As most of us would accept, communication is an essential part not only for successful work life, but also in the personal life as well. When talking about productivity tools, experts are of the opinion that learning how to maintain a good communication skill is highly important, but it is a tool that it mostly neglected too.
The important point to remember is that poor communication can often bring negative results not only in your professional life, but also your personal life as well. Some of the disastrous results of improper communication are:
- Lack of goal achievement
- Lack of career development
- Unproductive teamwork
- Ineffective meetings
- Injured feelings and
- Lost time.
To become effective communicators, it becomes important that people should be aware of a few fundamental tips that can be used in our work and life interactions.
Ways to Improve Communication Skills
So, regardless of whether you want to improve this skill in your work life or personal life, here are the 10 proven ways to improve the skill:
1. Show appreciation:
Before getting into conversation, it is better to show your thanks towards the other individual for his/her time with you. As you know, time is highly precious and so you should never forget to show you are considerate and give respect to time.
Also, do not forget to recognize or complement any positive contribution made by the individual or group of people to whom you are talking to. When it comes to developing a good rapport, praise and appreciation can go a long way.
If possible, you can connect on a personal level to an individual to whom you wish to communicate well. You can look for areas, where interests overlap and even in professional situations, there can be some personal interests in common like children, sports and hobbies.
However, it is better to keep away from controversial topics like politics and religious beliefs.
3. Stay positive:
It is important to maintain a positive attitude to be an effective communicator. Rather than being complaining and negative, when you are constructive, people will come forward to express their ideas with you.
Otherwise, when they feel criticized and attacked, they will never lend their ears to you, thinking that you are always criticizing others. Whenever, you wish to express your displeasure and concern, it is better to be kind and encouraging.
4. Tone is important:
It is true that you need to be assertive when expressing your thoughts. But, do not be aggressive here. Remember that there is a fine line between the two and you should never try to cross this line.
You should be direct and confident, but should not be aggressive in your tone. You should maintain a co-operative and calm tone when you are talking to your subordinates in your office or even your spouse at home.
5. Result is also important:
It is crucial to focus on the outcome after you converse with somebody. When you know your objective, you can remain to the point. Consider the following things before you start your conversation:
- Do you want to get advice or whether you want to influence the behaviour of others?
- Do you want to get/give help, collaborate with others or whether you want to resolve a conflict?
When you have answers to these questions in your mind, you can effectively communicate what you want to. When you are more focused on the outcome, you can talk accordingly to achieve your goals, but not in an authoritative or arrogant manner.
When you are conversing with others, it is important to maintain effective eye contact. Be polite, not to interrupt when others are talking. This is because no one likes to be interrupted.
Of course, you will be interested in putting forth your thought on the points expressed by others, but completely listen what they want to share and then show your dislike or agreement to the points expressed.
You will be in a position to listen to others, only when you maintain an open mind. Understanding how to value the viewpoint of others is highly important in effective communication.
7. Notice non-verbal cues:
When you are talking with somebody, you should be careful about maintaining a healthy body language. For instance, fidgeting, distraction and lack of eye contact is generally considered to be signs of impatience and restlessness.
Sighing and yawning are generally signs of physical and mental fatigue. When you are conversing with somebody and finds that the individual expresses these signs, remember that the conversation is not going to be productive.
It is better to quickly wrap up the conversation or postpone it to some other days. Even, if your relationship allows, you can ask the person about the reason behind the discomfort.
8. Request feedback:
Confirm whether both of you have mutual understanding of what is being communicated. Most of us generally think that we have reached a resolution and come to an understanding, but the fact is that we have completely misunderstood the thoughts of other people.
So, it is better to ask for input and feedback from others when you have communicated something. This will give you a sense of satisfaction that you have communicated well. Also, the other people will also feel that their understanding is given importance.
For ensuring effective communication, follow-up is something that becomes important. It is better to be clear about the actions to be taken to establish accountability.
It is better to confirm, expectations, responsibility and deadlines. If relevant, it is better to enter any agreements in written format. When you have a clear idea about what is supposed to happen next, it will be helpful in avoiding conflicts in the later stages.
10. Friendly conclusion:
Not only from the beginning, it is better to ensure that your conversation ends up in an effective manner. This means that when you close up the deal in a friendly manner, the other parties will be happy that you value their feelings.
To conclude, productive communication is something that involves clarity, consideration, awareness, respect and consideration. It is possible to be both direct and kind and still you can get the results for sure.