If you feel uncomfortable communicating with people, this does not mean that you cannot become a brilliant conversationalist and convincing speaker. Sometimes, just a little work on yourself is enough to develop your communication skills. A few simple tips will help you with this. Let’s see together why communication skills are so important and how to break the barriers to effective communication.
1. Watch your body language
Let's begin our journey of learning why communication skills are so important starting with our body language. Our gestures often speak to the interlocutor much more than words. You can claim that you are open to conversation, but your crossed arms will give away your isolation. Or say that you are listening - but your eyes will wander. All this is automatically “read” by your interlocutor. If you want a successful conversation, pay attention not only to what you are saying but also to your facial expressions, gestures, and posture.
2. Get rid of speech “polluters”
If you want your words to sound convincing, get rid of unnecessary “gap fillers” like “uh” and “mmm” or meaningless “well” or “like”. How to do it? Control is key. Start by noticing the use of these words when you speak. Once you pay attention to them and isolate them from the flow of your speech, it will become easier to get rid of them and improve your interpersonal communication skills to an effective communication.
3. Prepare for small conversations
A small, meaningless conversation with an unfamiliar person, for example, at an office party, is a true art. But such conversations can be a pleasant entertainment if you have prepared a little for it and sketched a small plan. Use the so-called FORD principle (family, occupation, recreation, dreams) - family, work, rest, dreams. Instead of filling the awkward pause with meaningless talk about the weather, ask the person about their summer plans or the last movie they watched, or ask about their literature preferences. Believe us. It will be much more pleasant for your interlocutors to talk about a topic of their interest than to listen to your attempts to entertain them.
4. Ask questions and repeat what the other person says
Show the person you are truly engaged in the conversation. The best way to show this is to repeat the last few words that were just said and ask for clarification. Your interlocutor will immediately understand that you have listened carefully, and it will please him to continue the conversation. It will help you to break the barriers to effective communication.
5. Put your phone down
This advice may seem obvious, but checking notifications and messages on the phone has become a habit for many and even something that you don't think about before doing. Pay attention to whether you have become a hostage to this habit. Even a glance at the phone can offend your interlocutor and ruin the conversation.
6. Adapt to the audience
Another secret of excellent speakers is to consider the characteristics of your audience. It is the right presentation that will help your words reach your goal. Use the situation, and adapt your communication style and vocabulary, taking into account who you are talking to. This is a great entrance door to an effective communication.
7. Include logic
Your communication should be logical and structured, even if thoughts wander and jump from one place to another in your mind. The interlocutor should easily understand what you want to say. And for this, first, decide for yourself what exactly you want to convey to the interlocutor. Try to give a little context. Use arguments and don’t mix facts.
Paradoxically, an excellent conversationalist is, first, a good listener. Develop the ability to focus on the conversation and listen carefully without distraction. Show the interlocutors you are interested in what they are saying and empathize with them. This small action will make your conversation work out and break down your barriers to effective communication.
Check out this TED Talk about the Art of effective communication. Navigate through conversations and do your art.
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