Communication skills are one of the best working skills you can cultivate
Ipicked up the phone at work and said “hello” and hoped for the best. Half the time I get people with horrible communication skills: they simply don’t know how to ask for what they need and they end up not getting what they need.
To make matters more difficult, the United States is a rich collection of languages and cultures (mostly around big cities). Even worse, people have crappy cell phones and use speakerphones while driving.
Bad cell phone connections, poor English, deep accents, and bad communicators skills are not conducive to get ideas across.
However, the worst problem is not English or the phone, but worldwide declining communication skills. No one read or write anything anymore. Written and spoken language today, has smartphone texting production values. But communication needs for the most part still a great necessity in a increasingly complex world.
People simply lack the skills to go from the generic to specific – it is a simple matter of taking an idea that’s in your head and copying and pasting to someone else head – a valuable skill in any setting. Making friends, getting jobs, selling things, and getting lucky, all depend heavily on good communication skills.
when communication skills are absent, people just really hope that you know what they’re talking about. But no one knows what you’re talking about if you don’t follow the basic rules of communication.
The listener looks for clues trying to piece together a story. The communicator is the one trying to convey an idea; communication should be a dance between listener and talker. Listening skills and communication skills are two sides of a same coin. When they are both being well implemented, magic happens.
Here’s a few good communication skill resources
#1 GOING DOWN THE LEADER
This is a simple technique that work wonders. It is just a simple way to organize your ideas going from the bigger picture to smaller details. The sender’s job is to make sure the receiver gets a good map and all the elements needed to find the destination on the map.
When starting a communication chain: Start with the most generic and go down to the most specific. This is pretty simple. When you call someone on the phone don’t go right away into what you want.
First establish the scene (the 4 golden points)
First things first: (1) introduce yourself (2) how are you related to the situation you trying to convey (3) what is the situation (4) fine details about the situation. These simple steps will eliminate half of your communication difficulties.
A priority is also to access the receiver’s knowledge. How well a person knows about what you’ve trying to say. The more unaware he/she is, the more you’ll need to use the four points mentioned above.
#2 PRONUNCIATION, PRONUNCIATION, PRONUNCIATION
People assume others understand what they are saying, but that is rarely the case. Just because you see the word in you head, doesn’t mean the listener understood, even though they may gesture to you they did.
This seem obvious right? But lot’s of people don’t know how to actually speak clearly. Here’s a few of the most classic problems.
- speaking too quickly
- talking without projection your voice
- eating words
- wrong accentuation
- mending words together
- choice of words
Words by themselves can have tremendous influence in communicating. You choice of words are important because they can change the meaning of what you’re trying to communicate. Words can change the meaning adding: strength, precision, aggression, forgiveness, immediacy, urgency, seriousness, concern, attention, emotion, and so many other directions.
The order of these words, and how you place them is equally important. The construction of you sentences is the ultimate fine tuning of your communication skills.
“Listening skills and communication skills are two sides of a same coin. When they are both being well implemented, magic happens”
#4 GUIDE THE COMMUNICATOR
If you get someone on the phone or in person, who is lost. Don’t panic or get mad. Start guiding them down the leader from the generic to the specific. Our first instinctual reaction to a bad communicator is to shut down. I don’t have time for this thing right now. We don’t know why people communicate poorly. Use this moment as an opportunity to strike enlightenment. Stop the person on its tracks and start by asking questions number 1 -4. Usually people will feel relieved that you gave them a structure to follow.
Most people can learn basic English in a few months, but to learn the fine meaning of words can take 20 years. Once people learn basic English they tend to just stay there; because English is a fairly simple and business like language. But the sky is the limit when it comes to learning a language, and that bring me to reading and writing.
The best way to ace communication is by reading tons of good books and writing often. Reading is the first step but writing is the best way to become a better communicator. When writing you are practicing all skills related to communication. Writing will help you construct sentences and use the right words.
Have a great day!
- Obstacles to Communication in Health Care Settings: Participant Observation in an Emergency Department and Retail Pharmacy
Image credit: flickr.com