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5 Simple Tips To Improve Communication

5 Simple Tips To Improve Communication

Enhance communication by using active listening, clear language, and visuals, asking open-ended questions, giving feedback, and maintaining a positive tone to boost understanding and engagement.

Ask Open-ended Questions to Enhance Communication

One of the fundamental techniques to improve communication is to ask open-ended questions. Unlike closed-ended, the use of the former requires detailed responses as opposed to a simple “yes” or “no.” Consequently, a response to an open-ended question from the speaker can be seen as a micro-expression of interest that allows the speaker to generate a more meaningful response on the other’s part. As a result, the technique is essential in both personal and professional life because it creates a rich dialogue. This paper discusses the effectiveness of open-ended questions, their benefits, application when using such questions, and several examples.

Benefits of Open-ended Questions

The main argument for the effectiveness of these questions is that they allow triggering or forcing the interlocutor to think and provide not superficial answers but deeper responses. For example, instead of asking a team member, “did you like the project?”, which prompts a simple “yes” or “no” answers, you can ask, “what do you think about the project?” In this case, a person will have to decide to provide a full answer that will reflect its model. As a result, without the use of the question, the idea of the position of this person on the topic will be presupposed, which means that the formation of the final position concerning this aspect is impossible.

Creating an Environment for Open-ended Questions

Key to using open-ended questions in communication is creating an environment in which the other person feels free to share thoughts and ideas. Among the main steps to applying the idea is the need to show genuine interest, listen, and respond positively. On the part of the speaker, non-verbal cues, such as eye contact, nodding, and other small body signs, lead to a 40% improvement in the responses when the interlocutor feels the attention and responsibility of the person who asked the question and is more likely to continue.

Examples of Open-ended Questions in Communication

In conclusion, some of the examples of the questions that can be asked are:

  • “What difficulties do you face in this task?”

  • “How can we change the process to achieve better results?”

  • “What do you think of the current strategy?”

  • . . . .

These questions do not allow answers of the “yes” or “no” types, which in turn facilitates the dialogue and fosters collaboration.

Catching Nonverbal Cues to Improve Communication

It is important to be able to understand and respond to nonverbal cues because this can significantly help make one’s communication more effective. Broadly speaking, nonverbal communication in all its forms can include facial expressions, body posture, different gestures, eye contact, and the tone of voice . Studies show that in-person nonverbal cues may typically represent 60% to 90% of the total communication . Below is the list of the types of nonverbal cues that can be used to discern a person’s true feelings and examples of the statements or questions that can be used to do it.

Understanding the Types of Nonverbal Cues

Facial expressions; whether a person is smiling widely or sadly, frowning or looking uninterested even when they are trying to pretend otherwise is a powerful way to understand their inner state

Gestures; whether a person is rubbing his hand or sitting with his hand clasped behind his head clicking a pen or nodding while taking or listening to someone can also help discern a person’s feeling or intention

Body posture; this can also help understand if a person is listening and sympathizing with your or whether a person is taking a defensive or otherwise convenient posture which would differ from their regular way to sit

Eye contact; taking off eyes and staring at a wall or sitting in a slouched position and trying very hard not to listen withs omeone says can be a sign that you are not being heard

Tone of voice; not trying to say anything but maintaining a varying tone of voice can help in washing if you are listening

Practical Steps to Improve Nonverbal Reading

It is possible to improve one’s ability to respond to nonverbal cues if the following steps are observed.

Practice observation; this can be done by really observing a person’s things to do. The most important thing to remember here is that you have to do it on both sides of the context; an open and closed position can mean the opposite things.

Check congruence; try to note the person’s word to find if there is an inconsistency between words spoken and gestured shown.

Active observation; simply reminding yourself to look at other people can help increase your observation skills.

Examples of Reading Nonverbal Cues

For example, when one of my team members said he really can’t wait to start working on a new project, he didn’t raise his eyes once and was looking down with s slouched body position. From the actions and meaning of the pronoun, I concluded that he actually ddoesn’ want to go to the new project. I can try to ask an open-ended question to get a more accurate answer. For example, I can ask him what in particular he doesn’t like about the project so I can try to change a few things.

The Benefits of Being Aware

Being able to understand nonverbal cues definitely has the positive effects on interpersonal skills and overall abilities to navigate unobvious things people are experiencing.

Don Try to Read Their Minds: A Communication Strategy

One of the misconceptions that people often made during conversations is attempting to read the minds of their interlocutors. Instead of assuming what other people are thinking, the best way to communicate with them is direct, asking questions to ensure that the information received is accurate.

Application of Direct Communication

The principle of this technique is simple – instead of interacting based on the assumption of the interlocutor’s thoughts, interact of to the information they provide. Communication experts argue that about 50% of all conversations are misunderstood because the listener assumes rather than asking . Therefore, the quality and correctness of information depend on the interlocutor’s focus on direct communication. As a result, assumptions may distract a conversation or even damage a relationship.

How to Avoid Mind Reading

Hold Direct Dialogue: If you are unsure about a person’s thoughts, establish a direct conversation. You say things to which the interlocutor has a firm context and cannot argue with.

”Do not let me assume – tell me”: Say that you are open to talking about the thoughts they are saying. “I want to understand your perspective. What is your thinking right now?”

Use Active Listening: When communicating with another person, it is essential to focus on what they speak not to plan your response. Tell them why everyone’s thoughts are precious. Use these principles to avoid distractions and get accurate information during communications.

An Example of Application

Assume that you are a project manager in a medium company. You have a hunch that one of your subordinates is concerned about something regarding the project designed . Draw your attention to the fact that for the last two meetings, when everyone threw in the ideas, that person was silent. The best way to check is to catch upon themselves to get the information out of them. Contact this person for a separate conversation and say, “I noticed that you didn’t share your ideas at a meeting the other day. Do you have any thoughts to share about the project?” This situation helps find one of the valid ways to receive the information and gives your subordinate another chance to see possible trouble spots.

The Conversation is Two-Way

When it comes to the question of improving communication skills, it is essential to realize that it is a two-way process. Quite naturally, it implies that all parties should be involved in the interaction, be it speaking on one’s part or listening to the message on the other. First and foremost, research does suggest that up to 45% of the communication process might be associated with listening . It means that people should always stay engaged in the process and listen to what they have to say.

Ways to promote two-way communication

  • Always encourage feedback. To that end, ask something like “What are your thoughts on w” or “Do you have any feedback for me”?

  • Remember to practice active listening, which helps people understand up to 30% more information .

  • To ensure effective communication, test understanding by paraphrasing what has been heard and asking questions to clarify it.

A potential example of two-way communication

In the context of a working place, a specific situation may be described. In this case, a manager discusses a new task with their subordinates. Instead of simply announcing it, they ask their reports if they have any ideas on how a particular issue may be resolved. Therefore, the work of less experienced subordinates will also be acknowledged, boosting their morale. Quite naturally, it will also help to reach a more successful conclusion to the task.

Benefits of two-way communication

If both of the parties are involved, it surely helps increase trust and promote positive relations between them. It should also be noted that no communication issues are observed in this case due to the specific features of the approach, such as active involvement by all of the engaged parties. In practice, it results in a significantly lower number of instances of misunderstanding and some of the most outstanding decisions.

Make Time to Talk

Effective communication is the process that needs time and attention. Distributing effort to give and take will help to increase understanding, collaboration, and reliable relationships. For this reason, it is crucial to allocate time to make sure everyone is familiar with the information shared and discuss what requires clarification and enhancement.

Allocating Time to Strategize Communication

Today, many individuals and groups prefer to concentrate on their tasks rather than take a break and start communicating. The analysis by Harvard Business Review has shown that taking at least 15-30 minutes per day to talk to each other people might enhance productivity by 25%. In other words, there should be specific steps to allocate time to communicate. I think I will include the following:

  • Schedule regular check-ins at the same time each day when employees can either meet and discuss important issues with others or sparing for them one-on-one;

  • Organize an environment favorable for making uninterrupted conversation whether in the office or during the digital meeting blocked for others where the only presence of the two sides is required;

  • Encourage open communication via setting an example as a manager who will instruct people to ask questions, request clarifications, share thoughts and problems, and support people in this by providing feedback.

For example, I often schedule weekly team meetings where I talk to people about how everything is going, what misunderstandings arise, and how we can solve them together. Thus, everybody has the time to raise concerns and debate with others, and I can talk to people and find out their ideas about the need to adjust and goals for the near future.

Benefits of Making Communication Time

Thus, the process of making specific conversation time, both formal and informal, is helpful for many reasons since people will have the opportunity to:

  • Solve problems and misunderstandings before they accumulate and escalate down the line;

  • Strengthen relationships with each other, built on trust in understanding and receiving frank feedback;

  • Generate fresh ideas and new thinking in concert;

  • Improve performance and increase overall satisfaction.

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