The Business Dictionary defines communication as:
"In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places. In business, it is a key function of management - an organisation cannot operate without communication between levels, departments and employees."
Communication is a skill we will all need to use at some point, whether it is for work, study or in social situations. This blog will explore some of the ways to display good communication, the qualities of a good communicator and how to improve your communication skills.
Ways to display good communication
1. Listening - it will always be difficult to understand a conversation if you fail to listen. If you are the only contributor when communicating with someone, you need to rethink your methodology. Why? Because coming across as someone who only wants to chat chat chat and not listen to anything anyone else is saying can not only come across as rude, but also fails to portray any teamwork skills you possess.
2. Non-verbal communication - this refers to eye contact, body language, hand gestures and tone of voice. This may not seem as important as verbal communication, but in fact, it is actually more important. All of these factors help to convey a message.
- Looking someone in the eye is vital to show engagement, but try not to stare!
- Body language needs to be open so that you seem more approachable and easy to talk to.
- Hand gestures can help to indicate someone's mood, so this is something to look out for in others when they use them to back up their verbal communication.
- Tone of voice is a key indication of mood. If someone is speaking in a monotone, you know they are bored. Similarly, a salesperson might be enthusiastic a lot of the time as they are trying to get you to make a purchase.
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3. Clarity - this refers to ensuring you are clear, especially when speaking to people that may not have the same level of expertise as you in a particular area. Don't make people feel stupid; but at the same time, ensure that your word choices cater for all levels of knowledge.
4. Concision - this means talking enough but not too much. Rambling on can make people bored and disinterested in what you have to say.
5. Confidence - this shows others that you believe in what you are saying and will follow through. Consequently, people have more confidence and trust in you that you will deliver.
6. Empathy - it is inevitable that you will disagree with what someone else says at some point when communicating in whatever setting it is. However, it is still important to empathise and show the person that you still understand what they are saying even though you may not entirely agree.
7. Respect - people will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. For example:
- using a person's name
- making eye contact
- actively listening
8. Feedback - being able to give and accept feedback is a crucial element of communication, especially in the workplace. Giving feedback doesn't always have to be negative, and positive comments can really stimulate motivation. On the other hand, being able to accept feedback graciously, even when it might be negative, is a key communication skill.
9. Friendliness - it is important to come across as polite in both spoken and written communication. Rapport is a key element of business nowadays and you won't be able to build it if you are rude!
10. Choice - this refers to deciding what form of communication to use. This will vary depending on many different factors:
- Who are you communicating with?
- Where are they from?
- What resources are required?
- What type of communication set up is it?
Answering these questions will help you to make the best choice.
Qualities of a good communicator
1. Listens - this is probably the most important communication skill because when problem solving, multiple brains are better than one so listening to other ideas before jumping to a conclusion increases the chances of success.
2. Knows the audience - adapting to the audience is another key quality because a good communicator needs to cater their communication methods, non-verbal styles and word choices to the audience they are communicating to.
3. Keeps to the point - being concise is another key skill to assist in avoiding boredom and confusion amongst the listeners.
4. Displays confidence - again, a key quality of a good communicator is confidence because it is contagious and having confidence in yourself will give others confidence in you.
5. Uses the correct methods - technology has provided us with new methods of communication. A good communicator will know what the best method to use is in order to maximise the potential of the conversation. For example, in a meeting situation, is it better to have face to face communication or is it more feasible to have a video conference?
Photo by Teemu Paananen / Unsplash
How to improve your communication skills
1. Give something valuable - whenever presenting or communicating with a group of people, always ask yourself beforehand: "how will I add value?" People are more likely to remember you and the messages you deliver if they feel that you have impacted them in a positive way.
2. Become an active listener - there are a few ways to display active listening skills:
- Pay attention and acknowledge the message.
- Show that you are listening and use non-verbal techniques to show engagement.
- Provide feedback to show that you have understood what the speaker has said.
- Respond appropriately to what they have said; for example, if they say something particularly moving or influential, an applause may be appropriate.
3. Don't feel the need to comment on everything - whilst some may say making comments shows understanding, commenting on everything that someone says can become annoying and rude as it may seem like you are interrupting them. Be mindful of when and what you comment on. This goes for when you are speaking too about a particular topic: decide what areas you are going to focus on and stick to them!
4. Prepare in advance - if you are going to be speaking about a particular topic, say for a presentation, plan what you will say in advance and practice it. Make sure that it is concise, covers the information required and that you come across as confident but friendly.
6. Smile - smiling draws people in and makes them listen more deeply and understand what you are trying to say. It also instills confidence in other speakers that may be under pressure if you smile at them. Smiling is such a simple, but underused communication skill.
Photo by Lesly Juarez / Unsplash
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