5 Skills for Effective Communication
In the age of information, we send, receive and process numerous numbers of messages every hour of every day. While communication may be forced to just exchanging communication, the purpose of effective communication extends beyond just that. It inculcates the need to appreciate the emotion hidden behind the exchanged information.
Effective communication that’s also meaningful helps with relationships at home, work place and other social gatherings. It brings about this effect by deepening our connections with others and improving our teamwork, decision-making and problem solving skills.
Skill #1: Listen!
One important habit of effective communicators is that they listen. To be a successful listener is not just to understand the information provided, but to appreciate the emotion behind it. To be a good listener, one must:
- Not interrupt
- Make the speaker feel heard and understood
- Avoid seeming judgmental
- Focus ENTIRELY on the speaker
Skill #2: Body Language
You tell your significant other you’re ready to discuss a rather sensitive topic, but your arms are crossed. You say you’re paying full attention but you haven’t once looked up from your phone. We might not notice it as much, but our non-verbal cues reveal much more about our real feelings than our verbal ones. It could be as simple as eye contact, or the way we place our hands; but it all matters. Don’t forget that even when you’re not saying anything, you’re still communicating!
To improve the non-verbal aspect of your communication, focus on others’ body language and act accordingly. These might be helpful:
- Use gestures that match with your words
- Adjust your gestures with your context
- Make use of body language to convey positive feelings.
Skill #3: Get Rid of Conversation Fillers
Let’s be frank: How far have your “um’s” and “ah’s” gotten you in the world of communication? They do little to improve your speech and contribute negatively in making a conversation interesting. One to way to get rid of these unnecessary conversation fillers is by keeping track of whenever you make use of them. Other way is to try taking a short pause before you say anything, or getting your hands out of your pockets to ease it up. Trust me, those silences seem more awkward to you than to others.
Skill #4: Ask Questions!
We’ve all been in the situation where one moment your friend seems fine and the next they’re sobbing on your shoulder. You have no idea what just happened because it looks like you missed something. It happens to all of us. We lost track, we mishear or our lives just get ahead of our friendships. There is always the option of asking questions to clarify. It also makes the other person feel that you’re genuinely interested. Also try repeating the last few words of their sentences to keep from losing track of the conversation.
Skill #5 Get Rid of the Distractions
Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you’re trying to make conversation with someone and they barely look up from their phones? Almost everyone feels the same with distractions like those. When you’re talking to someone, or hanging out with them, it’s best to give them your full attention, and therefore best to put away any distractions like your phone. I’m not saying shut it off and don’t even touch it for the rest of the day, but keep its use to the very minimum! In fact try our Digital Detox and you’ll start to enjoy spending time with your friends and family without getting bothered by beep of every notification.
Let HTV know how your communication is going in the comments below!