Improving Communications

Here are a few things to help you improve your communication skills/experience:

  1. Use feedback.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  2. Don’t speak to quickly or too slowly.
    1. 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.
    2. Stay on target. Make sure you don’t add non-essential information to the conversation.
    3. Everyone absorbs information at different rates.
  3. Make sure you’re communicating at the right time.
    1. Make sure it’s the right time to send the message. For example, breaking up with someone in public – not the right time.
    2. The receiver may, at any time, be attending to more urgent matters and simply can’t hear your message.
  4. Use simple language.
    1. 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.
  5. Don’t forget to be empathetic to whom you’re speaking with.
    1. What is empathy? The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
    2. Put yourself in their shoes. How is s/he going to feel about the things you are saying? What are they thinking about?
    3. If you choose to be empathetic, you increase the likely hood of getting your message across.
  6. Don’t be afraid to repeat what you’re saying.
    1. Sometimes, it’s good to repeat things in different ways when it seems that the receiver isn’t getting the message.
  7. Encourage trust.
    1. Be trustworthy.
  8. Create an effective listening environment.
    1. 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.
    2. Focus on the conversation/task at hand.
    3. Try to block out external factors in the environment (noise, poor ventilation, too hot/cold or uncomfortable surroundings).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.