Good communication skills lead to success in all spheres – whether it is our life, our workplace or our relationships. When what we want to say is interpreted correctly by the recipient of the message, an effective communication is initiated. Vagueness in communication or twisted interpretations are the bane to our relationships and dicey for our careers. Effective communication can lead to a more professional image, improved self-confidence and relationships. It helps decrease stress and creates a greater acceptance of oneself and others.
The ability to communicate effectively is not equally endowed on everyone – yet we can learn the basic tricks of the trade by having a look at the following dos and don’ts of good communication.
- Be a good listener and stay focused on the person who is speaking. Do paraphrase or reword what you have understood to clarify when there is ambiguity in communication.
- Maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to and nod occasionally to affirm interest in their words.
- Look for nonverbal clues like lack of eye contact, distraction or fidgeting, which convey restlessness or impatience. Yawning or sighing is a sign of mental or physical fatigue. When you notice these non-verbal signs, wrap up the conversation, postpone it or inquire about the discomfort.
- Tailor your conversation to your audience.
- Behave confidently and communicate with a stable and clear voice.
- Use simple and polite language.
- Avoid judging people and praise them often.
- Express negative thoughts in a positive way.
- Be open to receiving constructive feedback.
- Learn to say ‘no’ politely but firmly.
- Assert yourself – recognize others’ feelings and then state your needs or opinions.
- Favour your right ear. The left side of the brain is the primary processing centre for speech comprehension and emotion. The left side of the brain is connected to the right side of our ear and can help detect the emotional nuances of what a person is saying. Hence it would be effective to tilt your right ear to the person who is speaking.
- Don’t interrupt people when they are talking – it hampers their thought process and is rude. Make it a conversation and not a monologue. Where there are differences, agree to disagree.
- Don’t overcomplicate your message. Use fewer abbreviations and technical terms as they are barriers to effective communication. Avoid using too many filler words like ‘um’, ‘uh’, etc.
- Don’t be defensive or offensive – stay neutral. Don’t bring up inappropriate topics which may be controversial and offensive. However, this doesn’t mean that one should stick to bland or sanitized topics.
- Don’t criticize in public.
- Don’t shout or talk too fast.
- Don’t show negative body language. Refrain from frowning or giving angry glances.
- Don’t give more importance to cell phones or other electronic devices over people.
In case of emails:
- Be short and to the point.
- Use meaningful subject lines.
- Check for typos and errors before sending an email.
- Be discreet and do not gossip or use derogatory language in an email.
- Use excerpts from previous messages to clarify what you are replying to.
- Don’t use email for time-sensitive issues.
We hope these communication tips will make your life a lot easier and smoother.
Wishing you success in every sphere of life . . . enjoy sparkling conversations!
Sangeeta Datta is Assistant General Manager – Marketing at Viva Books. Books are the brain fodder which keep her constantly ticking!
For more tips on Effective Communication Skills you may refer to these books: