Communication, in all aspects of life, is an important skill to possess. Some people are natural born communicators, but do not fret; communication is something that is a teachable skill and can be learned with practice. If you are wanting to learn how to communicate better, or even just need to brush up on the basics of communication, follow these five simple steps to become
a better communicator.
The most important and basic communication skill is to be a better listener. If you are a better listener, then all relationships in your life will reap the benefits. Your professional relationships will flourish, and it will make your personal life much easier and happier. This is not to say that it will be easy becoming a better listener, but it is worth the time and energy in actually listening and comprehending what people are saying.
2. Ask Questions
Raise your hand, be inquisitive, be curious, these are all things we have heard from countless teachers, superiors and parents all of our lives. Unfortunately, they were right… Asking questions shows that you pay attention, have an interest in the subject at hand and that you are constantly willing to learn new concepts and ideas. It shows people that you care and that you are attentive. You never know what doors can open up just by having a conversation.
3. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Communication
This goes for you and the person you are talking to. If you are acting awkward and shy, nine times out of ten you are making the other person feel shy and awkward too. Common body cues that you know someone is uncomfortable are nail-biting, sweaty palms, shaking, heavy breathing and pacing. Put the other person at ease by being poised and calm. If you are the person who cannot seem to calm down before communicating, use the box breathing technique – breathe in for five seconds, hold the breath for five seconds, exhale for five seconds and then pause for five seconds before beginning your next round of box breathing. Repeat these steps until you can feel yourself calming down.
4. Don’t be a “One-Upper”
ATTENTION: You may be a “one-upper” if… You are constantly, name-dropping or saying that you have done something more times or you have been to better places. For Example:Innocent Bystander: “I’m baking one of my grandma’s cookie recipes today.”One-Upper: “Ohh are you? I am too, this recipe is from my grandma who had a recipe book published in the 1940’s and the recipe calls for chocolate made directly from Switzerland. I’m getting on a plane at noon to pick it up!”
If you think you have tendencies like in the above example, you may be a “one-upper.” Learn to curb these outbursts by placing yourself in the other person’s shoes, and think about how you would feel if that person was constantly trying to be better than you.
5.Think Before You Speak
The best communicators have a plan before they begin speaking or writing; this is because great communicators know how to think and develop their ideas. Developing a well-thought out communication plan will help your writing, your speech giving skills and even your phone speaking skills. If you get flustered and lose focus, you will be able to react and respond with ease and comfort.
Cassidy Graham is a senior public relations and digital design major with a marketing minor. She serves as the firm director of Red Brick Communications as well as Chapter vice president of the Waynesburg University Public Relations Student Society of America. Post graduation, Cassidy plans to pursue her passion of public relations and marketing to hopefully work in the corporate sector. Follow her on Twitter, and connect with her on LinkedIn.