Good communication is key to all relationships – work, school, play, family, and friends. When you learn how to communicate effectively, you will help yourself in all of these realms. Practicing good communication skills at work will transfer to better communication skills in your home life. It’s a win-win. So what are the secrets to good communication skills? Here are four to start you on your way:
Awareness is key.
With so much information at our fingertips, sometimes it is difficult to stay aware of the information right in front of us. That is, it’s really easy to focus on the virtual world and ignore certain cues in the real world. Staying aware of your real surroundings can be really key in regards to communication. Understanding things, like body language, facial expression, and tone of voice, are key to communicating effectively. Of course, understanding those things and being in tune with them requires an awareness of the real world that is crucial to communication.
When you are communicating, it is crucial that you communicate specifically. However, specificity does not mean that you have to be wordy. All the specificity in the world won’t matter if you are so long-winded that people stop paying attention. In other words, what you really have to do is learn to communicate specifically and concisely.
Although, when you communicate, you are trying to communicate your own ideas, communication is a two-way street. In order to really hear what the other person is saying, it is necessary to be open-minded. You need to hear what they are really saying instead of what you want them to be saying. Plus, hearing opposing views can be really helpful, both for challenging your own views and preconceived notions and for forcing you to develop additional arguments to support your views.
Be a listener.
Even if your role in the conversation is to communicate a message and not necessarily to hear a message – like if you’re a boss giving your employee orders – it is still good to play the role of a listener some of the time. It simply isn’t effective to broadcast what you have to say without being prepared for feedback or a dialogue. As a leader, it is also important to make it clear to your subordinates that you will listen – otherwise they might not come to you when they detect that there are problems.