In this competitive era, the most sought-after soft skill is communication skill. It is a valuable attribute that can help in understanding, negotiating and dealing with other people effectively. Effective communication skill is one of the key ingredients for achieving success in both personal and professional life.
It is the ability to interact with co-workers, staff, peers, and employers at the professional front and with kids, spouse, friends and family members at home. Good communication skill results in mutual respect as it can resolve the difference in opinions efficiently.
Some people think that communication is typically straightforward but they fail to realize that everyone is of different mind-frame and hence it is quite easy to misunderstand the content. The wounded feelings can hamper your relationships.
There have been several instances when people have misconstrued your words and have been hurt in the process. Hence do not take it lightly instead try to improve your skill for effective communication in the future.
1) Active listening
If you are looking for one of the top ten effective communication skills then active listening occupies the topmost position. Good communication is all about listening attentively to others.
Some people have a bad habit of speaking randomly, interrupting others when they are speaking and fidgeting and looking at a thousand other things while someone else is trying to speak and clear his point. What it indicates is that the person is least interested in your talks and the communication channel shuts down automatically.
Do not be that person if you want to showcase yourself as a good communicator. Active listening includes 100% attention to the person who is speaking and even hearing the words that have not been spoken by concentrating on his expression and the nuances of speech.
Focus on his body language and keep your own open and positive. Ask questions, clarify points and offer thoughtful and important feedback and comments to show your active participation.
2) Body language
You must be surprised to see this subheading because how can you consider body language skill. Let me clarify my point with an example.
Suppose you are at an event and are conversing with a very important person that has the ability to make or break your future. You have been talking for a minute when you suddenly realize that the other person is looking around the room and is bored.
His facial expression is distant and his stance is as if he just wants to run away from your presence. What do you feel at that point in time? You suddenly shut down as by looking at his body language you realize that he has not listened to a single word you have spoken.
This is why positive body language matters and is considered one of the top ten effective communication skills to have in your corner. Our body is very expressive and says a thousand words even without opening the mouth.
Your eyes, facial expression and how you are standing every small detail matters. When you are with others make sure you maintain eye contact and look at them while speaking.
Smile at appropriate places with genuine warmth, offer a firm handshake or a warm hug if you know that person closely, hold your head high with shoulders and back straight.
Be open and look as if you are concentrating fully on the on-going conversation.
3) Emotional intelligence
The ability to understand the person at the other end is known as emotional intelligence and is considered one of the top ten effective communication skills. It is an acquired skill that cannot be obtained in a single day instead is learned over the years.
Emotional intelligence is the capacity of a person to manage, interpret and respond to any given situation by understanding and looking at the emotions of other people. Communication is between two or more people but you cannot override the feelings of others if you are interested in maintaining a proper and open channel.
The skill lies in adjusting your words in accordance with the situation and emotional well-being of others. Notice for non-verbal signs, facial expression and body language of a person, understand the reason and make changes in your own accordingly.
Suppose you are talking to your senior employer and are trying to make him understand the necessity of office party. Everything had been going right till that moment when you introduced the topic of alcohol at the party as his facial expression changed and he started looking angry.
You must be on the look-out for such signs so that you can change your story immediately by covering that although some people were in favor we have decided to skip the drinking part for this party. As soon as you say these words he will again relax and allow you to continue.
Remember emotional intelligence requires thinking on the feet and responding in accordance with the situation.
4) Articulation and tone of your voice
Poor speaking is a reflection of your lack of confidence. If you are looking for top ten communication skills you must pay attention to your own articulation and tone so that others can interpret it properly and understand you. You must have come across people who mumble and fumble their way through.
They either speak too softly or too loudly to make any positive impact. How do they come across to you when you are in direct conversation with them? Do you struggle to understand as most of the time the actual message gets lost on the way?
Pay special attention to articulation and enunciation so that the tone of your voice sounds correct. You can record your voice and listen to it to understand any discrepancies. Speak slowly and calmly so that the quality and tone sounds perfect.
Remember it is the tone that sets the mood and people generally become inclined to act in a similar manner. Pay special attention to the volume and tone of your voice along with the required emotion you want to show.
Be friendly and helpful so that the recipient of your words also continues in the same spirit.
Pay special attention to clarity if you are looking for top ten effective communication skills. When you are imparting facts and figures it is important that you have a clear concept of the information at hand. Better be prepared by conducting thorough research and organizing your ideas and thoughts in a precise and logical manner.
Use concepts and language that is simple and clear so that everyone can understand you properly. It is not about you but how others perceive your words. Avoid unnecessary words and also hi-fi words that are difficult to understand.
Have confidence in your knowledge and it will be reflected via your attitude and body language. Remember it is your clarity that will help you to connect and communicate with your audiences easily and effectively.
6) Small talk
Small talk is the meaningless conversation that we conduct to put others at ease. It is considered one of the top ten communication skills as it opens the door for further communication between the involved parties.
You cannot just go to a person and converse about the topic you are interested in. Suppose you walk up to a person you have been dying to connect with because of an important project and start talking about the difficulties you are having.
How is he going to look at you and react to your words? The only thing he will do is give you a discouraging look and remove his presence from your side. If you had started with small meaningful talk and after easing him to a comfortable position talked about your difficulties the scenario would have been completely different.
Small talk is an acquired social skill because for some it becomes a part of their existence whereas others find it overwhelming. It is a wonderful quality that establishes common ground and a rapport that encourages meaningful talks later on.
It shows that you have what it takes to make others comfortable and put them at ease. When an individual becomes familiar with you he will like to take the talks to the next level.
Look for empathy if you are interested in top ten effective communication skills. Both in the home and professional front, each person has his own way of working.
This soft skill includes understanding the viewpoint of others and making adjustments accordingly. A person who is empathetic will consider every point, respect the wishes of others and then come to a decision that will be beneficial for everyone.
Remember even if you disagree with others take a few minutes to understand his viewpoint. You never know when this skill can be of immense help to you. Having empathy towards others makes you more approachable and that is a blessing if you are working in a team.
A person who has this communication skill will always try to diffuse tense situations via his positive approach.
Respect yourself as well as others if you want to conduct and maintain a fruitful and long-lasting relationship. A person who is looking for top ten effective communication skills must accept that a respectful attitude is an important skill to acquire.
We come across so many people who are least bothered by the emotions and feelings of others. They have no respect for work experience or seniority in another person. They speak without thinking about the consequences.
Respect others by listening to them attentively and communicating with them in an appropriate manner. Make sure you sound genuine and sincere in your efforts. People will be more open to you if you treat them with deference.
Simple actions like maintaining eye contact and talking without distractions show your commitment to the conversation. It makes the person feel appreciated and generally results in better and healthy communication between them.
Feedback is an important aspect of professional life as business entities depend upon it to a great extent to know how the world perceives their products, services, and actions. Management is always on the look-out for employees who are able to give as well as receive feedback in an appropriate manner.
Feedbacks are not only verbal and written, but you can also easily get good feedback by looking at the body language of a customer. Is he receptive to your product and services or he thinks then below par can be understood by his facial expression and attitude?
Encourage people who have the ability to provide constructive feedback if you are looking for top ten effective communication skills. It can be possible via status updates, phone calls, emails or by updating the feedback form.
A person who is equipped with this soft skill will listen attentively to the feedbacks offer praise when required, understand the points, clarify the issues and lastly implement the necessary suggestions. Remember a company who gives due credence to the feedback can make progress more quickly than those entities who think that whatever they are doing is 100% correct.
10) Asking questions
Remember the time when we were in school and teachers encouraged us to ask questions. Do you know the reason behind it? It is a well-proven fact that a person who is curious about something asks questions.
It is one of the best ways to study and understand the topic. Learn the way to ask relevant, probing and open-ended questions if you are looking for top ten effective communication skills. This will result in introspection, reflection, and sharing of thoughts and ideas.
When you ask something it means that you have been listening to him and are trying to understand his viewpoint. It invites further dialogue and facilitates an important connection.
Make sure you are not interrupting someone. Wait for a pause or the time when questions are encouraged. A good session of question and answer improves the outcome of a conversation.
Show your effective communication skills by being the person who is comfortable in his skin and does not hesitate to ask questions so that he can clear his thought process.
We often hear that a particular individual has strong communication skills. What do we actually mean by it? Demonstrating it includes conveying the message in a concise and clear manner that automatically connects with the audience.
Remember it is all about replaying the required information with simplicity and ease. You need to take proper steps in order to develop good communication skill because it will not happen overnight.
Nurture, cultivate and practice diligently to develop it to the best of your ability.