Communication works for those who work at it. Thus said John Powell.
Just because we have been talking all our lives does not mean we have good communication skills. It takes a conscious effort on the part of an individual to develop the ability to communicate. In the world of business with increased sophistication, it is imperative that people at all levels develop effective skills for communication
Our day to day business communication is an amalgamation of email and text messaging interspersed with face to face communication.
Let us acquaint ourselves with each skill
Verbal Communication Skills
- Saying the right thing at the right time is the most important point
- Be friendly and approachable. Be loud and clear while talking. Keep the audience engaged by interaction
- Know your audience, use words familiar to them. Do not hesitate or fumble making them lose confidence in you
- The audience has loads of things on their minds, their mortgages, their assignments, family issues because of which the attention span is limited. Know what are the most important points you want them to retain and take with them. Reiterate the key points. Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them what you have to tell them, tell them what you told them. Make sure, the speaker and the listener are on the same page by summarising and asking for feedback
- Do not lose focus of the topic of discussion. Do not let your train of thought derail. Be precise and to the point.
Non-Verbal Communication Skills
- It enhances the expression of the message. Statistics quote that the non-verbal component constitutes 93% of the communication, wherein 38% constitutes the vocal element, your volume, pitch, tone, how you sound. 55% is the non-verbal elements, the facial expressions, the body language, the gestures, the posture and so on. Only 7% is conveyed through the words. Though the weight of the different elements depends on the situation and the individuals involved, HOW we say is more important than WHAT we say.
- Making eye contact is very important when interacting with someone, it signifies the gravity of the statement.
- You also need to appear confident by maintaining the correct posture. People would be more keen on listening if you stand straight appear balanced and relaxed rather than when you slouch and appear bored.
- A smile opens communication doors.
- The tone of voice conveys a wealth of information from enthusiasm to disinterest
- Communication is not only about talking and presenting your ideas but also about listening and comprehending
- Giving undivided attention to the speaker without being distracted by external stimuli or internal thought process; thus listening without distortion and incorporating the views in the communication
- Listening shows that you have an open mind, respect and accept others’ opinions resulting in an active collaboration
- Acknowledging, summarizing and paraphrasing by the listener promotes two-way communication
- Asking questions affirms your engagement in a conversation and asserts clarity
- More often than not, we are preparing our own dialog while listening to someone which results in distortion of the message received
- Written communication must be as clear and concise as possible. Long enough to cover all the important points and short enough to qualify as business communication
- Avoid ambiguity
- Review the writing before sending. A grammar check and spell check would be advisable
- Make sure to involve only the relevant people while addressing written communication
- Follow up to ensure that the person on the other end has understood and is able to undertake the task
Follow these pointers and be a better communicator.