Good communication skills is one of the most important areas for personal development. Effective communication is critical to everyone…at home, at work and in social settings. All relationships start with good communication skills. So, it is no small wonder that we are always trying to learn how to communicate better.
So, what is communication?
Communication is how you exchange your thoughts, opinions, and information with others whether it is through speech, writing, or signs. Good communication happens when two or more people can share each other’s thoughts, ideas or opinions and conclude the same message.
Many of the responses you get from others reflect the way you choose to communicate to them. Similarly, others reveal themselves in a way that reflects their communication style.
Verbal or nonverbal…
The two main types of communication are verbal and
nonverbal. Each is important when interacting with others.
You typically communicate by:
Verbal Messages – this refers to the words you choose to relay information to others through conversations, speeches, presentations and discussions. Some key fundamentals of verbal communication are sound, words, speaking, and language.
You can improve your verbal communication skills by speaking clearly, remaining calm and focused, while being polite and showing courtesy during your interaction with others.
On the other hand, words that are critical, blaming, judgmental or accusatory tend to create barriers and resistance. Those kinds of words can trigger a defensive mindset within the person with whom you are communicating. This is a barrier to developing good communication skills. Moreover, it does not lead to productivity or problem solving.
You should also choose words that normalize issues and problems and reduce resistance. Phrases such as, "in some districts, people may . . .", "it is not uncommon for . . ." and "for some folks in similar situations" - are good examples of this. These types of phrases can help the process of effective verbal communication skills.
Verbal communication is a preferred way to interact face-to-face. That’s because this kind of interpersonal communication usually has greater effect on the listener than informational content. It also solicits immediate feedback. This is your opportunity to help the listener understand YOUR perspective and point of view.
Make sure to intentionally choose your words carefully for making your message as clear and focused as possible. Avoid jargon and unnecessary emotion.
More verbal barriers…
In addition to those previously mentioned, here are some more barriers to good verbal communication skills, such as… -Attacking (interrogating, criticizing, blaming, shaming) -Showing power (ordering, threatening, commanding, directing) -Shouting, name calling, refusing to speak.
You can further improve your verbal communications by:
1. Pronouncing all your words clearly - I’ve already mentioned how you can improve your verbal communication skills by pronouncing your words clearly. In addition to that, pay close attention to the way you pronounce word endings. For instance, some people leave “g” off the end of sentences ending in “ing.”
2. Adding emphasis to certain words in a sentence - for example, this statement, "I didn't say you are being ridiculous" has six different meanings, depending on which word is emphasized. A single sentence can convey several different meanings depending on your emphasis on words and the tone of your voice.
3. Avoiding the use "big words" to sound more educated - this turns others off and can quickly backfire when you're not sure of the usage and pronunciations of certain words. People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure how to say a word, don’t use it.
4.Thinking before you speak - organizing your thoughts before you speak can reduce the amount of awkward pauses and verbal "hiccups."
Good communication skills can definitely be learned. It takes a little work, but the results are worth it. By focusing on your communication skills as part of your personal development, you can significantly improve your interpersonal communications and relationships.