Communication is the essence of any relationship. Whether it is personal, professional or business level, you need to learn how to communicate effectively. Lack of good communication skills can bring down even the most established companies or relationships.
Strategies on how to become an effective communicator
- Learn how to listen:
You can only communicate when you understand what the other person is trying to communicate. Listening goes beyond the spoken word. You should be able to see through the spoken word and look for the non verbals. Resist the urge to chip in with comments and observations before the other person is done talking.
- Be aware of the environment:
Your communication depends on your audience and the context upon which you are communicating. If you are talking to teenagers, it would be inappropriate to make adult jokes. At the same time, when you are communicating with children, you should make your language simple and easy to communicate. Other factors that influence communication include personality of the person you are communicating with, power distance, among other factors. You should also know that different cultures communicate differently, so you should be aware of the sensitivities in the cultures before you start communication. For instance, it is perfectly okay to point at someone when talking in other cultures, while for some, it is regarded as disrespectful.
- Be brief
No matter how interesting you think you are, and how passionate you are about the subject, you should always be brief and to the point. If you are winding, whether in written or verbal communication, chances are that people will zone out.
- Research on the topic you are talking about:
Research is especially important when you are giving a presentation or talking to a group on a specific subject. You can only do a good job in communication if you understand the topic well. Other than the topic you are covering, you should have some general knowledge on several topics so that you do not get thrown off when people start talking about general information.
- Ask for clarifications:\
If you feel you may have misunderstood a point, feel free to ask for clarifications. It is better to get a clarification than for you to assume and be wrong. Politely let the person you are communicating with that they may have to clarify a point. Questions such as: “I am sorry, but do you mean….” go a long way in ensuring that you fully understand what the other person is saying.
- Have limits:
You should set reasonable limits so that you can know when to tone down, especially when you sense that an argument is forthcoming. You should always be in control of your emotions and know when you and the person you are communicating with starts to get agitated. Try as much as possible not to get agitated when communicating.
- Check on your wording:
For effective communication, you should be very precise with your language and wording. Avoid sounding uncertain by using words like: “maybe, perhaps, I guess….” many times in your conversation. Instead, you should use words that make you sound authoritative and sure of what you are talking about.
Communication is a skill that is built over time. As long as you are certain of what you want to convey, you can then start working on how to convey it.