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Communication skills are key to developing and keeping strong relationships and networks. They also help you to take care of your own needs, while being respectful of the needs of others. People are not born with good communication skills; like any other skill, they are learned through trial and error and repeated practice. This means everyone can learn to communicate more clearly and effectively. You can improve the communication skills that enable you to effectively connect with others, build trust and respect, and feel heard and understood.
Communication is not just about exchanging information, it’s about understanding the emotion and interaction and intentions behind the information. Effective communication is a two-way street. It’s not only how you convey a message so that it is understood by someone the way you intended, it’s also how you listen to gain the full meaning of what is being said by the other person and to make him feel heard and understood.
Below I have shared four tips on how you can improve your communication skills;
1. Be an effective listener
Mostly people focus on what they will say but communication is more about listening than speaking. Listening well not only means understanding the words or information being communicated but also understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to communicate. By listening well, you are able to engage with what is being said and hear the subtle intonations in someone’s voice that tell you how that person is feeling and the emotions they’re trying to communicate.
You are able to build a deeper and stronger relationships if you make the other person heard and understood.
Attaining effective listening is easy if your main goal is to understand fully and connect with the other person. But if it doesn’t, focus on the speaker, his or her body language, tone of voice and other non-verbal cues. Avoid interrupting his talk or trying to redirect the conversation to your concerns. Show your interest in what is being said, set aside judgement and provide feedback.
2. Keep your stress check
People who control their emotions are able to communicate effectively. That means you should be able to manage your stress. When you are stressed, you’re more likely to misread other people, send confusing or non-verbal signals, and lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk behavior. Staying calm under pressure and being quick to relief stress during communication will help you to improve your skills in communication.
3. Have a script for Small Talk and Other Occasions
Small talk is an art that not many people have mastered. For the inevitable, awkward silences with people you hardly know, it helps to have a plan. The FORD, (family, Occupation, Recreation, Dreams) method might help you come up with topics to discuss, and you can also turn small talk into conversation by sharing information that could help you and the other person find common ground. This talk shows that you are confident and you like people. You never know, that small talk could make you happier and make you remembered. This marks the beginning of a new relationship that will be fruitful in the future.
Originally Published On Inversk Magazine