Good communication is one of the best life skills you can learn to help you successfully navigate adulthood. Being able to clearly get your thoughts across, is vital to all relationships with other human beings – whether it’s at home, or at work.
It’s no surprise that great leaders are also highly effective communicators!
You can use communication to share information, express appropriate emotion, or motivate others to ensure a specific outcome that you want or need.
Here are our best tips for effective communication:
1. Keep your tone positive or neutral
People don’t respond well to negative communication. Even in difficult situations, such as needing to tell someone that you are unhappy with something they have done, it is important to keep your tone neutral and understanding. This is true whether you are having an argument with a family member, or need to speak with a colleague or employee about their behaviour.
2. Be a good listener
When you have a lot to say, it’s easy to become so distracted by your own thoughts that you stop listening to the other person. By listening properly, you are able to respond appropriately. This shows that you are open to conversation, and not one-sided communication. Good listening includes non-verbal communication such as maintaining eye contact and nodding.
3. Be as direct as possible
If you need to communicate a complex idea, make sure that you are able to express yourself as clearly as possible. This may take some practice, and you may need to prepare in advance for important conversations. Being direct ensures that there are no misunderstandings.
4. Tell the other person what you want
Most communication has a specific goal in mind. If you are ambiguous about your goal, you will not achieve it. For example, if you need to ask for help, just ask. Don’t beat around the bush and be vague because you think it makes you ‘nicer’.
5. Be open to ideas and criticism
Effective communicators are not dictators. They listen, respond, are open to new ideas and want to find solutions. Feedback, even criticism, is important because it opens your mind to different solutions, and usually delivers much better results.
6. Be authentic but control your emotions
Great communication walks a fine line when it comes to emotions. It’s important to be as genuine as possible, show empathy and allow your personality to shine through in a professional environment. But it’s also important that your communication is not controlled by your emotions. The same goes for personal communication – if you let your emotions rule the conversation, things can quickly get out of hand and you can lose sight of the goal of the conversation.