Let’s be honest; we’ve all found ourselves in situations where we’ve prepared a little or a lot for an upcoming conversation or presentation related to our interests.
However, for various reasons, we sometimes underestimate situations, avoiding our thoughts and doubts, or even struggling to find the right words when speaking.
All of these combined factors clearly indicate the desperate need for the refinement of “Good Communication Skills” in your repertoire.
Now, I won’t make you rack your brain by listing every detail about communication skills.
Every speaker possesses communication skills; we need to elevate them a bit. So, let’s understand what good communication skills entail.
Let’s imagine you’re at a business meeting right in the heart of Mumbai – pretty cool, right?
Anyway, even though you might have a hard time focusing on the meeting itself, especially because it’s scheduled after lunch, you still manage to be a good communicator.
Here are the skills that earned you the ‘good communicator’ label, or in other words, how one can excel in communication skills:
Active Listening. As your team member presents the proposal, you focus your attention entirely on them.
You don’t get distracted by your phone or other tasks. Instead, you maintain eye contact, nod occasionally, and provide verbal cues like “I understand” or “Interesting” to show that you’re engaged and comprehending their points.
Clarity. When it’s your turn to respond, you offer clear and concise feedback.
Empathy. You sense that your team member has put much effort into this proposal. You acknowledge their hard work by saying something like, “I appreciate the time and thought you’ve put into this. I can see you’ve invested a lot of effort into finding solutions.”
Nonverbal Communication. Your body language reflects your interest and openness.
You lean forward slightly to show engagement, maintain appropriate eye contact, and use facial expressions that convey genuine interest in their ideas.
Your tone of voice is supportive and encouraging.
With these common communication skills, you create an environment of open dialogue that sets you apart.
Examples from real life highlight the practical use of communication skills in different scenarios, emphasising their role in promoting successful interactions and building meaningful relationships.
Here is a list of the same:
Confidence is the foundation of effective communication. It shapes how we share our thoughts, connect with people, and influence the outcome of our conversations.
When we speak with assurance, we come across as trustworthy, build connections, and capture the listener’s attention.
Imagine you’re preparing for a job interview at a prestigious company. The role requires strong leadership skills and the ability to present complex ideas clearly.
You’re confident in your qualifications and preparation as you enter the interview room.
This confidence significantly enhances your communication throughout.
In essence, confidence is the driving force that elevates your communication from merely conveying information to making a lasting impact.
It’s not just about having all the answers but believing in your ability to express yourself effectively and connect with others in a meaningful way.
Active listening is a concrete communication and providing feedback. Its impact on effective communication is profound, as it fosters understanding, builds rapport, and enhances overall communication quality.
Imagine you work in customer service and receive a call from an upset customer who received a damaged product. Your active listening skills come into play as you address their concerns:
As the customer begins to explain the issue, you put aside distractions and fully focus on their words.
You don’t interrupt or jump to conclusions; instead, you let them share their experience uninterrupted.
When the customer expresses their frustration, you validate their feelings by acknowledging, “I can understand how disappointing this situation must be.”
Once the customer has shared their concerns, you offer solutions while referencing their specific issues.
This demonstrates that you’ve listened carefully.
Friendliness contributes to a positive and pleasant atmosphere during communication.
A friendly tone, smiles, and positive body language create an environment where individuals feel at ease and free to express themselves without fear of judgment.
This positive ambience encourages a more open and honest exchange of thoughts and perspectives.
In group settings, friendliness is a catalyst for effective teamwork. When team members communicate in a friendly manner, it promotes cooperation, reduces conflicts, and encourages a sense of unity.
Collaborative outcomes are more likely when individuals feel comfortable sharing ideas and working together.
In essence, friendliness is not just a superficial nicety; it’s a powerful facilitator that shapes the very essence of communication.
Volume and Clarity
When you combine appropriate volume with clarity, you enhance your communication effectiveness.
This combination ensures that your message reaches your audience accurately and comprehensibly.
Whether you’re presenting to a large audience, engaging in a one-on-one conversation, or leading a team meeting, volume and clarity can significantly impact how your message is received.
Imagine you are a teacher giving a lecture in a large classroom. If you speak too softly, the students at the back might struggle to hear you, leading to disengagement and loss of interest.
On the other hand, speaking too loudly might come across as aggressive or even create discomfort among the students.
Therefore, maintaining a moderate volume ensures that everyone can hear you comfortably without feeling overwhelmed.
In summary, volume and clarity are essential elements of effective communication. They work hand in hand to make sure your message is heard and understood.
Responsiveness refers to the ability to actively engage and provide timely feedback or reactions in a conversation.
Being responsive shows that you’re attentive and engaged and fosters a sense of connection and understanding between you and your communication partner.
Let’s explore how responsiveness impacts communication with a detailed example.
Imagine you are a project manager leading a team meeting to discuss a critical project deadline. Team members share their progress, concerns, and ideas during the meeting.
As the project manager, your level of responsiveness will significantly influence the outcome of the discussion and the team’s perception of your leadership.
Storytelling is a powerful communication technique that involves conveying information, ideas, or messages through a narrative structure.
It engages the audience emotionally and cognitively, making the information more memorable, relatable, and impactful.
Let’s look into how storytelling affects good communication skills with an example.
Imagine you are a sales manager in a technology company, and you’re tasked with delivering a presentation to potential clients about a new product your team has developed—a cutting-edge software solution that streamlines business operations.
Instead of presenting a dry list of features and benefits, you decide to use storytelling to make the presentation more engaging and cogent.
You start with your company’s CEO, let’s name her Miya.
As the story unfolds, you reveal how Miya comes across your software solution.
You describe her initial scepticism and hesitation, mirroring the doubts that some clients in the audience might have.
However, as Miya starts using the software and witnessing its transformative effects, her company thrives.
You highlight the specific ways in which the software addresses her pain points and brings about positive changes.
This approach engages the listeners more in the actual concept. You can also create engagement by asking or referencing common and relatable situations the listener might have experienced.
Remember that this storytelling method works best when you have ample time.
However, if you have limited time, ranging between 5-10 minutes or less, make sure to keep it concise while effectively conveying your message.
Voice modulation is the intentional variation in pitch, tone, pace, volume, and emphasis while speaking.
It’s a crucial aspect of effective communication that adds depth, emotion, and clarity to your message.
Voice modulation can greatly influence how your audience receives and understands your message.
Let’s explore how voice modulation affects good communication skills with an example.
Imagine you are a public speaker giving a motivational speech to a diverse audience.
Your speech is about overcoming challenges and embracing change to achieve personal growth.
Your ability to use voice modulation effectively will significantly impact the engagement and impact of your message.
You adjust your pitch and tone throughout your speech to match the content and emotions you’re conveying.
When discussing challenges, use a slightly lower pitch and a more serious tone to convey the gravity of the situation.
Voice modulation allows you to emphasise specific words or phrases with significant meaning.
For example, when you say, “Embracing change is essential for personal growth,” you increase the volume and emphasise “essential” to underscore its importance in your message.
Communication skills enable you to effectively convey an idea, direction, opinion, or emotion to others, usually in exchange for a response or feedback.
According to the NACE web, communication skills top the list of skills employers look for when hiring applicants.
To enhance your communication skills, consider the following strategies:
Absorb, Share, and Understand – Respect the views of others through engagement and interest. Use appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities to explain and clarify thoughts and ideas. Listen actively to others and ask questions to understand them better.
When answering questions about your communication skills, provide a comprehensive response that highlights your strengths while being honest.
Here’s a structured way to answer such questions:
Confirm Skill. Recognize the importance of good communication skills and how they relate to the job you are applying for.
Provide Evidence. Give specific examples from your experience demonstrating your strong communication skills. These examples can come from different aspects of your life, such as work, study, volunteer work, or personal interactions.
Highlight Strengths. Mention aspects of communication where you excel, such as active listening, speaking clearly, presenting effectively, written communication, teamwork, or conflict resolution.
Show Willingness to Learn. Express your desire to improve your communication skills continually. This demonstrates your focus on development and your openness to feedback.
Connect to the Role. Link your answer to the position you are applying for and explain how your communication skills will benefit the team and contribute to the organisation’s success.
Remember, your response should be honest and tailored to your experiences and the specific job you’re applying for.
Communication occurs in various scenarios, and adept communication is essential for understanding, connection, and achievement.
Here are a few situations:
1. Business Meeting. Presenting a project update, discussing strategies, and making decisions with colleagues and stakeholders.
2. Job Interview. Engaging in a conversation with a potential employer to showcase your skills, experience, and suitability for a job role.
3. Family Gathering. Participating in a discussion during a family reunion or dinner, sharing news and stories, and catching up with relatives.
4. Classroom Lecture. Listening to a teacher present new information or concepts and asking questions for clarification or deeper understanding.
5. Public Speaking. Addressing a large audience to convey a message, share information, or inspire action on a particular topic.
6. Text Messaging. Using various messaging platforms, exchanging written messages with friends, family, or colleagues.
7. Video Conference. Participating in a virtual meeting with remote colleagues or clients, using video and audio to communicate and collaborate.
These are just a few examples of communication situations, and in each case, effective communication skills are crucial for conveying thoughts.
1. Clear Message. Effective communication involves conveying a clear and well-defined message, organising your thoughts, choosing the right words, and structuring your message coherently to minimise misunderstandings.
2. Active Listening. Listening actively and understanding the context, emotions, and meaning behind spoken words. It shows respect for the other person and allows you to ask relevant questions and respond thoughtfully.
3. Feedback and Response. Providing feedback and responding appropriately confirm that the message was received and understood correctly. Constructive comments and thoughtful responses contribute to productive and meaningful dialogue.
An organisation that communicates openly is likely to achieve better results.
Simple goals like fostering a culture of listening, improving speaking skills, and building better relationships with team members can be key to achieving this.
Training is also essential to learn the more technical aspects of communication, so it’s a good idea to include it in your plan.
Combining all the factors we’ve discussed will undoubtedly help individuals develop good communication skills.
Take your time to learn these simple yet concept-grasping pointers that will put you at the forefront of speaking skills.
And who knows, someday, people might come to you for advice on “how to improve communication skills.”