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Did you know that two out of three young Americans believe they’re lacking in basic social skills, including effective communication?
As the world becomes increasingly digital and the way we communicate shifts from in-person chats to phone calls to quick messages, it’s not strange that we’re losing our grasp on effective communication. With more and more people relying on digital communication, speaking to people becomes much harder.
Moreover, if you’re running a business but you’re lacking in communication skills, things are going to be just that much more difficult for you.
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Luckily, your communication skills aren’t lost forever. With some practice and great tips, you can become a master of the spoken word and use it to breeze through life and be more successful in your business.
So start learning today our tips for how to communicate effectively.
1. Effective Communication Starts With Nonverbal Signals
If you’re working on effective communication skills, it might surprise you to hear that you should start with your nonverbal signals. These are actually just as important as the words you’re saying. One study even found that, when watching presenters, their nonverbal signals accounted for 55% of the audience’s perception of them.
To make sure you’re communicating clearly and with confidence, you need to make sure you have proper posture and look at who you’re talking to directly. Fill up the space you’re given and move around if it’s appropriate, using a few hand gestures to accentuate your points. Also, avoid folding your arms and slouching, which will make you appear smaller and less confident.
Make sure your face and tone reflect what you’re talking about, too. For example, if you’re having a lighthearted conversation, smile and lift your voice to a happier tone. If it’s serious, a small frown can indicate concentration and help your audience understand the tone of the conversation.
2. Don’t Do All the Talking
No matter what situation you’re in, try not to spend the whole time talking. Even if you’re doing a presentation, it’s important that you engage the audience and interact with them. Ask a question and wait for a response, encouraging people to add their own input and feel like they’re part of the conversation, not simply being spoken at.
If you’re in a one-on-one conversation, this is just as important. No one wants to listen to someone else go on and on. So make sure to ask questions, leave spaces for the other person to talk, and don’t make it an entirely one-sided conversation. If you do, the person you’re speaking to will quickly get bored.
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3. Always Take Time to Listen
When it comes to effective communication techniques, it’s not all about talking. Listening to the person you’re communicating with is more important than speaking yourself. Therefore, make sure you’re a good listener before a good speaker. Rather than waiting for your chance to jump in and speak, be patient and take the time to listen.
Effective listening is mainly about focusing your attention. Make sure you’re completely focused on what the other person is saying and try to understand them. Keep eye contact and give nods or audible responses. And definitely don’t start doing something else while they talk.
Even if you disagree with what this person is saying, don’t interrupt. Let them talk and, once they’re finished, express your own opinions. It might be frustrating, but it’ll do wonders for your communication skills.
4. Tailor Your Communication to Be More Effective
What is effective communication? To us, it’s the method of sharing ideas with others clearly and confidently. As not everyone thinks the same or has the same knowledge, that means tailoring the way you communicate to suit each individual.
For example, Bob from accounts might understand financial jargon when you talk together, but Dave from design? Forget it! That means that you need to switch from this more complex, jargon-filled speech to a simpler, more basic, more effective level of communication.
Every time you talk to someone, you need to consider their level of understanding. For example, you can’t talk to a child in the same way you’d talk to an adult. Moreover, you can’t talk to a room of people who know nothing about quantum physics in the same way you’d talk to a physicist. This is vital for leadership and communication skills, where the people you’re leading might not understand as much about a topic as you do.
You should also consider your relationship with the person you’re talking to. For example, when talking to a boss, landlord, or professional, you should keep up a polite, formal way of talking. However, this is likely to be entirely different to how you’d talk to your friends—as it should be.
Tailor your conversations to your audience and you’ll instantly find your communication improves, making for effective communication in the workplace and out in the world.
5. Don’t Let Your Emotions Lead the Way
It can be hard not to let your emotions get in the way of effective communication, but it’s something everyone has to learn. No matter how heated an argument or how difficult a discussion, never let your emotions get the best of you. Don’t shout, don’t storm out, and don’t swear at your boss!
No one will take you seriously if you get angry every time a serious conversation comes up. Instead, try and remain calm, taking time to think about your reactions before you simply react. Listen, acknowledge the other person’s views, and try being diplomatic about a way to move forward.
You don’t want to act in a way you might later regret, so stay calm.
Start Practicing Your New Skills
Effective communication doesn’t come easily to anyone. If you hear a good speaker, chances are they’ve spent a whole lot of time perfecting their skills. To become a talented talker, start practicing with the tips we’ve shared with you.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out more on our website. We have tons of tips to help you grow a successful business and become your own boss.
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