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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Improve Your Communication Skills

Communication skills is an important aspects of our life, be it when we are engaging with our partners, our friends or our work colleagues.

Being able to inspire other individuals through your communication will allow your life to become more fruitful and enriched. As such, it is important to constantly seek to improve your communication skills.

Here are five tips on how you can improve your communication skills and become a better communicator.

1) Ask Open Ended Questions

In order to allow your conversation to flow, it is useful to use the technique of asking open-ended questions. Open-ended questions often start with words such as “when”, “what” and “why”. An example of an open-ended question is a statement such as: “So, what are some of your favorite foods?

It is best to avoid the closed-question. An example of the closed-question is a statement such as “Do you like to read”, which only invokes a yes or no type of response. Nothing kills a conversation quite like a closed question, because it can only be answered with a yes or no answer. Thus, do use more open-ended questions and this will hopefully lead to more free-flowing conversations.

2) Employ Active Listening

Active listening is a really useful technique as it lets the other person know that you’ve really listened to what they have been saying.

More importantly, it also conveys to the other person that you have understood what the other person is trying to say. The post "The Three Different Levels of Listening" elaborates more about the importance of listening as well as more characteristics of active listening.

Active listeners follow a conversation and are able to summarize the essence of what the other person is trying to say, guiding the conversation forward.

3) Engage With The Other Person

If someone else is trying to engage you in a conversation, your body language is really important. Try not to continue with the task that you are already doing. Instead, what you should do is to stop whatever it is that you are doing and face the other individual, and give them the time which they deserve.

Remember that good communication involves engaging with the other individual. Give them the time and respect that they deserve.

4) Don’t Make Assumptions

Do not jump to conclusions when you are in a conversation with someone. Don’t assume that you know what they are thinking or what they might feel about a particular topic. Instead, it is much better to ask them if they are ok with this or if they feel all right about that.

Take that person’s thoughts and beliefs into careful consideration and rather than projecting your own thoughts and feelings on them. Remember, don’t make assumptions.

5) Avoid Using Antagonistic Sentences

An example of an antagonistic sentence is, “You’re sitting in my chair.” An antagonistic sentence can be seen as a form of attack on the other individual.

Hence, it is much better to use softer and less direct sentences such as “Excuse me, I think you’ve taken my seat.” This approach is much less confrontational and which will mean that you are more likely to encounter a lot fewer conflicts in your life.

In this post, we have seen five tips on how we can improve on our communication skills. Actually, it is not that difficult to improve your communication skills. All we have to do is to be genuinely interested in the other person. A smile here and there goes a long way.

Follow these guidelines and soon you will be on the path to better interpersonal communication skills.


Patricia Rockwell said...

As always, you have provided a simple list of skills that are easy to do, but will make a tremendous difference in our lives if we just do them!

Vera said...

thank you for these pointers!

Joel Seah said...

Hi, that's a very helpful post to improve communication. Great job on the blog, looks great!


Mishu said...

I think to be successfull in communication, active listening is THE most CRITICAL point.

Very nice article.
Thank You.