Cultivating solid communication skills comes very easily to some people. There are those that seem to have an innate ability to effectively articulate their thoughts while also being proficient at listening and comprehending information offered by other people. However, most of us could use help with honing our ability to communicate. If you want to find some simple ways to enhance your interpersonal communication skills, here are a few steps you can take.
The first step in developing or improving communication skills requires that you rethink your perception of what communication is all about. Many people focus on verbalization as the most important aspect of the process of communicating. While verbalization is very important to the process, it is not the only essential skill necessary to effectively communicate. There is also the need to hone listening skills and the ability to utilize visual information in processing and responding to information.
Listening is much more than hearing words as they are spoken. The talent of listening requires that the listener focus his or her attention solely on the person speaking. It is important to not only hear the words, but also to the tone, inflection, pace, and emotion that accompanies those words. Doing so allows the listener to gain a greater understanding of the information the speaker is attempting to convey.
Most of all, effective listening requires resisting the urge to begin formulating a response while the speaker is still sharing information. Far too many people jump to conclusions about what the speaker is sharing and thus misses key audio cues that are very important. Developing a habit of allow people to complete their remarks before beginning to decide how to respond not only is essential to developing competent communication skills; it is also very important in conveying to the speaker that you genuinely are interested in what he or she has to say.
Visual cues are also an important tool when it comes to developing or refining communication skills. Being aware of facial expressions and body language will help to infuse more meaning into the verbal presentation and often provide important clues as to why the speaker presents a particular thought in a specific way. Look the individual in the eye while he or she is speaking, and also make sure to continue to look directly at the person while you are speaking in return.
Solid communication skills often make use of two simple techniques. One is known as a perception check. This strategy involves conveying your understanding of what was just communicated to you. By double checking your comprehension, you provide the speaker with the opportunity to confirm your perception or to correct any miscommunications that may have occurred.
The second tool to cultivate is known as the clarifying question. Clarifying questions make it possible to revisit any information you are not sure you assimilated correctly. Unlike the perception check where you are simply putting the speaker’s words into your own verbiage, clarifying questions make it possible to revisit specific portions of the information and obtain data that may have been implied by the speaker, but was not readily apparent to you.
Communication skills work both ways. That means there is the necessity of doing all you can to effectively convey your thoughts and ideas to others in a clear and precise manner. In order to accomplish this, it is important to enunciate clearly, speak in an even and well-paced tone, use body language to help reinforce your verbal presentation, and make frequent eye contact as you speak.
One thing to remember is that effective communication skills and techniques improve the more you use them. For this reason, it is a good idea to not see communication skills as tools you only use in the workplace or some other isolated area of your life. Take the chance to use your skills during any interaction with other people. You will soon notice that the effort becomes increasingly easier and that you obtain more satisfaction from your encounters with everyone.