions:
- Make Intentional Language Choices
The words we choose to speak can have a great impact on our message, and they can determine how effectively it is passed on to others. For instance, if you’re a team leader and want to let your team know that you’re in this together, use pronouns like “us” and “we” while speaking. Words can have a lot of power if you know how and when to speak them.
- Express Yourself
Communication is about expressing yourself. It’s about sharing your thoughts and feelings with others honestly and openly. As well, you can assert yourself, meaning that you stand up for your beliefs while respecting the opinions of others.
‘Being assertive doesn’t mean being hostile and demanding. It is more about respecting yourself, your needs, and your values. Knowing how and when to say a firm NO, knowing how to express something negative in a positive way, and how to receive feedback no matter of its nature.’
- Take Time To Think Before Speaking
Saying the wrong thing, even at the right time, can seriously injure a person. Think, for example, of a doctor misspeaking an order for medication that turns out to be wrong and hurts her patient. Saying the wrong thing in a court of law could send an innocent person to jail for a long, long time. Since words have such power, it is very important how we communicate. Therefore, take time to listen, be careful how you answer, and take time before speaking.
- Be Slow To Speak And Quick To Listen
Take time to focus on what the other person is doing and saying. Most of us hear but do not listen. We tend to focus our minds on what we are going to say or how we will answer rather than focusing upon and understanding what the speaker is trying to communicate. Check out How to Improve Your Listening Skills.
- Make Good Use Of Questions
The person who asks the questions is often the person in control of the conversation. However, control isn’t necessarily the objective. Rather, using good questions will get to the heart of the issue and help engage people in the process of dialog and communication. Ask until there is clarification by using the “who-what-when-where-how” and sometimes “why” questions.