How to Be an Effective Communicator
We’ve already covered some ways in which you can instantly improve your communication skills. Being an effective communicator is about building further on those communication skills. The need to be understood by others is a universal one, and until we master the art of good communication, that need will remain unmet. People don’t simply understand you—you have to make an effort to get people to see your point.
For the purposes of career success, enhancing your personal relationships, and even facilitating basic everyday interactions, effective communication is a skill much in need of being honed.
To be an effective communicator, you have to do a few simple things.
-Listen to yourself
-Listen to others
-Say meaningful things
-Get others to listen to you
Effective communication is primarily just that. But if these seemingly self-evident suggestions seem inscrutable to you, let’s begin to break them down further.
1. Listen to yourself
Before you begin to speak, you must be well-acquainted with what you think, what you feel, what you intend to say, and for what purpose. Try to keep all these aspects of your communication as consistent and congruent as possible. Being keenly aware of these things about yourself will help you find your own voice (and your own standpoint), which is the very basis of effective communication.
2. Listen to others
Effective communication is a two-way process. When you listen to the other effectively, you encourage him/her to communicate better. Withhold any sense of judgement and be truly open to what this person is telling you. Preconceived notions are the biggest barriers to good listening. When we let biases and preconceived notions come in the way, we’re basically just listening to ourselves even as we think we’re listening to the other person.
Offering feedback or timely responses will be encouraging for the speaker and will show that you are interested in what is being said. Make sure to avoid unnecessary interruptions.
3. Say meaningful things
Every time you address the other, are you offering any value to the person who is listening to you? The “value” could be in terms of something as small as good humour, or it could be something as significant as life advice. When looking to communicate better, always keep your audience in mind.
-Adapt your communication style as per your audience:
As you interact with diverse groups of people, you will realise that different subject matters appeal to different people. People have their own set of interests and causes of concern. To connect with them, you must adapt yourself to that setting without losing sight of what you’d like to say.
-Put your audience at ease:
Show your vulnerable side by letting the audience know that you’re also listening and learning, and that you don’t already know everything.
-Always be ready for a conversation:
Remember that good communication does not require “preparation”. Being an effective communicator should be who you are.
Related: How to be more productive
4. Get others to listen to you
It’s always easier said than, well, listened! If you’ve made it so far into this article, you’re a good listener (reader). But for those who didn’t come this far along, it may be that we didn’t speak to them in their language. Speaking in your listener’s language is not about telling people what they want to hear. Instead, it is about saying what you want to say in a manner that gets the other to be most receptive to you. In addition to speaking correctly and cogently, you also have to tap into the nonverbal facets of good communication.
Some ways in which you can do that:
-Active and attentive listening
-Emphasise your key points by repeating them effectively
-Responding in a timely manner
-Maintaining a calm demeanour
-Using hand gestures effectively
-Maintaining eye contact
-Keeping your body language positive
-A good sense of humour
-Being relatable; making use of anecdotes and examples to get your point across.
Effective communication is often the basis of good leadership. To succeed in any role, you need to be able to communicate well. The best way to begin—simply put—is to listen well.
We’re all looking to be better versions of ourselves. But with several day-to-day tasks taking up our time, we forget to look at the larger picture. MeraJob’s ‘How to Be a Better You’ is an eight-part series of self-improvement articles to help you enhance your performance at work and be successful at whatever you choose to do.
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