Communication is a skill that allows our thoughts, ideas and feelings to be understood by another person. Whether between teacher and student, one colleague to another in the workplace or parent and child, communication is the cornerstone of any type of relationship. In being able to succinctly make a point, clearly express our main message and understand responses, we impart knowledge, clarify doubts, and prevent misunderstandings. More than just transmitting information, it helps humans connect and build strong relationships.
How do you learn to communicate effectively?
Learning to communicate effectively is a skill that few people are naturally born with. It takes time, effort and persistence, working on it at every opportunity, becoming better at it each time – to be a confident, persuasive communicator. In this blog, we’ve listed a few strategies you can adopt to become a better communicator.
1. Be an engaged listener
Effective communication involves active listening. Physician communication expert Kenneth H. Cohn states that, “active listening is listening with all of one’s senses.” While we might think that improving communication skills is predominantly about improving how we speak or present, being a switched-on listener is also key. When we are fully focused and present and understand what is communicated to us, we’re in a better position to respond in a thoughtful, clear way. You make way for more fruitful discussion. Try this by adopting these methods:
- Devoting your attention to the person you’re talking to and being fully present
- Refraining from judgement
- Asking questions for clarification or elaboration
- Be aware of your body language and the non-verbal signals you’re sending
2. Speak with candor
Being able to be direct, open and honest will help establish trust with the people you communicate with. In tackling difficult situations and addressing potential pitfalls while working on a team project or addressing an issue with a friend, you deal with it head on instead of skirting around the issue. This allows you to meet goals successfully and efficiently.
3. Recognise the verbal and vocal elements of speech
Aim for precision in verbal communication, which is – saying the right thing at the right time. Think through and organise your thoughts before speaking, so what you say is coherent, clear and powerful. In this way, your words hold weight. Be conscious of using vocal elements to deliver speech too. These include projecting your voice and intoning appropriately, placing emphasis on key words or phrases.
4. Practise public speaking
As with any skill, becoming better at communicating involves repetition. In giving yourself the opportunity to practise communicating, you gain an understanding of what yields positive results and what requires improvement. Volunteer to lead group projects or sign up for PSB Academy’s student clubs. Our student clubs allows students to take on leadership roles honing skills of management, inspiring peers and team building. By seizing opportunities available to them, students can learn to become effective communicators.
Overcome barriers to effective communication
By adopting a few of these methods and taking small steps every day to get your point across to friends and family, you can reap the rewards of learning to communicate effectively.