How Good Are Your Communication Skills?
by Joanne Troppello
Communication skills are an important factor in having successful relationships—both in your personal life and career. You need to speak, listen, write, and read well in order to enhance your communication skills.
There are three communication channels that you need to work on:
· Spoken Word
· Written Content
To communicate effectively, you need to send and receive messages the right way. This article delves into ten steps on how to improve your communication skills.
Improve Your Communication Skills with These Ten Steps
Step 1: Learn to Listen Better
Maintain good communication levels in all aspect of your life by becoming a better listener. Don’t talk over someone. Make sure you are not speaking too much and not allowing the other person to talk back.
You need to hear what the other person is saying, while actively retaining the information that is transmitted. This will improve the communication process for both the sender and receiver.
Step 2: Look the Person in the Eye
Eye contact is a vital part of communicating well with others. Not looking the other person in the eyes may indicate that you don’t care what they’re saying, or you have something to hide. Shut out distractions, such as cell phones, so you can clearly hear what the person is saying and show them that you care.
Step 3: Keep a Friendly Attitude
Body language is another important factor in productive communication. Crossing your arms shows that you are blocked off and may not be interested in listening. Be friendly and keep your hands free to gesture in an approachable attitude. Impersonal attitudes will let the person know you don’t care to listen.
Step 4: Specifically State Your Case
You need to be specific when communicating positively with others. Of course, chit chat is different. However, if you want to have an in-depth conversation with someone, you need to specifically state your case.
Focus on your goals and don’t end up veering down all types of rabbit trails. Staying focused shows the listener that you value their time and are not interested in wasting either of theirs.
Step 5: Contribute Don’t Just Receive
Find a balance between contributing positively to the conversation and not just receiving. You don’t want to be a conversation hog. A productive conversation involves a free exchange of balanced give and take. The conversation may not be split equally, but you need to fairly balance the time of sharing.
Step 6: Maintain an Open Mind
Having an in-depth conversation involves maintaining an open mind. If you are too rigid and continually focus on your own ideas, you won’t have a productive conversation.
We’re never going to agree all the time. Be prepared for that. However, don’t go into war in your conversations. Be careful to listen to the other person’s ideas and try to see the situation from their perspective. Always share your opinion in a civil manner
Step 7: Keep Your Ego Out of It
No one likes hanging out with egotistical people. I know I don’t like to speak to people like that. These types of people generally tend to dominate the conversation with an argumentative tone. Become more empathetic and keep your ego out of it.
Step 8: Understand the Context
If you want to be more empathetic like step 7 described, start to read between the lines and understand the context of the conversation. Someone may tell you that they are fine. However, their face is showing a different story. Dig deeper and find out what the person is truly feeling.
Step 9: Stick to What You Know
This step pertains more specifically to the workplace environment. Don’t conjure up facts and figures and share this as genuine information. Make sure you do your research if you need to have a deeper conversation at work where facts are important. If you don’t have all the facts, share that and finish the conversation later when you do.
Step 10: Don’t End the Conversation in Anger
Conversations that involve anger from one or both parties are not a conversation—but rather an argument. You may disagree but do it with respect for the other person and in a polite manner.
You’re never going to have a productive conversation if you allow anger to enter into it. By following steps one through nine, you are more likely to have a conversation that doesn’t involve angry emotions and outbursts.
Develop Better Communication Skills with this Resource
So, let’s circle back to the question asked in the title: how good are your communication skills?
If you want to develop better skills, follow the steps in this article. You can also take this free online communication quiz from MindTools.com. There are 15 statements to respond to and then you’ll find out how well you rate with your communication skills.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel. She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, SEO and social media, travel and lifestyle, website content, recommendations for apps, and content for blogs. Visit her Amazon Author Page for more information regarding her books. Connect on Twitter. Read more about Mustard Seed Sentinel here.