How many times have we left a meeting more confused than we started. How many conversations left more questions than answers?
Learning the art of communication can seem daunting and exhausting, however, learning to communicate effectively with others can be the single most beneficial skill you can learn. But how do we learn it? Sometimes I see gifted communicators and assume they are born with greatness.
Although some personalities are more prone to excel in leadership positions, there are skills we can all learn to enhance and elevate our ability to communicate effectively. I feel as though I have stumbled upon an effective communication techniques, but have lacked the skills to consistently talk to teams, management and peers. I find myself wanting to communicate well, but I never realized that these traits can be both learned and mastered.
We could all use a little work on communication with each other, and the good news is, we can all learn how!
3 Effective Communication Skills for Personal Growth & Empowerment
Being aware of bad communication habits to avoid is beneficial, but so too is taking the time and effort to cultivate newer, better communication habits for the future.
If you find yourself struggling to converse with others, or have difficulty voicing your opinion, don’t worry. Add a few of these positive habits to your repertoire and you’ll be well on your way to confident, productive communication in no time!
Here are 3 effective communication skills to work on:
Be Aware of Your Body
Did you know that most experts in the field agree that more than half of what you’re saying isn’t coming from your mouth?
That’s right. Body language accounts for a staggering percentage of our communication, and most of the time, we’re not aware of the messages we’re sending.
Your body, your posture, and your facial expressions all play a role in the way you communicate. So, to begin mastering the first of these effective communication skills, you’ll need to become more aware of your body, and how you occupy the space you’re in when you communicate with others.
Can body language contradict our vocal communication? Absolutely, it can. And that’s how miscommunications occur.
Here are some examples of common body language signals and what they communicate:
- Crossed or folded arms – Defensiveness, insecurity
- Hands clasped behind the body – Authority, confidence
- Adjusting clothes, watch, jewelry – Nervousness
- Finger pointing – Aggression
- Clenched fists – Anger, resolve, anxiety
- Clasping or squeezing hands – Self-soothing
- Hands on the hips – Authority, assertiveness
Without realizing it, we’re telling a story with our bodies. The next time you’re speaking to another person, perform a quick body scan to find out how your body is positioned.
Are you closed off? Are your arms folded? Or do you have a relaxed, open posture, with your arms at ease by your sides?
Be aware of the power of body language and the role it plays in effective communication.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone in which you could later barely recall what it is they said to you? Were you perhaps too busy thinking about what you were about to say next, rather than actually listening?
Many of us are guilty of this one. Sometimes it stems from an inherent attitude of competition instilled in us at a young age. Other times, it’s merely a symptom of feeling unheard or undervalued.
Some of us even go so far as to interrupt what others are saying in mid-sentence, just to interject our own thoughts and opinions.
We have to learn to practice active listening to be better communications. This is but one of many effective communication skills, but could be one of the most important.
Active listening means being fully present and aware of what the speaker is attempting to impart. It means offering the speaker your full and undivided attention. That means no cell phones, no laptop screens, no half hearted listening over your shoulder as you poke through the fridge looking for leftovers.
We demonstrate active listening by making eye contact with the speaker. We nod our heads to affirm that we’re paying attention. We may even interject periodicmhmm’s and yes’s to encourage the speaker onward.
Of course, active listening isn’t always possible. Sometimes we’re in a rush and need to do several things at once, so having a conversation with our partner while we do the dishes becomes a necessity.
When you can, try to practice active listening. Effective communication skills aren’t just about cultivating a powerful message. They’re also about being a careful and considerate listener.
Deliver With Confidence
Many people have a fear of public speaking. It’s not easy to get up and speak in front of those you don’t know well. Sometimes, it’s even more challenging to get up and speak in front of those you do know well!
If you want to make your voice heard, you’ll need to cultivate a strong and confident delivery.
Becoming a more confident speaker takes time and practice. It’s a skill that must be curated over time, so don’t expect too much from yourself right off the bat. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and work at it, bit by bit, day by day.
Do’s and don’t’s of confident communication:
- Don’t speak before you think. Take time to decide what you’d like to say.
- Don’t ramble. The key to confident communication is to be succinct.
- Don’t yell. Bold communication is about much more than simply raising the volume of your voice. You want to be clear and concise, but you don’t need to be loud.
- Do slow down. One tip-off of nervous communication is high pitched, quick pace speech. Take a deep breath. Slow down. Take your time.
- Do stay present. One way we trip ourselves up when speaking is trying to conjure up what we’re going to say next. Trust in yourself. Trust that the words will come. You can only say one thing at a time. Stay present.
- Do be aware of your body. Confidence is about much more than just your voice. Your body language says a lot too. Relax your shoulders, ease your jaw, stand tall, and take a deep breath. When you’re ready, begin to speak.
Original article from mindvalley.com