Good communication allows one to forge a real and personal connection with other people.
We all think that communication is easy and that we’re rather good at it. The truth is, speaking well does not automatically make a person a good communicator. It’s the same way simply hearing does not make someone a good listener. Communication is more than the simple act of exchanging information. It is creating an understanding between you and the other person about the emotions and intentions that lie behind the message.
Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills. Communication is an integral part of every interaction we have, and can shape both our personal and professional lives. This is especially true for the latter, as strong communication skills are a tell-tale sign of great leadership skills and are often equated with efficacy in the workplace, opening up more opportunities. Most importantly, good communication allows one to forge a real and personal connection with other people.
Fortunately, good communication is a valuable skill that can be learned. If you are looking to become a better communicator, here are five things to keep in mind:
Be a good listener. When it comes to communicating well, it is important that you truly understand what the other person is trying to say in order to respond appropriately.
Be aware of who your audience is. A good part of communication is knowing who you’re talking to in order to deliver the message and tailor it in a way that your audience can relate to it and easily understand.
Be positive. When it comes to giving comments or feedback, it is important to be constructive and to use words that have a positive connotation to them to prevent the listener from either going defensive or zoning out. You have to be careful not to be seen as aggressive to ensure that no misunderstandings will take place.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions. People don’t often say what they mean immediately and it often takes asking questions to get to the heart of the matter. It also serves as a way to confirm whether your message was received the way you intended it to be.
Be succinct. The problem with beating around the bush is that your message may be clouded or overshadowed by irrelevant information. Get to the point as quickly as possible in order to help the listener/audience understand the message properly.
Changes don’t come overnight and there may be times that you will find yourself slipping or committing a mistake. All it takes is constant practice to make a difference. That, and remaining conscious and aware during every interaction that you have can pave the path to being a good communicator.
Chris Petersen has more than 30 years of experience in the technology and the financial services industry. She is an author, Fintech strategist, speaker and an advocate for women’s leadership. For a dose of inspiration, you can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or connect with her on LinkedIn.