Understanding the importance of becoming an effective communicator
Effective communication is the foundation of any long-lasting relationship within and outside the workplace. However, it can be difficult to communicate effectively for many people. Being able to pass information to another person requires the ability to articulate your thoughts and also make sense of what others are saying. Whether you are looking to build a more successful team or manage office politics, you will need to be an effective communicator.
Here, we outline top strategies for improving your communication skills and becoming an excellent communicator.
Strategies to help you become an effective communicator
Here are 25 ways to enhance your communication skills and become an effective communicator:
1. Identify your objective for communicating
Before you talk to people, it is important to identify the purpose of the exercise. The way you approach a discussion with your manager to ask for a raise will differ from how you will instruct a junior employee. Identifying the aim of your communication will determine the strategy best suited to your audience.
2. Know your audience
Tailor your message to a specific audience for maximum impact. If you are communicating with professionals or business clients, a formal tone is suitable. However, you can be informal and casual when speaking to consumers and colleagues in a work setting. Consider the audience’s preferences, age, education, and cultural background as these factors can determine their response to your messaging.
3. Be an active listener
To be an effective communicator, you must learn to listen actively to other people. Active listening shows the speaker you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. When you listen actively, you are making a deliberate effort to hear the other person’s side of a story.
4. Speak with clarity
Being an effective communicator requires speaking with clarity. Before you say anything, go over it in your mind to be sure it is the right thing. Regardless of the medium of communication, ensure that people get what you say the first time, and repeat important details to avoid misunderstandings.
5. Be concise
Effective communication also requires brevity. When you talk excessively, it is easy for your message to get lost in the chatter. Avoid being too brief or overly verbose while communicating to keep the audience’s attention and ensure they get your message correctly.
6. Know your stuff
Prepare adequately before communicating to an audience. Do your research, have all the relevant information with you, and prepare for potential questions the audience might ask you. For instance, you are going for an interview. To impress the hiring manager, research the job duties and responsibilities, the company, and its products and services. Doing this will allow you to respond to the interviewer’s questions convincingly and confidently.
7. Use the right pace
Whether you are speaking on the phone or in person, it is vital to pace your message to make it easy for your audience to follow. Speaking too quickly makes it difficult for listeners to understand your message. Talking too slowly may cause your audience to lose interest. The best approach is to talk at an even pace, sometimes repeating vital details, to allow the audience to process your message without getting distracted.
8. Master nonverbal communication
Knowing how to use nonverbal communication or body language is a vital part of becoming an effective communicator. Making eye contact with a friendly tone and relaxed stance can make your audience more open to your message. Clenched fists, a high-pitched voice, and a rigid posture can signal aggression and create a hostile atmosphere that puts the audience on the defensive.
9. Maintain your composure
Whether you are having a friendly conversation or in a heated argument, communicating effectively requires maintaining your composure. While it can be difficult to stay composed during a stressful conversation, relaxing and acting like you would under normal circumstances will allow you to gather your thoughts more effectively. It will also help you avoid getting agitated and remain professional.
10. Frame your message for maximum impact
To have maximum impact, it is important to find the best way to frame your message. Doing this requires defining your message to keep the listener engaged to the end. Whenever you are speaking to an audience, frame your story in a captivating way that makes them anticipate the end of your story so you can have the most impact on them.
11. Study how others communicate
Observing how more effective communicators pass information and imbibing their strategies can also help you communicate more efficiently. For example, you may have a boss you is adept at writing reports or giving presentations. Study their methods or even approach them to teach you how to become better in areas where you are lacking.
12. Communicate at the right time
Knowing when to talk and when to keep silent is a hallmark of effective communicators. Whether you want to ask for a favor, deliver good or bad news, or ask for advice, make sure your audience is in the right frame of mind to receive your message. For example, you are more likely to get a raise if you ask immediately after exceeding your sales quotas or receiving an overwhelmingly positive performance review.
13. Communicate through the right medium
You need to pick the right medium to communicate effectively. For example, email or phone is an ideal medium for communicating with busy people. If you want to have a serious conversation, say, about layoffs or a takeover, you will have the most impact with an in-person audience. Some demographics, such as teenagers who spend a lot of time on their smartphones, may be easier to reach through social media.
14. Ask for clarification
Misinterpretation is one of the biggest problems while communicating. When you are not sure of what the other person is saying, ask clarifying questions. Asking questions not only helps to clear misunderstandings, it can also show the speaker you are focused on the conversation.
15. Be confident
Speaking with a confident language is an important communication skill. While this can be difficult for many people, you can learn to sound confident. Whether you are at an interview or giving a presentation, using action verbs gives your message more punch and portrays you as a confident person.
16. Be flexible
Being flexible and open to other people’s ideas and perspectives is an important trait of excellent communicators. Get your message across, but also listen to other people’s points of view. When people know you will value their opinion, it becomes easier to have productive dialogue that will satisfy all parties.
17. Practice empathy
Being flexible, respecting other people’s point of view, and making a conscious effort to listen to them is part of showing empathy. Practicing empathy shows other people you take them seriously and respect their opinion. Empathy is a soft skill that not only makes you a more effective communicator, but it can also improve your interpersonal relationships and enhance your power of persuasion.
18. Be friendly
Having a friendly disposition during conversations can affect how people respond to you. It makes you more approachable and people will feel at ease around you. Simple gestures like asking a question with a smile, speaking in a friendly tone, and personalizing emails can create a cordial atmosphere that will encourage honest and open communication.
19. Show respect
Respecting people and their views will make them more receptive to communicating with you. Calling people by their name, listening actively when they speak, making eye contact, and taking them seriously can make your audience feel respected.
20. Provide feedback
Giving and receiving feedback can also help improve your communication skills. By accepting feedback from others, you will know your lapses and be able to work towards becoming a better communicator.
21. Be silent
Sometimes, being silent is better than contributing to a conversation. Be silent if your response might cause more chaos and make others agitated. Staying silent will provide you time to articulate your thoughts and give a speaker an appropriate response.
22. Avoid arguments
Whether you are right or wrong, it is almost always better to avoid getting into arguments. Make your case without entering a shouting match with the other party. Regardless of who turns out to be the winner, an argument usually leaves both parties with bad feelings and defeats the purpose of communicating.
23. Find a shared interest
A great way to carry on a conversation is to find common ground with the other person. Whether you agree or disagree, discussing a shared interest makes the conversation more engaging and enjoyable.
24. Be polite
Whether you are having an argument or the conversation is heading in a direction you don’t like, it is essential to be polite while conversing with others. When you feel the dialogue is becoming heated, find a subtle way to change the subject or diffuse the situation.
Like every other skill, you can learn to communicate effectively with practice. Check yourself to find out areas where you are lacking in terms of communication and make a deliberate effort to become better.
Communicating effectively is an important success factor for work and social relationships. By learning strategies on becoming an effective communicator, you will become more successful at collaborating with others, gain people’s trust more easily, and contribute more meaningfully to discussions at work and in your private life.