Education

Understanding Communication Skills

This article focuses on the primary communication skills, namely, reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Most failures or communication gaps exist because of a lack of understanding of the need for effective communication. 

Therefore, it is essential to discuss and explain the skills you need to develop to enable you to become a very effective communicator. Also, when you have excellent communication skills, you will be equipped to overcome the barriers to effective communication. 

A good understanding and deployment of communication skills are essential in your entire pursuit of life. It plays a role in smooth family relationships, business deals, and interpersonal relationships.

Understanding Communication Skills

Hasson (2012: 1) says that good communication skills make you interesting. They can help you connect with people, build friendships and develop relationships at work and home. 

Read Also: Definitions and Types of Communication

Are you worried about developing better communication skills? A lot of people are afraid and concerned. Part of your journey as a student is to work hard to improve your communication skills and enjoy more exciting conversations. Liao (2019) provides useful tips on how you can easily improve your communication skills:

Eliminate Filler Words

This can be achieved through deliberate and continuous practice. Exercise regularly to remove the filler and crutch words such as:

  • Um
  • Ah
  • Er
  • You know
  • Like
  • I mean
  • So (starting a sentence)
  • And (run-on sentences)
  • Well
  • Alright (beginning of a sentence)
  • Long pauses (unintentional and in the middle of sentences)
  • Devito recommends ways to make your communication powerful:
  • Avoid hesitations; they make you sound unprepared and uncertain.
  • Avoid uncertainty expressions; these communicate a lack of commitment, direction, and conviction.
  • Avoid over politeness; such forms signal your subordinate status.
  • Avoid disqualifiers (I didn’t read the entire article, but . . .); they may call into question the validity of your statements.
  • Avoid tag questions (questions that ask for agreement; That was great, wasn’t it?); these may signal your uncertainty.
  • Avoid slang and vulgar expressions; these usually signal low social class and little power.
  • When you successfully eliminate the above, your sentences become concise.

Improve Through Purposeful Training

To refine any skill, you must put in the work. Therefore, to improve your communication (verbal and written) abilities, you need to practice speaking and writing. To enhance your writing expertise, you must write consistently. For further enhancement, do the following:

Read Also: Elements of the Communication Process

  • Read books
  • Expand your vocabulary
  • Sharpen your grammar and sentence structures
  • Study about writing

As for speaking, instead of using crutch words, replace them with pauses. Take a moment to think of an answer. This way, you will sound more articulate and intelligent. Also, listen actively to others and identify what they are saying. This allows you to do the following:

  • Read between the lines and recognize subtleties
  • Formulate an eloquent response
  • Make others feel heard

By being fully engaged in conversation, you give yourself the highest probability of creating a suitable response. To express your thoughts clearly, avoid jargon and use exact and appropriate words for your context. This way, you will be brief and concise.

Harness Social Awareness and Intelligence

Your message is important, but what matters more is your delivery. Factors include:

  • Nonverbal signals (body language, facial expression, hand gestures, etc.)
  • Vocal tonality
  • Eye contact

It is helpful to have a sense of humor and not take yourself too seriously. Once internalized, you can learn to relax during conversations. As a result, you express a composed body posture and a friendly demeanor. 

Even when the interaction isn‘t positive, you can still display cordial conduct despite others‘ lack of reciprocation. That‘s because you are always in control of your behaviors. Detaching yourself from any outcome, you can appreciate the person you are talking to. In addition, by embodying honesty and humility, you can be open and welcome feedback.

Read Also: The Need for Effective Communication

Closing Thoughts

Whether it is at work, home, or at the store, communication is a skill you must use everywhere you go. Therefore, it is paramount you have a firm grasp of it. Having the ability to discuss meaningfully with others will make you more persuasive and influential. Benefits may include the following:

  • Persuading your partner to watch any movie of your choice
  • Negotiating a raise or promotion
  • Selling your ideas to your colleagues
  • This superpower will lead to more success and happiness.
  • Make a conscious effort 

Read Also: Types or Forms of Communication

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