Effective communication is one of the critical skills in life that you will master but sadly, we don’t put enough effort into it. If it is about interacting better within your social circle of friends you need to hone those communication skills of yours or want speak up in meetings so that your ideas are heard, communication skills are key.
So how can you improve them, read on below to find out how?
1. Ask Questions and Repeat the Other Person
We all drift off to someplace when hearing other people and in the process mishears them. How to navigate past this barrier? It is by repeating what the other person said, and when you repeat this tells the other person that you were listening all this while.
When you are listening, you are then able to ask questions related to the subject matter at hand and can then act accordingly in light what’s expected of you. There will remain no room for misunderstandings or confusion.
This practice is also helpful during small talk. Asking questions and repeating what the person has said can fill in those blanks where often awkward silences ensue. Remember, it is more vital to be interested than being interesting.
2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Conversation Fillers
The “aam’s”, “uh’s” and “err’s” are all conversation fillers. By eliminating them from your conversation you can greatly enhance the quality of your communication. When you incorporate such conversation fillers in your talk, it makes you appear as nervous and unsure about what you are saying or is about to say.
Thus, look to have a conversation without these fillers and you will find that during the conversation you are oozing with confidence. You can also cut down on these fillers by monitoring the count of how many times you bring them into the conversation. In addition, you can take your hands out of the pocket or by pausing and relaxing before carrying on with the conversation to rid yourself off “um” or “like”.
3. Have a Script for Small Talk and Other Occasions
Small talk is not everybody’s cup of tea. It is an art few have mastered. So if you are not good at small talk it is advisable to have a plan in place. The plan is called ‘FORD’ (family, occupation, recreation dreams). These are the topics that small talk revolve around and with ‘FORD’ you can come up with topics to talk on.
The small talk will no longer remain an awkward silence. Small talk can be beneficial for people to help identify common interests and know more about each other personally. These small talks, before you know it, can take the shape of long term relations.
4. Put Away the Distractions
Need I say more? Not only it is downright rude when the other person is talking to you and you are looking in your mobile screens but it also defeats the purpose of clear communication. I blame technology the most. Our heavy reliance on these devices has made us vulnerable to distractions.
5. Tailor Your Message to Your Audience
You cannot expect a kindergarten kid to solve an integration problem, similarly, you cannot tell the same message in the same manner to audiences of a wide variety. If you are speaking at a convention of professors, lecturers, scientists and researchers, the tone and the message will have to be carefully crafted so as to mental caliber.
If it is a conference for young adults who are about to graduate the message will have to be imparted in a casual manner packed with some humor here and there or else they will lose the interest. So be mindful of this point when communicating – know thy audience before speaking.
6. Tell a Story
Storytelling is a powerful tool. It appeals to our brains and make sales presentations less boring or dry and instead turns them into a motivational speech of some kind. You can even ace interviews by integrating stories during your conversation with the interviewer.
Stories do not have to be stories as in story books but rather analogies to make your point reach across the listener/audience. There is a course in the Art of Storytelling by Pete Docter who tells how it rules the Pixar studios or simply you can increase the usage of “but” in your narration and you will something of a story to amaze with.
7. Watch Your Body Language
When you tell your partner that you are listening and is open to correction but yet you cross your arms, it means that you aren’t ready. Non-verbal cues in the form of body language and/or gestures says it all conveying to the other party how much prepared are you for ”discussion”.
In order to improve on your non-verbal/non-written cues, you should start to work on maintaining your eye contact with the other party. You can also adopt a power pose before commencing the discussion with your partner to give yourself an edge in the talk that is to follow.