Without a doubt, effective communication is the key to unlock doors of possibilities. It enables us to pass on information to other people and to understand what is being conveyed to us. Communication is the act of carrying information from one place to another which can be passed from one person to another in several forms like written, oral, visual, and non-verbal i.e. through hand gestures and body language.
The process of communication begins at a given point. In the first step, information is generated, and then the piece of information or data is put into a medium for transmission towards the intended audience. In this process, the initiator should pay extra attention to the nature of the information. Communication skills define the effectiveness of communication.
Mastering communication skill is a lifelong process. However, there are many things that one can do to improve communication skills and ensure that that the message is received and transmitted effectively.
Tips to Improve the Communication Skills
Practice active listening: Effective communication is only possible if communicators are good listeners. Active listening means a form of engaging in what people have to say by giving affirmative replies and asking follow-up questions, which displays that one is paying attention to the speaker
Focus on non-verbal communication: Focusing on non-verbal communication can block miscommunication. One should pay attention to facial expressions and body language. Maintaining eye contact, limiting hand gestures, and having good posture will help to create a good image when meeting the person for the first time
Manage emotions: It is very important to manage one’s own emotions for the sake of clear and concise communication. Allowing strong emotions into a professional environment often leads to poor communication and conflict.
Always ask for feedback: There is never any shame in asking for honest feedback on your communication skills from colleagues. This feedback should be taken in a positive mindset and improvements must be made. This will help to seek out other’s points of view and will help to forge better relationships with co-workers.
Practice Public Speaking: Public speaking is a daunting task, but it is often the best way to develop one’s communication skills. Great communicators can clearly express themselves, irrespective of whether they are speaking to a large group or face to face with an individual. These skills are often honed only by public speaking and they should be encouraged.
Develop a filter: One of the traits of effective communicators is that they generally have highly developed social skills allowing them to modulate how they express their thoughts and feelings to those around them. It is important to know what is appropriate to express in different contexts.
Write things down: One should take notes when talking to another person or when attending meetings. Memory can be notoriously fickle and should be relied upon especially during professional meetings. In case the intent of the speaker was not clear, a follow-up email asking them to elaborate does no harm.
Sometimes it's better to pick up the phone: Many times it is better to call a person up and speak over the phone, especially if there is a lot to speak about. Emails can serve one’s purpose, but verbal communication in these aspects can be much more helpful as they can not only get the job done faster but also give one confidence in communication.
Think before you speak up: One should always pause before speaking and avoid saying the first thing that comes to mind. Taking a moment and paying attention to what one wants to say and how it should be said can avoid social faux-pas and conflicts.
Maintain a positive attitude and smile: Even if the person whom one is speaking to cannot see them when speaking over the phone, the speaker should maintain a positive attitude and smile, as this positivity will reflect through the phone and be recognized by the listener. It often helps to receive complementary positive responses if the speaker and listener are equally positive.