The art of effective communication! Why it is important and tips to help you improve.
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Communication is undoubtedly an art. It is the core of healthy and happy relationships, both personal and professional. We often neglect the importance of effective communication skills and that creates problems in our lives.
Humans are social animals, and communicating with one another is one of the basic human needs. However, there is a difference between communication and effective communication. While we can communicate with each other without much conscious effort, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are communicating effectively.
Furthermore, communication isn’t just limited to words. It also includes non-verbal factors such as your expressions, gestures, spirit, tone and much more.
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Just like all other skills, communication skills can also be honed. Conscious effort and practice can make one better at communication. There are some proven tips and techniques that help you master the art of effective communication.
Remember, it takes time, but everyone can learn to communicate effectively.
Here are some simple tips to improve your communication skills.
1. Listen Before Speaking
This is one of the most important tips to follow if you wish to improve your communication skills. The quality of your conversations with others depends on how well you listen to them. Listening to them will assist you in understanding any underlying non-verbal meanings.
Simply put, listening is more than just hearing. You will be able to communicate better if you are able to read the speakers facial expressions, their tone and gestures and also their choice of words. So, if you want to communicate effectively, learn to listen deeply.
2. Use the Right Words
Effective communication is all about being able to convey your message efficiently to your audience. Using the right words is critical for effective communication. You must have heard others say that choose your words wisely. They have a power that can make a huge difference in anyone’s life.
Therefore, be careful when you use your words. Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to using the right words:
- Don’t use the words that will cause the listener to think poorly of you.
- Use the words that communicate positivity and value.
- Make sure you use those words that the listener can understand.
- Use vocabulary as per your listener’s level.
- Use words of strength and optimism.
- Avoid slang and slurs.
3. Use the Right Vocabulary
As mentioned above, using the right vocabulary is very important when it comes to effective communication. An expanded vocabulary draws others in and improves your communication process. In addition, it also sets you apart from others.
An expanded vocabulary also speaks highly about your education. Furthermore, it also impacts how others perceive you. However, it doesn’t mean that you should use difficult vocabulary every time you talk.
If you want your communication to be effective, you should be able to use the right vocabulary for the right audience. If you are talking to an educated group, you can use an expanded vocabulary. But, you should use basic vocabulary when you are communicating with people from less-educated groups.
4. Use the Right Tone
Using the right tone to convey your message is also very important. Speaking in a monotone voice will make the listener indifferent. On the other hand, changing your tone of voice as the sentence demands will gain the listener’s attention.
As said before, communication is an art. Imagine if a painting had just one color. It surely won’t look as interesting as another painting that has lots of colors. The same logic applies to communication.
5. Speak at the Right Pace
In addition to your words and tone, using the right pace when speaking to someone is also very important. Different scenarios and messages require a different pace of speaking. In some situations, you have to use a slower pace while, in other situations, you need to speak at a faster pace.
We speak at a faster pace when we are excited and want to convey our message quickly to the listener. So, find the right pace as per the message you are communicating, and you will be able to improve your communication skills.
6. Use the Right Emotions
As mentioned before, communication goes far beyond words. If you wish to master the art of effective communication, then you must learn everything important. One of them is emotions. By using emotions, we don’t mean being emotional but using the right emotions. However, getting emotional may be the need of the situation sometimes and there’s no harm in showing your emotions.
For example, being angry communicates that you are very serious about something. Crying tells the listener that you have a tender side too. Laughing when communicating conveys that you have a fun side. Simply smiling reassures the listener that you understand.
Emotions, if used properly, are a great communication tool and one should use them while communicating as it conveys your point clearly.
7. Think Before You Speak
You should learn to speak in a way that makes others want to listen to you. Speak in a way that grabs their attention. Therefore, you must think before you speak and also pay attention to your tone, voice and emotions.
Being mindful is also essential to communicate effectively. Therefore, you should think about what you will say and then start speaking. It is will also save you from any awkward situations.
8. Use the Right Pronunciation
Using the right enunciation is also very important to improve your communication skills. You must speak clearly so that your listeners can understand you. Pronunciation is often overlooked, and we don’t give much importance to it. However, it is essential to communicate your message effectively to your audience.
If you wish to learn the art of effective communication, then you must work on pronouncing the words clearly.
9. Use Non-Verbal Cues
We have said this before, and we’ll say it again, effective communication is not possible without the use of non-verbal cues. They reinforce your message and draw in the listener. Without these non-verbal cues, you would seem like a robot who is just uttering some words.
Effective communication is a combination of various factors, and non-verbal cues is an important part of it. So, make use of them as needed to improve the effectiveness of your communication.
Use Your Hands: Use your hands when you are communicating as it makes the conversation more human. Just keeping them by your side will make you seem uncomfortable and stiff. However, also don’t overdo it. Maintaining balance is the key.
Use Your Eyes: Your eyes can be a powerful communication tool. If you are talking to someone, make eye contact. Constantly looking around shows a lack of interest. So, if someone is speaking to you, look at them, and vice versa. It shows them that you are being attentive and that they are important.
Use Your Arms: Don’t sit cross-armed when someone is talking to you. You will give off a “closed off” vibe, and you don’t want that.
10. Be Specific
When you are communicating with someone, you must know what to say and how to say it. You should be specific and to the point. You don’t need to beat around the bush. If you are talking to someone in a meeting, it is best to make a few talking points and then talk about them.
When it comes to personal communication, you can make up the points in your mind and be specific when you start talking. This will improve the effectiveness of your communication and you will be able to make your point in a better way.
11. Tailor Your Message According to Your Audience
Again, you must tailor your message as per your audience. If you are talking to kids, you can’t use difficult vocabulary with them. You can’t use the same tone and language with adults and children.
If you want to learn the art of effective communication, then you must tailor the message in accordance with your audience. Talking to a friend is very different than talking to your boss or subordinates. Your words, tones and other verbal and non-verbal cues will all change depending on your audience.
This will help you send your message across to your audience effectively. They will also understand your message better when you use the right communication tools and cues.
12. React Appropriately
You should react appropriately when someone is talking to you. Listen to them carefully and understand the whole story before giving your reactions. Hold on to your first response as it is usually an emotional one. Communication is a two-way street. Everyone involved must participate. Only then can it be called effective communication.
13. Put Away Distractions
Last but not least, you must concentrate on the person who is talking to you. Don’t use your smartphone when they are talking to you. Not only is it rude, but you will also not be able to concentrate on the message that is being conveyed to you.
Therefore, look up and make eye contact when someone talks to you. Don’t just hear them, but also listen to them. This can vastly improve the way we communicate with each other.
These were simple yet effective tips that can help you master the art of effective communication. Follow these and you will see an improvement in your communication skills.
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