Positive Steps to Improve Your Communication Skills
Communication is defined according to Merrian – Webster Dictionary as a verbal or written message in which information is transmitted. In order to communicate effectively, it is vital to all concerned that accurate information is exchanged between all parties. To alleviate any misunderstanding between parties, it is very important that proper communication take place to avoid any misunderstandings that could cause harm in a personal or business arrangement.The following recommended steps are very important to insure that the information is passed to all concerned correctly:
1. Listen, listen and listen - people want to know that they are being heard. Really listen to what the other person is saying, instead of formulating your response. At that moment, the person speaking to you should be the most important person in your life. Also, only have one conversation at a time. It is important for the other person to know that they have your undivided attention. If need be, ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings.
2. Who you are talking to matters - in all formal settings, effective communicators always target their message based on who they are speaking to. Therefore, keep the other person in mind, when you're trying to get your message across. In an informal setting, the use of acronyms is okay if you know for sure that they will be understood.
3. Body language matters - make sure you appear accessible, so have open body language. This means that you should not cross your arms. Also, keep eye contact so that the other person knows that you are paying attention. This is very important for face-to-face meetings and videoconferencing.
4. Check your message before you hit send - while spelling and grammar checkers are lifesavers, however they are not always foolproof. Double check what you have written, to make sure that your words are communicating the intended message.
5. Be brief, yet specific - when communicating verbally or in writing practice being brief yet specific enough that you provide enough information to understand what you're trying to say. When responding to email, make sure you read the entire email before granting your response. Continued practice will teach you not to ramble, or give away too much information.
6. Write things down - when in a meeting or talking to another person, you should take notes and not rely on your memory. Another cautionary method would be to send follow-up email to ensure that you understand what was said.
7. Sometimes it's better to pick up the phone - when there is a lot to say, it is probably better to call instead. It could prove to be beneficial for both parties.
8. Think before you speak - pausing before you speak will allow you to provide the
necessary information, rather than saying the first thing that comes to mind. Pay close attention to what you say and how you say it, and this one habit will allow you to avoid embarrassments.
9. Treat everyone equally - do not talk down to anyone, treating everyone with respect. Treat others as your equal.
10. Maintain a positive attitude and smile - when you smile often and exude a positive attitude, people will respond positively to you. Even when you are speaking on the phone, smile because your positive attitude will shine through and be recognized by the person you are talking to.
When you take a look at the greatest leaders, one of the traits they possess, is the ability to communicate effectively, which underscores the importance of communication skills.
In closing, I feel the following quotes are very appropriate to the above discussion:
"If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."
"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said."
"Without communication, there is no relationship, without respect, there is no love,
without trust, there's no reason to continue. " - Louisanawild
"The biggest communication problem is we don't listen to understand. We listen to reply." - Tresssugar
Finally, I firmly believe that if everyone could utilize the recommendations listed above. It could prove to be beneficial to many people. I am sure that it will never alleviate every problem that is created when communication is not understood by all. However, it should go a long way to solving problems created when misunderstandings occur.
I leave you with this...........................................until next time!!!!