Effective communication is at the heart of great relationships, be it at home or at work. Often, we do not put too much effort into how we communicate because we think it will come to us naturally.
How we communicate is, to an extent influenced by our social surroundings. This means that we can communicate without much conscious effort. This, however, does not mean that the way we communicate is effective.
Like all other life skills, communication has to be honed; this means practice and conscious effort to become better at it. Whether you want to communicate better at home or at work, here are some tips that can help you to become a better communicator.
This is perhaps one of the most essential tips when it comes to effective communication. How well you listen determines the quality of conversations you have with people. Deep listening is important not only to obtain surface information but to understand what the information means and to capture any underlying meaning through non-verbal. This means that listening is not just about hearing; it is about reading one’s tone, facial expressions, gestures and even the choice of words. Listening deeply takes mindfulness and it is a skill that you must constantly cultivate.
Ask questions and give feedback
Communication is two-way traffic. Therefore, it is important that you give the other party feedback whenever necessary. When giving feedback, be as specific and timely as possible. Similarly, do not be afraid to seek clarification if you do not understand something. Ask relevant questions. The right questions can help to keep the conversation moving but they also indicate that you are interested in what the other party is saying.
Know your audience and tailor the message
People in the communication business will probably tell you that even the greatest of messages sent to the wrong audience is useless. Here is a simple example. Imagine you have been tasked to talk to a group of four-year-olds about the political system in your country. How would you tailor your message so that your audience understands it? Is it the same way you would package your information if you had to talk to a group of university graduates? Probably not. So, knowing your audience is a very crucial step in ensuring that your message is understood.
Being specific requires that you know exactly what you want to say and how to say. The what is easier to figure out than the why. Making a few talking points can help you to overcome nervousness and to say what you want to say in the best way possible. This can be especially helpful when you are approaching people for the first time and in work environments. If it helps, you can even practice.
Watch your non-verbal cues
Communicating effectively is very much about non-verbal cues as it is about the words you see. Simply put, non-verbal cues reinforce your message. Both your verbal and non-verbal cues should be in Sync. Watch your tone of voice, make eye contact, make relevant gestures and nod whenever necessary. An occasional smile can also indicate to the other person that you are a warm person which could boost their interest in what you are saying.
Are there any tips that you have found to be particularly useful to you? Share with us your experience in the comments section.