Before we delve into communication skills, and how you can and should be improving them, let us first address the basic definition of communication. Communication in simple terms can simply be defined as the act of transferring information from one place to another or, from one person to another. There are many forms of communication, such as verbal (words of mouth), written (in written or printed format or digital media, and non-verbal (through the use of body language, the tone, and pitch of voice and gestures).
Communication is part of our daily lives because whether we are conscious of it or not we are always communicating whether through our gestures or spoken words. The importance of excellent communication skills cannot be overemphasized as by possessing the ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended will only add on to your arsenal as a person/professional. There is no such thing as ‘it’s too late to start working on your communication skills,’ and by doing so, you get to improve your lifestyle in general.
7 Examples of communication skills to master:
1. Active listening
Active listening refer is the situation whereby close attention is being given to the person that is conveying the message to you. Co-workers provide an excellent recommendation to active listeners due to the amount of respect and attention they give other people. This skill might seem simple, but this is a skill that can most times be difficult to acquire and improve on. Being an active listener means focusing on the speaker and avoiding any form of distractions that may occur during the conversation.
To add further, it would also help if you developed the habit of speaking only after you truly understood what the other person wanted to convey to you. If you are not sure about the full meaning and intent of the message you just received, just ask them politely, and ensure there are no misunderstandings.
Your relationship with others matter a lot as qualities like honesty and kindness tend to develop a quick, trustworthy and understanding between you and others. These qualities are essential wherever you find yourself. Little gestures such as checking up on someone’s wellbeing and giving them a smile as they speak or praising a job well done by them can help generate healthy relationships with colleagues as well as managers.
Be genuine and eager to build relationships with others, learn more about them, and have them learn more about you. Find some common ground, something that you share with each other, some interest in common, past experience, and start from there. If you feel like there’s no common ground, don’t worry. Just remember, you are both sharing the same space/workplace/school/building and so on.
3. Make sure you adapt your communication style to suit your audience
If you intend to have others understand what you are about to convey, then making use of a communication style or means through which your intended audience can easily adapt to is the best way to go. For one to make use of their communication skills properly, it’s necessary for one to consider their intended audience to know the format that will be more effective to use while communicating with them.
4. Clarity and volume
While you’re speaking, it’s necessary for you to be audible to enable your audience to hear you well.
The ability to adjust the voice of speech for you to be heard in a different setting is a skill on its own. It is critical to effective communication.
When your speaking voice is too loud, it may seem too disrespectful to your audience, and this is not a good way to achieve effective communication. When it’s too low, then obviously you make your audience get frustrated for trying hard and still failing to hear the words coming out of your mouth.
5. Giving and receiving feedback
Feedback should be able to provide answers to questions, solve a problem or provide meaningful ideas to the situation on the ground. It does not come easy for some people to get used to giving constructive feedback, and unfortunately, they miss out on one of the most useful communication skills, especially in organizations where such continuous and valuable feedback can have an incredible effect on operations, quality assurance, and the bottom line.
Ability to share and understand others emotion is a critical skill. You will be able to better understand other people’s emotion and, at the same time, be able to provide a suitable response by mastering this skill. For example, if someone is feeling down, you will be able to know through his or her reactions, and you will come up with something to cheer the person up.
In any form of gathering the ability to allow others to speak without unnecessary interruptions is an instrumental skill that is attached to respect. An essential aspect of respect is your ability to know or realize when to initiate a conversation and when to respond.
Examples of Life Situations where Communication Skills Are Vital
As I mentioned before, Communication skills are essential for all parts of life:
On a professional level, when you are seeking jobs or expecting a promotion at your place of work, one of the critical competitive advantages that you want to possess is excellent communication skills. Communication skills are highly required to speak appropriately to a large number of people with different backgrounds while maintaining good eye contact, channel your language to the audience and demonstrate a good vocabulary, listen attentively, properly table your ideas, provide concise and clear writing, and perform well in a group.
Undoubtedly, these skills are amongst the ones that most employers seek from their employees. The importance of communication skills increases as there is progress in your career. For most managers and leaders, the ability to communicate; combining speaking, writing, and listening is vital. I have a separate article about communication skills for the workplace with really cool tips, check it out.
Good communication skills are capable of having a positive effect on your personal relationships by helping you to understand what others are trying to say and at the same time be understood. Personal relationships need communication. Failure to communicate well has led to the breakdown of a large number of relationships, what the people involved fail to realize is that listening ability is essential and a vital element.
Communication is also an essential factor in extended families, whether you want to discuss plans for a celebration or holiday, or ensure that the family is well and okay. One with communication skills has an advantage in the handling of organizations and business transactions.
In this life, you will at some point come in contact with and also interact with various organizations and institutions of different categories such as businesses, government offices, shops, and schools. Having proper communication skills can make these interactions easier, and would guarantee that your message is being delivered to the intended destination and in the right way.
If you are sending the information, then you will need to start the communication process, ask questions to see if your listeners are flowing with you. Attention must not be paid to the replies of the listener, your main aim is to pass information.
If you are in the position to receive the message, you should listen attentively and check to see if you understand the message the sender is trying to pass.
Now, if you are on a conversation then, more than anything your listening skills, and respectful attitude towards your audience, or the person who is speaking to you will be the most important communication skills you will use to ensure that you understand others well enough to provide valuable feedback and insights into the conversation.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Constant practice and experience can help you develop excellent communication skills, but most importantly you will need to identify your strength and capitalize on it with consistent practice in order to develop it. In order to improve your communication skills you can try to put some of the following:
Practice helps to improve communication habits
Communication skills are habits you have nurtured over time. There is room for improvement in those skills by adopting these new habits will make you communicate better. This includes having high response during communication periods when they are passed across, maintaining eye contact, giving positive feedback is essential and also asking questions.
Attend communication skills workshops or classes
Many mediums can help you to become a better communicator such as online and offline seminars, classes and workshops. Instructions, role-play, written assignments and open discussions are the contents of these classes that are designed to improve your communication skills. Check out my post on top free online public speaking classes for some ideas.
Learn to look out for opportunities to communicate
Anything that requires you to make use of your communication skills should be looked out for. This way you will be able to practice and master new skills and become conversant with them. They will become part of you.
Communication skills can also influence how one learns
You master how to engage in public speaking through conversations we create, answering various questions and giving your thoughts and opinions. Many prominent and successful organizations in the world are well aware that good communication in all areas is critical if they are to attain high heights in the business world of today. Here’s a list of some benefits that can be achieved by organizations through effective communication, they are as follows;
- Upturn in productivity
- Compelling corporate materials
- The workflow will be more precise and more streamlined
- Sound business relationships
- Successful response ensured
- Decision making will be strong
THE BOTTOM LINE
Communication is required for everything we do in this life. There can’t be a life without communication, such life will be meaningless. Your ability to communicate and understand people makes you a better person, a man who can speak several languages of different countries is considered an asset or a famous person because he is capable of blending into such society without anyone noticing where he is truly from.
During our lifetime, we will meet a lot of people who do not know how to communicate and pass their messages even if you both speak the same language, they might be saying one thing and mean another thing. Unfortunately, the way we speak sometimes defines who we are. And we can lose out on a lot of opportunities if we can not effectively express ourselves and showcase our true value.
If you are interested in learning more about business communication, or the type of communication you should use at the workplace, to stand out and get promoted in your career, or simply to be able to better interact or relate with others, please check my other articles on the topic.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
UDEMY Communication Courses. https://www.udemy.com/topic/communication-skills/. Accessed on 03/19/2019.
Karen Hertzberg. What are the most effective communication skills to have. https://www.grammarly.com/blog/effective-communication-skills/. Accessed on 03/19/2019.