Communicating effectively will benefit you in every aspect of your life. Good communication skills impact your relationship with every person you interact with.
Leaders need to communicate their messages to people within their teams clearly. Your ability to communicate well can create a stronger sense of teamwork among your employees. If you're not communicating effectively, you won't be able to lead others successfully.
Four Types of Communications:
1. Verbal Communication
The most common form of communication is the spoken word. It can be used to convey information, ask questions or request a response from others. Verbal communication includes all forms of speech, such as talking, shouting, whispering, singing, chanting, and reading aloud.
2. Non-verbal Communication
There are many other ways that people communicate with each other without using words. Non-verbal communication includes nodding, shaking hands, pointing, eye contact, smiling, frowning, touching, leaning forward, standing up straight, sitting down, crossing arms, etc. These gestures help us understand what another person means when they speak.
We also use non-verbal cues to express ourselves to others. For example, if someone smiles at me while I'm speaking to him, he might be expressing interest in what I have to say. Or if he leans back in his chair, it tells me that he doesn't want to hear what I am saying.
3. Written Communication
The written word has been an important means of communication since ancient times. Written communication includes letters, e-mails, faxes, memos, reports, and other written messages. Written messages include text on paper and computer screens. Writing allows us to store large amounts of information quickly and easily.
4. Visual Communication
Another way that we communicate with each other is through pictures or images. Visual communication includes photographs, paintings, diagrams, charts, maps, graphs, drawings, sketches, animations, and videos.
Improving Communication Skills
If you want to improve your communication skills and become an effective leader, here are some tips:
1) Listen more than you talk - Ask questions that help you understand the other person's point of view. This is one way to get information from someone else.
2) Show interest - Don't just listen; show interest by asking about what is being said. You'll gain respect when you show interest in what they have to say.
3) Be clear - Make sure everyone understands exactly what you mean. Avoid using vague words like "maybe" or "kind of."
4) Use appropriate body language - Stand up straight, keep eye contact, make gestures with your hands, and smile. These actions send signals to the listener that you care about them and respect them.
5) Don't interrupt - Let people finish what they are saying before responding. Interruptions cause listeners to lose focus.
6) Keep your emotions under control - When you feel angry, frustrated or upset, take a few deep breaths and count to ten. Then tell yourself that you will remain calm and collected until you've had time to think things over.
8) Make eye contact - Look into the listener's eyes when you're communicating. If you don't look directly into their eyes, they may not believe that you care about what they're telling you.
9) Smile - Smiling makes you seem friendly and approachable. A smile says, "I'm glad to meet you!"
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Factors that can Inhibit Clear Communication
Some factors may interfere with clear communication between you and another person:
1) Poor listening skills - If you don't listen carefully, you won't understand what the other person says.
2) Lack of attention - Pay attention to what the other person is saying.
3) Inability to read non-verbal cues - If you're unaware of what the other person is thinking and feeling, you will miss valuable clues about what they want from you.
4) Failure to ask questions - Asking questions is a great way to understand what the other person means.
5) Not taking time to think before speaking - Think first about what you want to say and then speak clearly.
6) Talking too much - Some people love talking too much! They never stop talking.
7) Failing to acknowledge interruptions - Interruptions are common during conversations. Try to be polite and wait until the speaker has finished before you speak.
8) Ignoring body language - Body language tells us a lot about how we feel. Watch for signs such as fidgeting, smiling, frowning, leaning forward, and nodding.
9) Being impulsive - Sometimes, our emotions take over, and we act without considering the consequences.
10) Being argumentative - Arguments distract from the topic at hand. Avoid arguments by keeping disagreements focused instead of discussing all sides of an issue.
Ways of Overcoming Factors that Inhibit Clear Communication
To overcome some of these factors, try using one or more of the following techniques:
1) Ask open-ended questions - Open-ended questions invite responses that allow you to get more information than yes or no answers. For example, "Do you like this idea?" rather than "Yes or No."
2) Use active listening - Active listening allows you to hear both verbal and non-verbal messages. This technique involves focusing on what the other person is telling you and responding appropriately.
3) Practice good eye contact - Good eye contact shows interest and respect. Look directly into the other person's eyes when you talk to them.
4) Be specific - Make sure your words are clear so that the listener knows exactly what you mean.
5) Listen actively - Don't just sit there waiting for the other person to finish talking. Instead, make comments now and again to indicate that you are paying attention.
6) Show empathy - Empathy is understanding what another person is going through. It helps you relate to them better and makes it easier to communicate with them.
7) Consider tone and volume - Tone and volume can affect whether someone hears you correctly. Speak slowly and softly if you want to be heard.
8) Give positive feedback - A smile goes a long way toward improving your relationship. And don't forget to thank others for their help.