How to Improve Communication Skills?
Word Communication has been derived from a Latin word “communis” which means to share. Communication is the activity of conveying information or emotions through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour. This exchange of thoughts can take place either between two people or more than two individuals who are part of a conversation. Hence it would not be wrong to say that communication is any act by which one person gives information to other people, or receives from personal information about that person’s needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Hence communication is an important mode of exchange of thoughts which includes the needs and wants of a particular person. Communication can be intentional or unintentional, may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.
To start a communication it requires at least two people, a person who gives the message or the speaker and the other who listens to him or receives the message or recipient. Communication plays an important part in human lives, and today we cannot expect our normal lives to work properly without communication. Effective communication is very important and helps us better understand a person or situation and enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem-solving, affection, and caring can flourish. On the other hand, without communication, it is hard to understand one another. Sometimes communication may not be clear enough and the other person may miss-interpret us or our feelings, which may lead to a conflict. Hence it is very important to possess appropriate communication skills. It is obvious that by learning effective communication skills, one can better connect with their spouse, kids, friends, and coworkers.
In the modern era of technology effective communication is of great importance, we have to send, receive, and process huge numbers of messages every day for our daily needs. Effective communication is not just about exchanging information, it is something more than that; it also includes understanding well the emotion behind the conversation and also includes giving back a proper response. Effective communication can improve relationships at home, work, and in social situations by deepening your connections to others and improving coordination, teamwork, decision-making, and problem-solving. A variety of verbal and non-verbal means of communicating exists for humans to communicate, such as body language, eye contact, sign language, and media such as pictures, graphics, sound, and writing.
Some good communication skills enable you to communicate even some negative or difficult to convey messages without creating conflict or making other people angry or sad. One who excels in the art of communication is always successful in his life and also makes for himself an effective place in society. Effective communication is not only about conveying your feelings properly, but also includes listening and understanding others well. Effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress at the moment, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with. Some people possess an inborn quality of effective communication. But those who do not possess such quality may build effective communication skills through proper practice. You cannot expect to become an effective communicator in one day, it takes time and effort to develop these skills and become an effective communicator. The more effort and practice you put in, the more instinctive and spontaneous your communication skills will become.
Need for Effective Communication
These days it is very important that you possess some effective skills to be a successful person. Though it is of great importance from your career point of view, in your social life also you tend to make some good and long-lasting relations in you possess some good skills. People tend to enjoy the company of a person who can communicate effectively. Hence possessing good communication skills is of great importance both professionally as well as in social life.
Public-speaking skills are a must since public relations and marketing professionals often find themselves in front of clients, reporters, customers, community representatives or other groups, also in your social life you may come across situations when you have to have to address a group of people or give a speech in society meeting or some function. Effective public-speaking skills are a mixture of audience analysis, speech writing, and speech delivery. Compelling speeches start with an attention-getting statement and include a clear thesis, preview of main points, main points, summary, and clincher. Delivery skills include eye contact, a varied pitch, and smooth vocal rate also pauses should be avoided so that the audience does not get bored. In life, there are many occasions when we have to showcase our communication skills. These situations may include an important interview, a college function or a function in office and also some meeting at society or community level. Hence possessing effective communication skills is very important.
We have already discussed about the needs and importance of effective communication. As mentioned earlier, communication not only includes conveying your message effectively, but also includes in effective listening skills. If your goal is to fully understand and connect with the other people, listening effectively will often come naturally. If it doesn’t, you can remember the following tips. The more you practice them, the more satisfying and rewarding your interactions with others will become:
Focus: Try to concentrate your complete focus on the speaker, his body language, and other nonverbal cues like moving of hands, eyes or some other gestures that he use. If you’re busy checking text messages on your phone, or doodling, it is obvious that you tend to miss some important nonverbal cues in the conversation. If you find it hard to concentrate on some speakers, you can try to concentrate by repeating their words over in your head—it’ll reinforce their message and help you stay focused. Hence you tend to focus more to understand things in a better way.
Do not Interrupt: Interrupting others while they speak is something that tends to destroy a reasonable conversation, and often irritates the speaker. Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns. Listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. You can’t concentrate on what someone’s saying if you’re forming what you’re going to say next. Often, the speaker can read your facial expressions and know that your mind’s elsewhere. It is always better to let other people finish before presenting your doubt or giving any kind of suggestion to the speaker. Interrupting someone in middle can most of the time lead to some quarrel like situation.
No Judging: It is advised to avoid seeming judgmental. In order to communicate effectively with someone, it is not necessary that you don’t have to like them or agree with their ideas, values, or opinions. It is better to set aside your judgment and withhold blame and criticism in order to fully understand the other person.
Interest: Though sometimes a conversation can get really boring and you really need to run away from such a situation, this is not what you ideally should do. To be a good listener, show your interest in what’s being said. To participate effectively nod occasionally, give a smile, and make sure your posture is open and inviting. Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes and ok.
Improving Communication Skills
These days communication skill is something that every person is expected to possess. It is of great importance in today’s competitive world. No matter if you are an extremely hard working and intelligent worker, but to taste success in the fiercely competitive world, you have to be a good and impressive communicator. If you are aiming for a job in a highly reputed company then you will not get too many chances to win the confidence of interviewers, you have to create a positive impression at the first go itself. Doing your work is important but what is more important is presenting your work well which you can do effectively only if you possess some good communication skills. One has to be very careful about his communication skills to perform well at his workplace and have an edge over his fellow workers. Otherwise, sometimes it can also happen that someone else may take away credit for your hard work if you keep on shying away or hesitate in communicating.
To develop and maintain healthy, growing relationships both personally and professionally you need to be able to quickly manage good communication. You need to quickly recognize and appropriately respond to the other person for a good communication with them that leads to some good relations both in personal as well as professional life. Some tips for improving communication skills are:
Be Aware: Be aware of your conversation and know what communication really is all about. Communication is the process of transferring some signals, messages, and emotions between a sender and a receiver through various methods which may include written words, nonverbal cues, and spoken words. It is also the mechanism that we may use to establish and modify relationships. One should have the courage to say what they think. Be confident in knowing that you can make worthwhile contributions to the conversation. Be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others. There are some people who are hesitant to speak because they feel that their input would not be worthwhile to mention. What is important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and maybe more so to someone else. Hence you must be aware of the facts and be confident.
Engage Your Audience: For an effective communication, it is must to engage your audience and create their interest in what you say. Make sure that you are having a proper eye contact. Whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are conversing can make the interaction more interesting and successful. Eye contact conveys interest and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return. Using gestures is another way of engaging your audience. These include gestures with your hands and face. For an effective communication make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups. The gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size. Also keep in mind that you are not using these gestures too much, otherwise you may appear weird.
Managing Stress: Stress can ruin your conversation, however in small doses; stress can help you perform under pressure. When stress becomes constant and overwhelming, it can affect your communication by disrupting your capacity to think clearly and creatively and act appropriately and you end up getting confused and fumbling. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to misread other people and send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals. When stress strikes, it is not always possible to take time out to meditate or go for a run, especially if you’re in the middle of a meeting with your boss or an argument with your spouse or in middle of an interview. It is advised to be well prepared in advance to avoid any such situation. Maintain a relaxed, energized state of awareness, even when something upsetting happens you can remain emotionally available and engaged.
Pitch and Tone: For a sensible communication, the pitch and the tone must also be taken care of. Your pitch may vary from event to event. You cannot maintain the same pitch and tone while having a communication with a client in an office and a friend in a marriage function where loud music is also playing. During presentations, seminars or business meetings make sure that your tone is audible to each and every participant; your tone should be such that, the individual sitting on the last bench is also able to hear you properly. Don’t speak too low or shout, never rush and speak slowly and clearly. Don’t make long presentations or unnecessarily drag the meeting. However, for personal communication, it is advised to keep your tone low and confine your voice to another person only as sometimes conversation may include discussing some confidential topics.