What passes for effective communication skills has changed dramatically. Or has it? Sure, the methods have become increasingly high tech. This means more than a few communication tweaks. But the basic guidelines remain the same.
However, the basic guidelines remain the same.
The Basics of Effective Communication Skills
1. Active listening
Listening is more than waiting for your turn to speak. To listen actively is to incorporate the following practices:
- Your full attention
- An intention to respond with understanding
2. Body language
This is one of the most underrated aspects of communication. It can be as simple as sustaining eye contact or making interest noises. The idea is to show the speaker you’re listening. Also, a welcoming and open posture makes the speaker feel more comfortable.
3. Asking questions (without interrupting)
It’s very important to connect to those with whom you’re communicating. But don’t forget- timing matters.
Effective communication skills start with desire. We have to want them and want to do what it takes to improve them. Like anything else, that means commitment and practice.
The Benefits of Effective Communication Skills
1. Less misunderstanding
Yes, this sounds obvious but it bears discussion. How many disagreements and arguments are caused by poor communication? To say “most” would be an understatement.
2. Deeper and closer relationships
Communication is a process. A relationship is a process. When they develop together, the results can be very enriching.
3. Less anxiety
How often have you wondered and worried about being misunderstood? Do you blame yourself when conflicts happen? Give it your all while listening and speaking. This won’t guarantee agreement. But it can ease your mind and help you develop your skills further.
4. Financial success
In the business world, communication rules the day. People need details in a clear and efficient manner. As your skills improve, you will notice a corresponding change in your business/career interactions.
How to Obtain Effective Communication Skills
Now, back to asking how much you want to improve. In the age of smartphones, it’s easier than ever to coast concerning communication. We’re all getting used to less-than-stellar interaction. Do you want to be a more well-rounded individual? Is it important to you to make deeper connections in all parts of your life? If so, you’ll make this happen.
Each day offers us a chance to improve. Every email, text, and chat message is an opportunity. Of course, the bigger lessons are learned during actual conversation. Don’t take any of this for granted. Practice and hone your skills. Find a role model. Find someone in your life with effective communication skills. Watch them and learn from them.
No one can fully avoid disagreements and misunderstandings. When these moments happen, use them productively. At first, you may experience frustration, shame, anger, or blame. But later, with reflection, the teaching moments happen. In the classroom of life, be hungry and humble about learning.
4. Being authentic
At the end of the day, be yourself. Others will connect with you if they recognize you being authentic. It’s not about perfection. It’s never about perfection. No one perfects communication skills but we can all be real. Let the world see who you are.
Ask for guidance
First, it was the Internet. Then, along came smartphones. We communicate faster than ever but definitely not better than ever. There are many reasons for this. Some of those reasons are personal and specific to you. Working with a therapist to unpack your communication style is a positive step. Learning more about yourself can help you with any and all of your skills.
Communication is necessary for all facets of life so it’s a self-loving choice to seek guidance.