How to Develop Good Communication Skills – PracticaL Mentor Review

Dec 15th, 2013 | By | Category: Career advice, communication skills

How to Develop Good Communication Skills – PracticaL Mentor Review

There are several ideas of what good communications skills really are:

In the simplest form, effective communications occur when information is exchanged and understood. Understanding is a part of communications that is often not stressed enough.

For example: Politicians rely on their communications skills to perform their function and get elected. However the media has made a profession out of interpreting what was said, and what it means. Is this really being a good communicator, or showman?

When I attended grade school and high school there was a great emphasis placed on speaking, writing, and vocabulary. Those who used bigger words were thought to be more intelligent and better speakers. Incorrect pronunciation was criticized, and poor spelling and writing skills often received a failing grade.

When my daughters attended grade school and high school the emphasis changed from learning how to read, write, and speak the language, too getting the message across. If someone understands what you are trying to rely, then you have good communication skills.

While I agree the first measure of communications skills, is the ability pass information effectively. The early humans did that with a series of grunts. Some of us still do.

The more sophisticated humans became the more they developed language. There is a somewhat common acceptance of what most words mean. However when we string them together often the meaning gets blurred. English is probably one of the worst languages for having similar sounding or even the same word with several different meanings. This makes it very important to use supporting words to clarify you meaning.

In addition to using words correctly, emphasis is also very important. The same sentence may have several different meanings depending on how it is delivered. There are several humorous examples floating around the Internet.

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we’re apart. I can be forever happy–will you let me be yours? Gloria

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we’re apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be? Yours, Gloria

Same words – totally different meaning.

In developing a wiki on How to develop good communications skills, there are many varying opinions and there have been over 90 contributors to the wiki below. While all of the information is valuable and relevant, there seems to be something missing.

How to Develop Good Communication Skills

Edited by Brandywine, Ben Rubenstein, Katie R., Maluniu and 91 others

The ability to communicate effectively is important in relationships, education and work. Here are some steps and tips to help you develop good communication skills.

EditMethod 1 of 4: Understanding the Basics of Communication Skills
Know what communication really is. Communication is the process of transferring signals/messages between a sender and a receiver through various methods (written words, nonverbal cues, spoken words). It is also the mechanism we use to establish and modify relationships.
Have courage to say what you think . Be confident in knowing that you can make worthwhile contributions to conversation. Take time each day to be aware of your opinions and feelings so you can adequately convey them to others. Individuals who are hesitant to speak because they do not feel their input would be worthwhile need not fear. What is important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and may be more so to someone else.

Practice. Developing advanced communication skills begins with simple interactions. Communication skills can be practiced every day in settings that range from the social to the professional. New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills, you open yourself to opportunities and future partnerships.
EditMethod 2 of 4: Engage Your Audience

Make eye contact. Whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are conversing can make the interaction more successful. Eye contact conveys interest and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return.
o One technique to help with this is to consciously look into one of the listener’s eyes and then move to the other eye. Going back and forth between the two makes your eyes appear to sparkle. Another trick is to imagine a letter “T” on the listener’s face ,with the cross bar being an imaginary line across the eye brows and the vertical line coming down the center of the nose. Keep your eyes scanning that “T” zone.
Use gestures. These include gestures with your hands and face. Make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups. The gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size.
Don’t send mixed messages. Make your words, gestures, facial expressions and tone match. Disciplining someone while smiling sends a mixed message and is therefore ineffective. If you have to deliver a negative message, make your words, facial expressions, and tone match the message.
Be aware of what your body is saying. Body language can say so much more than a mouthful of words. An open stance with arms relaxed at your sides tells anyone around you that you are approachable and open to hearing what they have to say.
o Arms crossed and shoulders hunched, on the other hand, suggest disinterest in conversation or unwillingness to communicate. Often, communication can be stopped before it starts by body language that tells people you don’t want to talk.
o Appropriate posture and an approachable stance can make even difficult conversations flow more smoothly.
Manifest constructive attitudes and beliefs. The attitudes you bring to communication will have a huge impact on the way you compose yourself and interact with others. Choose to be honest, patient, optimistic, sincere, respectful, and accepting of others. Be sensitive to other people’s feelings, and believe in others’ competence.
Develop effective listening skills: Not only should one be able to speak effectively, one must listen to the other person’s words and engage in communication on what the other person is speaking about. Avoid the impulse to listen only for the end of their sentence so that you can blurt out the ideas or memories your mind while the other person is speaking.
EditMethod 3 of 4: Use Your Words
Enunciate your words. Speak clearly and don’t mumble. If people are always asking you to repeat yourself, try to do a better job of articulating yourself in a better manner.
Pronounce your words correctly. People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure of how to say a word, don’t use it.
Use the right words. If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Grab a dictionary and start a daily habit of learning one new word per day. Use it sometime in your conversations during the day.
Slow your speech down. People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk fast. However, be careful not to slow down to the point where people begin to finish your sentences just to help you finish.
EditMethod 4 of 4: Use Your Voice
Develop your voice – A high or whiny voice is not perceived to be one of authority. In fact, a high and soft voice can make you sound like prey to an aggressive co-worker or make others not take you seriously. Begin doing exercises to lower the pitch of your voice. Try singing, but do it an octave lower on all your favorite songs. Practice this and, after a period of time, your voice will begin to lower.
Animate your voice. Avoid a monotone and use dynamics. Your pitch should raise and lower periodically. Radio DJ’s are usually a good example of this.
Use appropriate volume. Use a volume that is appropriate for the setting. Speak more softly when you are alone and close. Speak louder when you are speaking to larger groups or across larger spaces.

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