Communication Skills

Verbal Communcation

Effective communication:

  • Helps us better understand a person or situation

  • Enables us to resolve differences

  • Builds trust and respect

  • Creates environments where creative ideas, problem solving, and caring can flourish

 

As simple as communication seems, much of what we try to communicate to others—and what others try to communicate to us—gets misunderstood, which can cause conflict and frustration in personal and professional relationships. By learning these effective communication skills, you can better connect with your family, friends, and coworkers.

Ways to improve communication skills:

  • Use proper English and limit the use of slang, especially in the workplace.

  • Greet people . Smile at everyone and say hello; family, friends, coworkers, teachers, bosses and customers. Smiles contagious.

  • Use your manners; Say “Thank You”, “Please”, and “You’re welcome.” People respond more positively when they feel they are being respected and manner help to convey this.

  • While talking to others, your voice and tone should be audible and soothing. It should not be aggressive, sarcastic or in a shouting mode.

  • Political and religious comments must be avoided at all costs in the workplace

  • Your communication should not provoke others. 

  • Do not speak ill of others.

  • Become an “Active Listener”

Non-Verbal Communcation: Body Language
  • Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate.

  • From our facial expressions to our body movements, the things we don't say can still convey volumes of information.

  • Body language is thought to account for between 50 to 70 percent of all communication.

  • Understanding body language is important, but remember to note other cues such as context rather than focusing on a single action.

Non-Verbal Behavior (Body Language) Interpretation

TED Talk:

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

by Amy Cuddy

Active Listening

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

  • We listen to obtain information.

  • We listen to understand.

  • We listen for enjoyment.

  • We listen to learn.

The way to become a better listener is to practice "active listening." This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent.

 

Becoming an Active Listener

1. Pay Attention

Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize the speaker's non-verbal communication.

  • Look directly at the speaker

  • Try to put aside distracting thoughts

  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors like noise or others talking

  • "Listen" to the speaker's body language. (see above)

 

2. Show That You're Listening

Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

  • Nod occasionally

  • Smile and use other facial expressions

  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting

  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments

 

3. Provide Feedback

As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect  and ask questions.

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing: "What I'm hearing is...." and "It sounds like you are saying..."

  • Ask questions to clarify certain points: "What do you mean when you say....?" "Is this what you mean?"

  • Every now and then summarize the speaker's comments.

 

4. Defer Judgment

Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. Interrupting is a waste of time; it frustrates the speaker and interrupts the "flow"

  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions

  • When asking questions, consider if your question is personal or for the good of the group

  • Don't interrupt with arguments

 

5. Respond Appropriately

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.

  • Be candid, open, and honest in your response

  • Assert your opinions respectfully

  • Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated

It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. Old habits are hard to break. Be deliberate with your listening and remind yourself frequently that your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying. Set aside all other thoughts and behaviors and concentrate on the message. Start using active listening today to become a better communicator, improve your workplace productivity, and develop better relationships.