Here are a few things to help you improve your communication skills/experience:
- This is the part of the communication process where the sender (speaker/writer) finds out if the receiver (listener/reader) understood the message. If the receiver doesn’t give you feedback, try asking some questions to make sure they understood your message.
- As the receiver, it is always a good idea to repeat what the sender has told you – to make sure you receive the message loud and clear.
Don’t speak to quickly or too slowly.
- In today’s day and age, it is very easy for anyone of us to suffer from information overload – this is one the biggest obstacles to effective communication. When sending your message, trying doing it in bite-sized portions, if you’re writing – for the love of all that his good, use proper grammar, sentences, paragraphs, or simple bullet form.
- Stay on target. Make sure you don’t add non-essential information to the conversation.
- Everyone absorbs information at different rates.
Make sure you’re communicating at the right time.
- Make sure it’s the right time to send the message. For example, breaking up with someone in public – not the right time.
- The receiver may, at any time, be attending to more urgent matters and simply can’t hear your message.
Use simple language.
- Don’t use complex language or jargon when trying to explain something. If you have to use complex terms – be sure to explain those complex terms in simple words.
Don’t forget to be empathetic to whom you’re speaking with.
- What is empathy? The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
- Put yourself in their shoes. How is s/he going to feel about the things you are saying? What are they thinking about?
- If you choose to be empathetic, you increase the likely hood of getting your message across.
Don’t be afraid to repeat what you’re saying.
- Sometimes, it’s good to repeat things in different ways when it seems that the receiver isn’t getting the message.
- Be trustworthy.
Create an effective listening environment.
- So far we’ve focused on you being the sender, but you are also a receiver. It’s important that you decided to listen to the other person as well.
- Focus on the conversation/task at hand.
- Try to block out external factors in the environment (noise, poor ventilation, too hot/cold or uncomfortable surroundings).
- Sometimes, when we are engaged in conversation with someone they may have habits or do things that are distracting – or even downright annoying. Remind yourself that you are thinking about the distraction, focus on the message being sent. This is good advice if you are the sender OR the receiver.
- Sometimes we have a lot on our plate, and internal distractions are hard to keep at bay. Focus on the conversation.
Being a good listener is a practiced skill, it doesn’t come naturally. Here are some other tips that can help you be a better listener.
- Hold your temper.
- Ask questions: this shows that you are interested.
- Allow the speaker to speak – don’t interrupt.
- Argue and be critical only when necessary.
- Always be patient.
- Just stop talking and learn to listen.
I hope these last blogs have helped you out with your communication. I know that knowing this information and techniques have helped me out a great deal, not only in business, but in life.