To succeed in life, one must know how to communicate with others. It is the foundation of any great and lasting personal or professional relationship.
Effective communication is more than people exchanging information. It is also about understanding the emotion and intentions being conveyed, conveying your message, and listening to the other person so they feel heard and understood. It helps to avoid any misunderstandings in your work and personal relationships.
Whether talking to your spouse, kids, potential employer, boss, or coworkers will help you express yourself clearly. It also makes you more efficient at your job, a better team member, and avoids any unintended consequences due to miscommunication.
Effective communication requires hard work to master, but in the end, it is worth it so you can avoid any misunderstandings and conflicts in your work and personal relationships.
This article brings you proven tips that will help you enhance your communication skills. Implementing these tips will help you create a deeper connection with your coworkers, spouse, kids, or boss. In addition, they will also build greater trust and respect in your relationships. Lastly, they will improve teamwork, problem-solving skills, and overall mental health.
Let’s get right to it.
1. Try to Listen More And Talk Less
Do not worry about what to say and actively listen, as listening is vital to communication and helps the other person feel heard. Observe the other person’s behavior and tone of voice to understand their feelings. Do not judge them for their opinions or try to make it all about you by talking about your problems.
2. Understand Nonverbal Signals
When it comes to nonverbal communication, you’ll have to observe body language, eye contact, tone, and even minute details such as muscle tension. It even includes subtle cues like micro-expressions and breathing. You can enhance your communication by using open body language, such as keeping your arms uncrossed and maintaining eye contact with the person.
3. Manage Your Stress
If you are stressed, you are more than likely to say or do something in the heat of the moment only to regret it later. Therefore, you must think before you speak. It is okay to pause and collect your thoughts instead of rushing your response.
Most public speakers advise that meditation has proven to help harness calmness while releasing stress when you’re not socializing. These speakers also explain that taking five minutes out for meditation during your day can make all the difference.
4. Communicate Directly
Direct communication helps the other person understand the urgency, severity, and nature of the message you are delivering. As you communicate, you need to ask them to repeat the message so that you are clear, that they understand your intent.
Effective communication has a lot to do with self-esteem and quick decision-making skills. By that, it’s important to know when to take an aggressive approach and when you need to listen passively.
5. Collaborate With Your Coworkers
Communication is essential for teamwork, as miscommunication can cause major havoc in the work processes. Moreover, companies invest in communication courses to improve interdepartmental and external communication. Lack of communication can halt an entire project which can be disastrous to the companies bottom line.
6. Filtering Your Message
Filtering implies understanding your audience and connecting with them using the appropriate communication medium. That means you’ll have to perceive the message you’re giving out from your audience’s perspective. You aim to ensure that your message is not misinterpreted and the core of your message has been understood as you intended.
7. Use Humor To Ease Tension
In situations that gravitate towards an argument, humor can help ease the tensions and reset the conversation. It does not mean that you should always crack jokes since that will make the other person feel like you are not taking them seriously. Master the art of timing your jokes and always be balanced.
8. Keep An Open Mind
When communicating with people, you will naturally encounter opinions and perspectives that you oppose. So, when that happens, listen without judging or jumping to conclusions.
9. Ask For Feedback
There is no shame in asking for feedback on things you are looking to improve. It helps to have different perspectives from your coworkers, boss, friends, and family on improving your communication skills.
10. Engage Your Audience
You can be the world’s most compelling speaker, but everyone these days has limited attention spans. So, to avoid having them fall asleep or daydream about what they would rather do, engage them in a conversation. Ask them questions and encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas to keep them stimulated.
11. Use The PIP Approach
Business experts like those at Mckinsey commonly use the (Purpose-Importance-Preview) PIP approach. It stands for purpose, importance, and preview. When using the PIP approach, the first step is to state the purpose of your talk or presentation. The second step is to state the importance of said talk or presentation. And the third step is to preview the topics discussed to help the audience get focused and excited about your speech or presentation.
12. Summarize Key Points
In 1990, a study was conducted by Elizabeth Newton, a Stanford University graduate student in psychology, to illustrate the curse of knowledge. She led a simple experiment in which she assigned the participants one of two roles: “listener” or “tapper.” The tappers had to pick famous songs and tap out the rhythm on the table.
The listeners had to guess the song. A total of 120 songs were tapped out during this experiment, and only three songs were guessed correctly. A success ratio of only 2.5%, and that’s not all. Newton also asked the tappers to predict how many songs will the listeners guess correctly. Their prediction was 50%.
The point of this study was to show that those with knowledge assume it will be easy to understand for beginners because it’s hard for them to imagine not having an understanding of said knowledge.
Therefore, always end your talks with a summary of key points to help the audience understand your point.
Communication is critical for all relationships to thrive and last a lifetime. Understand that it is more than just saying the right words. Effective communication is more about engaged listening where you understand the message and the emotions being conveyed. It requires an effort to do it well, but the rewards are worth it.