Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Make your communication skills more effective

Communication is one of the most important tools with which we carry out our daily activities, it is a very useful ingredient in our bid to fulfil the essence of our livelihood.

Communication is the exchange of information between a sender and a receiver through a channel that must bear a communicative commonality between both parties. The communication process can only be complete if the receiver understands the sender, as this is the bedrock of any meaningful and effective communication. It is the chain of understanding that integrates all the parties involved in the communication process.

As important as communication is, in our personal and business lives, so also is the ability to ensure its effectiveness.

However, there are numerous problems that affect our communication, and hence, hinder it from being effective.

Simple issues that could be solved by being polite, analytical and constructive are being left to degenerate into conflict situations as parties refuse to reason along the path of what is being communicated.

 There is no doubt that up till this present day, the lack of honest and open communication is a common denominator in our dysfunctional families, societies and business relationships. This is because we continuously fail to communicate constructively, and in a straightforward way. There are marriages greatly suffering because partners cannot speak honestly and openly at issues affecting their marriage. We have seen marriages crumble because of couples’ inability to speak respectfully and constructively with each other, simply by failing to apply the basic communication requirements needed to promote tranquillity at home. Also, over 60% of work place problems are as a result of breakdown in communication between and among staff. This trend increasingly, implies that there is still the need to foster effective communication in all parts of our society.

  For communication to be effective and meaningful, you should always say what you mean the way you mean it and communicate your thoughts, feelings and opinions in a healthy and constructive way. The way you communicate is a manifestation of your wholeness as an individual and says a lot about you. If your communication skills fail to be adequately right, it snatches away the full benefit and potentials you can claim in both your social and spiritual world.

Sometimes, for the fear of unknown, or simply pulling back at something, you leave things unsaid, allowing them to fester within you, creating and deepening the roots of self- discomfort, dejection and perhaps hatred or other negative feelings towards yourself and the other person; invariably burying the cause for a great way to maintain good relationship both at home and at work; wherever it may have occurred,  because the other person, will not know what is in your mind and such habits breakdown relationships. Learning to improve your communication skills can have positive and permanent rewards for your business performances and personal relationships.

You should learn to be a better communicator, as this fosters and maintains good work environment and peaceful co-existence among people.   Language skills is though the primary form of communication, sometimes expressing our selves with other body languages may well be more adequate than just using words of mouth. These choices in ways of communicating makes it better to fully express your thoughts and feelings in different places, and different ways as suited by the situation. As much as you want to be a good communicator, so also should you learn to listen properly. We all know the hurt we feel when we realise that someone we are talking to is not listening, to us, but to gain such, attention, you should also exhibit interest in the other person’s feelings, thoughts and opinions. For any communication to be effective, listening is perhaps more important than talking, as the understanding that exists between both parties greatly, forms the bond.

Sometimes, being able to communicate effectively may require great practice, and a need to overcome your fear and self – consciousness. You may also need to actively learn to talk with other people, with the necessary communication skills. Skills to initiate conversation, keep it going and ending it appropriately may seem a bit difficult, but trying these tips will definitely simplify the process for you.

  • Learn to communicate your thoughts, feelings and opinions   openly, honestly, and straightforwardly.

  • Talking out of negative emotions such as anger, frustration, etc., is never beneficial as it rumples the communication process.
  • When you have to give instructions or make numerous requests, do it sequentially, don’t muddle up things. Be logical, clear and direct when communicating and always complete your dialogues.
  • Do not assume that your recipient knows what you intend to say.
  • Understanding your communication skills and deficiencies help you structure your pattern and style of communication and ensures its effectiveness. Take time to study yourself and find ways to improve where necessary.
  • Try to be flexible in your communication styles and approaches, by applying necessary and basic communication techniques at different times as you require.  
  • You should exert some control over the flow of the communication. When you have difficulties in expressing yourself at any  given time, take a deep breath, get your points together, familiarise yourself with your message and see it flow within you as stress free as possible before voicing it out.
  • Mind the tone of your verbal communication, as tones depict different meanings to what is said. Be sure of the impact you want your communication to have on your recipient in a bid to express yourself as intended and be understood in the same way.  
  • Good listening makes communication more productive, particularly when we listen, to understand in an empathetic and non-judgemental way.
  • Always communicate with the spirit of understanding, positivity and respect.

All these tips are useful to make communication processes more effective at work and at home.

As an individual, it is a personal responsibility to discover the power of your communicative potentials and of utmost importance to use it, positively to your advantage. The way you communicate tells other people how you perceive yourself and also influences how other people relate to you.

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