Good communication skills: make your message clear

It can be frustrating -and a big waste of time- when two or more people are at cross purposes on an issue. Bad communication can be costly, too – and sour viable working relationships.

Luckily, great results can be achieved quite easily once some basic good communication skills are established. The new clever in communication is keeping it simple.

Tips for effective face-to-face communication

1. Pitch and Tone

People’s concentration naturally drifts after 1.7 seconds. So how is it possible to command attention for five minutes, ten minutes, or longer? Demand people’s attention by altering your pitch and tone.

If you’re not aware of how you sound, find a helpful friend or colleague to talk with and make a recording of your conversation. Alternatively, record your voice as you practice delivering a presentation.

As you play it back, take note of which parts you are listening to most attentively, and which parts you find yourself tuning out.

Practice shifting your tone and pitch when communicating with others and take notice of the increase in engagement.

2. Body language

Another simple tool we can use to engage is body language. Making eye contact and leaning toward those we’re speaking to are signals which help establish good communication.

There’s no standard encyclopaedia of body language, though, so it’s a good idea to calibrate your understanding of the person’s body language. Don’t assume that crossed arms means the person is closed down or aggressive, it could simply mean that they are comfortable!

3. Choosing your words

The brain finds it difficult to rationalise the words “Don’t and Not.” An example of this is when somebody says “Don’t worry” or you ask a child “Not to do something.” What happens? We worry and the child normally does the opposite! Avoid negative words wherever possible, and rephrase to emphasise the positive.

Other words to avoid include vague, abstract words or jargon. Use concrete words, with sufficient detail to convey your message clearly, without being overwhelming.

Good communication skills are key to an effective workplace.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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