A number of research on attaining success in life give a large chunk of credit to effective communication. In fact, it is considered as the cornerstone of any big success story. Your communication skills should be the ladder to reach your life goals. Similarly, in situations when we have to move beyond our personal inner circle or need to communicate with people who seem to think and feel differently than we do, our effective communication skills will be there for the rescue.
A small analysis of our normal conversational ways will help us realize what is lacking in us or even reveal our strengths. We will be able to benefit by giving proper attention to our communication skills.
Tips for Acquiring Good Communication Skills
Tip 1: Analyze your current communication ways
Before you start a conversation with a person, try to answer these 5 questions:
· What are the common grounds that we share?
· Is there a comfortable feeling while communicating?
· Are your responses making them feel understood?
· Is my message being received well?
· Will the connection between us become better after this interaction/conversation?
If you are able to answer all these questions in the affirmative, then you are a good communicator. And if the answers are not that satisfactory, give an attempt to improve your communicative skills by following these steps.
Tip 2: Know what you want to say and why
Take some time to analyze and to try to understand why you want to communicate or the intentions behind starting the conversation. Also, know whom you are communicating with. These steps will also help you see in advance the possible barriers that may crop up during the course of communication. It can be anything from cultural differences to situational circumstances like age, gender, economic biases etc. Make sure you realize what outcome you want from the communication and what impression you want to leave.
Tip 3: How will you say it?
· By now, we are aware of the fact that it is not what you say but how you say that holds the importance. You will have to learn the different ways in which you can say a thing to get the desired effect and results.
· In a conversation, always begin by establishing an eye contact. This action alone can inspire trust and confidence between the speaker and the listener(s).
· Secondly, your body posture sends a lot of un-worded messages. It is easy to know if the person is actively involved in the conversation or not. It will also reveal the attitude of the person. For instance, by standing with arms easily at your sides would mean that you are open to hearing what others have to say.Instead, if you are standing with your hands crossed or shoulders hunched, it would send the message that you are not that keen in communicating with others. Good posture and an approachable stance are the golden keys to make even a difficult conversation easier to handle.
· Lastly, take care of your tone while talking to somebody. A cooperative, non-adversarial tone will help you in sending across your message with much ease. A hard tone or judgmental way of conversation can make your listeners move away from you or even bring an abrupt end to the communication process.
Tip 4: Listening
The importance of listening in the process of communicating is very high. After you have spoken, stop and listen to what the other person has to say. And while they are speaking avoid any impulses to speak in between. Also, do not stop listening and wait for the person to end their words to say more of your ideas and points. By not doing so, you will fail to understand what the other person is trying to say. We will discuss more about the art of listening in one of the following chapters in this book.
Tip 5: Speaking a Language of Understanding, Agreement and Consensus
Once the viewpoints are discussed, it is time to re-visit the real purpose of the discussion. Check if you were able to put across your point in a way it is understood. In case there was a difference of opinion, where you able to find a solution or clarify your position? The basic idea behind any communication is to understand and to be understood.
Do not be disheartened if you are notable to convey your message as you intend to. Communication is always a two-way process and there is always a chance that your efforts may not be met with total compliance and agreement. There may also be instances when you may disagree with others arguments. Make sure that you try to understand and appreciate opposite views. Be cordial and respectful, it will lead to a successful communicational exchange.
It is also important to avoid speaking or communicating while in a strong emotional state. Take time to calm down before speaking. Otherwise, you may end up saying somethingin appropriate or regrettable.
Tip 6: Good Command over Languages
One of the most important aspects of having good communicative skills is to have a good command over the language you speak. Try to increase your vocabulary so that you are equipped with more words to be used in any situation. Most of the times confusion arises just because of a wrong choice (or lack of) of words. In order to increase your language skills, read and write more. Make note of the words or usages unknown to you and try to findt heir meaning. Remember that only a person good at handling language can become a good communicator.
Tip 7: Talk Smoothly
While there are many who are good at starting a conversation, only a few are smooth and charismatic when they talk. There are a few ways you can improve your conversation skills.
· One of the best attributes of the good speakers is that they will never rush through a conversation. They will take their time to reflect on something they are going to talk about and that will help them to assimilate the topic of talk and then come bac kwith interesting thoughts and insights.
· While it is common for people to give generic compliments, a good speaker will have the patience to understand the situation and provide the most unique compliments.
· A good command over the language of communication is the next big thing needed to speak smoothly. Language skills will help a person in choosing the apt words to express their precise feelings or thoughts.
Gaining good communication skills has a lot of advantages. It helps with boosting career opportunities,building better relationships and increasing self-confidence. A person will not be able to master good conversation skills in a day or two, but only through constant practice.