Even those of us who think they are good communicators are not as good as they think they are. The researchers found that people who knew each other well understood each other better than those they had just met. Here, we share strategies to improve communication skills.
Worse, the participants often overestimated their ability to communicate and this was more pronounced with the people they knew well. When we communicate with people we know well, we make presumptions about what they understand, assumptions we dare not do with strangers. Better communication skill makes you a good speaker.
This tendency to overestimate how well we communicate is so widespread that psychologists have also given a specific name: closeness-communication. Some people may be on the same wavelength, but maybe not as much as they think. In this way, we jabber losing sight of the other person’s perspective. We lose empathy.
Strategies to improve communication skills
Communication is the real core of leadership; you can’t become a great leader until you are a great communicator. Great communicators inspire people. They create an emotional and personal connection.
Great communicators forge this connection through people’s understanding and the ability to speak directly to their needs in such a way that they are ready to hear.
Below you will find eight strategies to improve communication skills and improve your relationship with others.
1. Talk to groups as individuals
To prevent people from being distracted during a company meeting rather than a group work, the secret is to turn to the group as a single person. Giving of you, so speak directly as if you were talking to one person.
2. Speak so that people listen
Great communicators carefully read their audience to make sure they don’t waste their breath on a message that people are not ready to listen to.
Speak so that people listen to mean adjusting your message on the fly to stay in tune with your audience. Don’t be in a hurry to finish your speech. When your talk leads people to ask good questions, you know you are on the right path.
3. Listen so that people talk
One of the most disastrous temptations is to bring one-way communication. When communicating, it is necessary to allow people to reason. If you find that you often have the last word in conversations, this is probably something you have to work on.
Listening does not only mean listening to words but also listening to the tone, speed and volume of the voice. What’s up? Was something not said? What are the hidden messages sent to you?
When someone talks to you, stop what you are doing and listen until the other person has finished speaking. When you are making a phone call, do not write an e-mail.
Simple behaviours like these will help you stay focused in the present moment by really understanding what the other person is saying.
4. Connect emotionally
To connect emotionally with people, you must be transparent. Human being. Show them what drives you, what interests you, what gets you out of bed in the morning. Openly express these feelings and you can create an emotional connection with people. Identify yourself in the interlocutor. If we succeed, you will bring communication to a higher level.
5. Read body language
The body communicates continuously and is an abundant source of information. Observe physical behaviour and you will understand hidden opinions, which do not want to be externalized.
Preparation is everything. The study of one’s discourse and the goal to be reached is fundamental. It allows you to communicate concretely and increase the perception of professionalism.
7. Avoid technical jargon
The world is full of jargons and metaphors. The problem arises when people abuse these words. Simple and direct and the best way.
8. Practice active listening
Active listening is a simple technique that ensures listening to people, an essential component of good communication. On this topic, I wrote a dedicated article. The link can be found at the end of the chapter.
Listening is truly an art to master.
To practice active listening:
- Spend more time listening than you talk.
- Don’t answer questions with questions.
- Avoid ending the sentences of others.
- Focus more on the other person than yourself.
- Focus on what people are saying not what their interests are.
- Reformulating what the other person said to make sure you understood correctly “Then you’re telling me that this … needs further consideration, right?”
- Think of what you say after someone has finished speaking, not while talking.
- Ask lots of questions.
- Never interrupt.
- Don’t take notes.
Work on these strategies to improve communication skills little by little. One point at a time so you can accurately assess progress and errors. Communication is a dynamic element that is intertwined in most daily activities. Mastering communication is a success for everyone.