For many, the word “communication” is the act of relaying a message to others. However, if those words remain unheard or cannot be understood by the listener the speaker has simply been talking. That there are so many self-help sources offering suggestions on how to develop communication skills is evidence the art remains mysterious.
Communication is, to all intents and purposes the exchange of information between people. According to Paul Meyer, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” Therefore, learning how to develop communication skills determines success in all endeavors. Outlined in this article are the most important factors to consider when looking to develop your communication skills.
Voltaire once said, “If you wish to converse with me, define your terms.” When communicating with someone else it is vital, first and foremost to understand what it is that you are trying to say. Stick to the point you are trying to make and don’t confuse the listener with unnecessary information.
When communication involves conflict, where passion may be persuasive, unchecked emotions can be perceived as offensive. Effective Communication requires you to be able to put aside your emotions and stick to the facts. Asking specific questions will demonstrate sincere interest in hearing their perspective and make them more open to hearing yours.
A great way to improve your ability to communicate is to develop your listening skills. Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”. In other words, during the course of communicating your thoughts to someone else remember to stop and listen with equal enthusiasm when they speak.
It is important to be articulate in your communication and to respect the person with whom you are speaking.
Never lie, even when it suits you to do so. The most valuable thing a person can have is their reputation and, once damaged, can often never be repaired. If in the course of discussion you are asked a question to which you do not know the answer see this as an obstacle but an opportunity to learn how to develop your communication skills further. Make sure you do promise to go away and find the answer though and be absolutely sure that you follow up on that promise. Not only will you gain the person’s respect by your willingness to learn on their behalf but will inspire trust in what you say afterward.
President Kennedy said, “If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.” Therefore, the biggest secret in how to develop communication skills starts with understanding that when a tree falls and no one hears it the sound it makes is meaningless.