Effective Communication and Us

This post opens a series of articles on effective communication, which I am going to publish in this blog in 2019. I’d like to survey the reasons why so many people lack skills of effective communication. Then, I am going to discuss some techniques of effective communication and methods of developing this skill.

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This article is an introduction into the topic, so here we will only touch a few fundamental “rules” of behavior during conversation, which everyone should use to communicate effectively at all times.

It is a well-known fact that your success in a job interview, as well as your general success in life, largely depends on your ability to communicate effectively in all possible situations. Communication is a skill that develops through years of living in human society, and as so, the skill can be learned, improved, or upgraded, or… well, whatever you call it, the skill can be used in your favor!

Knowing how to communicate effectively is the key to any relationship, be it business, or family life, or friendship, or just a casual meeting with someone you have never met before. Whether you’re giving a masterclass at work, working out a difficult situation with your group mates, trying to resolve a misunderstanding with your spouse, or just chatting with a friend, you should know how to express your thoughts, feelings and opinions in order to achieve the desired result. Each of us, modern people, spends hours each day talking to other people, and still, only few can confidently call themselves effective communicators. At times, reaching our communication goals is a surprisingly challenging task. This time, we will take a look at a few basic tips that reflect a good communicator’s strategy in convertsaion.

1. Have a goal. Knowing your subject matter always puts you into a strong position in every conversation. But even more important it is to have a goal and lead the talk to a certain solution, then the whole process of communication becomes meaningful and beneficial to all participants of the conversation. When you know what kind of agreement (or decision) you would like to reach, you inevitably tend to lead the whole conversation to the anticipated result.

2. Learn to lead conversations. Changing the subject in a conversation and directing it to the topic we like is a kind of art that only few people have mastered. Sometimes, it requires finding a topic somewhere in between the one you are discussing and the one you would like to have, so the verbal bridge you build can move you smoothly to the desired destination.

3. Find certain conversational tactics in every particular situation. Effective communication is about setting a goal and pursuing it during the process of communication. Whether you’re giving a lecture or telling your friend a funny story, it’s important to figure out how to frame it to make it interesting and engaging.

4. Never forget to listen. This sounds almost ridiculous, but very few of us, people, are good at listening to others. Most of us are capable of hearing, but the ability to hear does not guarantee the ability to listen. At the same time, effective listening is the basis of good communication. Whenever you become a party of a dialogue, you should focus on your partner’s words, understand them and ‘process’ them in your mind in order to come up with a timely, relevant and meaningful answer.

5. Do not underestimate body language. Besides the actual speech, your conversation partners use another powerful tool of communication: body language. Every change on their faces, their body movements, as well as physiological reactions like yawning, laughing or frowning, have meanings. The one who knows the ‘morphology and syntax’ of body language, can communicate a lot more effectively than others.

6. Use context to uncover real meanings of words. Quite often, what we say in a conversation is not equivalent to what we really mean or think. It is very important to understand your communication partner very well. Te context – verbal and non-verbal – can help you understand the real meaning of your communication partner’s speech.

7. Not saying anything is a way of communication, too. In some situations, silence is more meaningful than words. The one who knows when the moment is right to make a pause in conversation, is usually a very effective communicator.

8. Learn to look and sound confident, no matter what. If you have done this once, you will want to do this again and again. Try to avoid hemming and hawing and do not slow down your speech even is you aren’t sure about what to say. No matter where the conversation goes, try to look calm and confident.

9. Get familiar wit the art of asking questions. Asking clarifying questions, for example, is a well-known tool of confident communicators: it is not only a method of showing your partner that you are paying attention. A well-worded, timely question helps you take leadership in dialogue; it also helps you understand what your conversation partner is saying, and gives you a few extra seconds of time to think over your response.

10. Find common interest(s) or opinion(s) with your conversation partner. This is a good little ‘rule’ to follow at all times. Every conversation partner wants to be well understood. So, as soon as you find common grounds, the whole process of communication will become a lot more enjoyable for both of you, even if a minute ago you were facing misunderstanding.

 

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