Effective Communication is an incredibly important skill that permeates every aspect of our lives. Whether we're expressing our emotions, sharing our thoughts, or collaborating with others, the need to communicate is ever-present. It's not limited to specific scenarios; rather, it is essential in our daily interactions, be it casual conversations with cleaners, engaging with chefs, interacting with supervisors, or collaborating with colleagues. Communication truly underpins our everyday existence and plays a vital role in fostering understanding, building relationships, and achieving our goals.
Here are five ways to master the art of effective communication.
- Be a good listener: “Before speaking, listen”. This is a very important quote that emphasizes the importance of active listening in the communication process. It’s required that you pay utmost attention to what the other party is trying to say or the message that’s being passed across. This can only be done by being keen about listening and understanding the point and the reason behind such a point. It’s only after you’ve comprehended their perspective, should you speak. Give your opinions, ask relevant questions, make suggestions and give your feedback calmly. It’s only when both parties share a mutual understanding of a subject matter that communication can be said to be effective. When practising active listening, here are some guidelines to consider
- Do not Interrupt
- Maintain occasional eye contact and body gestures that show you’re listening
- Be willing to learn
- Give the speaker your full attention
2. Use clear language: communication involves the exchange of information and this includes speaking, writing or talking. Regardless of the means of communication, language plays a vital role. It’s therefore important to speak in simple and clear terms. It’s also very vital to avoid using complex and difficult words that might confuse the audience. Imagine having to listen to a speech, and the whole time you have to keep checking your dictionary because the vocabulary is too technical. In such instances, there hasn’t been communication as listeners are too busy trying to check for the meaning of words they can barely understand the message you’re trying to pass across.
Furthermore, using technical terms could also bore the listeners who do not understand your choice of words. Even if your message is engaging, the delivery should be equally captivating to maintain the attention of your audience. Remember, effective communication requires not only an interesting message but also an engaging and accessible presentation of that message to facilitate understanding.
Tips for using clear language
- Make research about the target audience to understand what choice of words would keep the interested. For instance, if you’re to give a speech to high school students, it may be fruitless writing the speech using a lot of technical terms as it might be too much for them to comprehend. Rather, using lots of illustrations and simple words may spark their interest and keep them glued.
- Avoid irrelevant terms or words
- Do not repeat the same phrases over and over again. This may cause them to doubt your credibility
3. Tone matters a lot: The tone used when communicating is as important as the subject of the conversation itself. It’s thus very vital to be mindful of your tone. Avoid coming off as rude, intolerable or demanding. Instead, convey your message in a calm and organized manner, approaching the listeners with a positive tone. Do not shout, or display frustration particularly when addressing open questions or uncertainties. Ensure that your tone matches your intent, promoting a positive and conducive environment.
4. Avoid diversion: When communicating, it’s easy to divert to other areas that are unimportant to the subject matter. However, such diversion is redundant to effective communication. While it’s acceptable to chip in an anecdote or an illustration if it’s relevant to the subject matter, it’s essential to ensure all your points align with the subject matter and strengthen the message you’re passing across.
5. Clarity: Before wrapping up a speech or a conversation, ensure that the listeners properly understand the points that were passed across. Encourage them to ask questions and show enthusiasm and willingness to answer their questions. Additionally, Be open-minded to their observations and suggestions. By ensuring clarity and actively encouraging participation, you promote effective communication
Remember, effective communication is not an inbuilt talent, but a skill that can be properly developed with enough practice and mindfulness. With consistent effort and a conscious approach, anyone can develop better communication skills.