Chances are that we can’t remember the first ‘real’ word we said as a child, except our parents told us. As toddlers, all we did was express ourselves in different ways in other to communicate with anyone who was close by. Even at that, our parents, and those who were close to us managed to understand what we were saying, though our communication was very far from being perfect.
As grown-ups, we don’t expect people to strain or struggle to understand our communication. No one has the time for that. And, if we are not able to pass our ideas across, we put ourselves at a great disadvantage socially, emotionally and economically. That makes effective communication an important skill that everyone needs to learn. Across all works of life, be it in conversations revolving around your social life, or in getting your ideas better at work, learning how to communicate is very vital.
To improve your communications skills, here are some guides you can count on, though they might not exactly appear like they are.
Paying attention to what another person is saying is a vital communication skill. It puts you in the position to ask for clarification on what you don’t understand. At each given moment, the person speaking is the most important person to be focused on. In the words of Jill Haseltine, renowned motivational speaker and coach, “Be quiet sometimes and listen to others so your response can be most appropriate for the situation.”
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This applies more to people who communicate through writing. According to writing coach, Robin Smith, to improve your communication, you need to read all kinds of materials, including newspapers, magazines, blogs, novels, biographies, sales brochures, etc., and learn how others present their materials. In his words, “The more you read, the better you will understand communication.” By taking time to read all kinds of materials, you will be able to understand and see how other people or authors write, how they speak or how information is being passed.
Asking questions about something doesn’t make you inferior or less knowledgeable. It only shows that you' are paying attention and listening to all the other person has been saying. So, by asking a question and getting clarifications, you get a rounded understanding that is relevant to your frame of reference. It’s ok to be curious as it helps to create an open conversation, which in turn aids effective communication, whether you are at the giving or receiving end.
Maintain Eye Contact
Some of us find it very difficult to maintain eye contact when talking to the next person. A typical scenario is a person who’s not confident enough to look at the interviewer while talking about him or herself. Keeping eye may be difficult for some, but it is vital when having a conversation, as it is a revealer of deeper meanings and a crucial step that builds up to an effective communication.
Master Body Language
Studies have shown that actions speak louder than words. Sometimes, our non-verbal and non-written signs show more than we think they do. Be it through your eye contact or your comportment, you are constantly communicating, even when you are not saying a word. Most times, our body language can reveal what we are feeling, even much more than our words.
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Observe and Follow Your Mentors
Most of us have those we admire or want to be like. It is advisable you study such people, especially those with high-level skills in communication. You can choose to study the type of language they use, their tone of voice or how they move their body. Most importantly, you must realize that improving your communication skill is paramount, as it would place you at a vantage position in life and business.
Learning how to communicate effectively is possible, if only you decide to. In doing that, you must always remember that both the verbal and non-verbal components are equally important.