Human beings are social creatures. Therefore, we are always communicating with each other. This can be through verbal, written or physical methods. The main objective of this form of interaction is to get a message across. Thus, it is important to develop and apply communication skills. These skills help us to communicate with another person or group of people in an efficient and effective manner. Good communication skills can help you to share information such that it benefits everyone involved. You should invest in developing and sharpening these skills so as to improve your social and professional life. Here is how to effectively improve communication skills.
A conversation involves speaking and listening. It is easier to speak than to listen actively. To improve your communication skills, you should first become a good listener. Take the time to listen to the things that the other person is saying. Let them take center stage in your mind. Let their words be your first priority at that particular time. This allows you to listen actively, learn and understand their statements. To facilitate this further, ensure that you have one conversation at a time. For example, do not text, send emails or talk on the phone when someone else is talking to you. This leads to distraction. Therefore, listen actively and give undivided attention so as to improve your communication skills.
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Recognize the status of the other person in your conversation
Whenever we are communicating, we may be interacting with someone senior, junior or at par with us. Part of good communication skills is the ability to recognize the status of the person with whom you are interacting. If you are speaking to someone who is senior to you in age or professional level, use formal language. Also, if you are speaking with someone who has the same level of authority or age as you, proceed to use casual but strictly polite language. When you are speaking to someone who is junior to you, a casual, relaxed and age-appropriate choice of tone and words is encouraged. Knowing the differences in content for each level is one way to improve your communication skills.
Be brief but always specific
Conversations, written material or performances that are long can bore your audience or listener. Therefore, strive to be brief. Communication specialists have actually created a helpful acronym to help us do this. It is known as BRIEF. Firstly, Create a Background for your statements. Give a Reason for what you are saying and justify it with Information. Once you do that, End the statement and Follow-up on your communication through asking questions. This BRIEF formula works on both written and verbal communication. Apply it in your life and you will dramatically improve your communication skills.
Consider your body language
One of the methods of communication is body language. This is the combination of actions which we perform during a conversation with someone or a group of people. Some people believe that actions speak louder than words. Therefore, it is important to check your actions because they are the core of body language. Ensure that you open up your body and directly face the person or people who you are addressing. Do not cross your arms. Also, maintain comfortable eye contact with the person you are talking to. This shows honesty and that you are paying attention to them. Doing this can make your communication skills more effective.
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Use the FORD method for small talk
Sometimes we find ourselves with a stranger or someone that we hardly know. During such occurrences, we can simply stay silent and not say a thing to them. This often leads to awkward silence. There is a way to avoid this and create an opportunity for you to practice your communication. This can be done through small talk. You can start up a conversation with the stranger and keep it going by using the FORD small talk method.
The first step is to begin with a "Hi" and then proceed to introduce yourself. After that, you can ask about their Family. Once you both exhaust this line of chatting, proceed to ask about their Occupation. This adds some content to your small talk. After that, enquire about the Recreational activities which they enjoy and the Dreams that they could have. This opens up your small talk and you may even realize that you have something in common. It creates an opprtunity for future interaction. This is a sure method of improving your communication skills.
Do not use conversation fillers
There are phrases and sounds which people make so as to fill up their conversations. Examples of these are "Um", "Ah" and "Like". They do not add quality to your statements. Therefore, get rid of them and speak in a regular, controlled, logically verbal way. Conversation fillers make it look like you are not confident in what you are saying. They also make you look nervous. Thus, eliminate them from your spoken communication to improve its quality.
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Narrate a story
Everyone has a few great stories which they can tell. These ones make our brains activated and can provide an interesting twist to a presentation. Stories can increase your confidence, make you more persuasive and even boost your chances to ace an interview. As you communicate, tell your listener a story. Try to figure out what could be interesting to them as opposed to what is interesting to you. Moreover, create your ending before you figure out the middle. This gives your story some direction as you go along. Your story can be fictional or a real-life experience. As long as it captivates your listener, it makes a positive effect on your communication. However, ensure that your story is appropriate for the age of your listener and the environment which you are in. Doing this improves all elements of your communication skills.
The Important Take Away
It is important to have good communication skills. They improve your ability to get a message across. They also allow you to express yourself more effectively. The tips indicated above can help you to accomplish this. Read and apply them in your day to day communication to observe a positive change in your interactions over time.