Whether you are involved in a group project in school or are the member of an executive commission, communication skills are incredibly important. These skills allow individuals to avoid costly misunderstandings while enabling them to connect with the people around them. Here are 4 easy suggestions you can use to improve your communication skills both at work and at home.
Take Your Time
Too often we feel that pauses in conversation are awkward or mean that we have nothing to say. Other times we are in such a hurry, we don’t take the time to think about what comes out of our mouths. Effective communicators realize the importance of conveying precise meaning and take time to choose their words carefully. Sometimes all you need is a few extra seconds to find the words that most accurately convey your meaning.
As with most areas in life, effective communication requires concentration. This can be difficult in today’s fast paced world of text messages and social media. When speaking with someone, ignore the phone buzzing in your pocket and try instead to focus on non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and body language. This can give you insight into the message that people are really trying to convey and can only be accomplished by ignoring outside distractions. For more tips on improving your concentration, click here.
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Don't Make It About "You"
The overuse of the word you can lead to misunderstanding. While in English it is common to use you when referring to people in general, it is better to avoid using the word in this way. Instead of saying, “you need money to make money,” say something like, “it takes money to make money.” Also, by avoiding you, it is possible to avoid laying blame. For example, instead of saying “we can’t understand you,” say “we are having trouble understanding.” This subtle difference can prevent people from becoming defensive.
The Importance of Feedback
Giving effective feedback is an essential point of communication. It reassures the speaker that he or she has conveyed the proper message. Just as you must pay attention to non-verbal cues, you must also give effective non-verbal cues so the speaker knows you are still listening. Additionally, it is important that you restate the information you received in your own words to avoid any discrepancies between what the speaker said and what he or she meant.