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6 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills

6 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills

Improve communication by practicing active listening, tailoring vocabulary, maintaining eye contact, and using feedback loops. Additionally, prepare thoroughly and manage non-verbal cues effectively.

Keep Your Audience in Mind

When creating a message, it is crucial to consider your audience. To create an engaging message, one must understand their audience’s background, interests, and what drives their decision-making. For example, if sales representatives were to present to clients, their clients being tech-savvy millennials, the presenting group could start with the up-to-date statistics on their technology interests: for instance, an information that 85% of U.S. millennials own a smartphone.

Conduct Audience Research

First, one must create the audience persona. Educators could consider their previous courses and what type of students preferred them, and assess the courses’ feedback. They might find that the audience is likely to listen to the data-based arguments, and they should incorporate quantitative data into their presentations.

Create an Audience-Oriented Message

The message should be tailored to the audience’s interests. In the case of investors, present the potential financial returns and market growth, as their primary concern is likely investment profitability. In the classroom for high school students, incorporate information that they learn in the curriculum or career-specific skills that they should focus more on.

Choose the Pleasing Language

The language in which the message is delivered is crucial. Do not use the jargon when speaking with nonspecialists. When talking to specialists, the audience would be pleased if you use the appropriate terminology and use more technical data to impress your audience. For instance, when discussing the health issues of heard with your doctor, you should appropriately refer to “systolic” and “diastolic” blood pressure.

Encourage Questions

Do not speak at the audience. Communicate with them by occasionally asking the questions that the audience would like to ask. For example, say “how would you say this strategy fits your current goals?” to ensure that they are paying attention and understand what is being presented.

Don use 10 words when you can use 10 words

Effective communication demands a certain level of clarity. Not only does switching out verbosity for a succinct, crisp message allow your listener a better chance of understanding the information, but it also respects their time. Instead of saying, “At this point in time,” say, “now.” Research suggests that messages are up to 60% more likely to be retained if they are concise and to the point.

Of course! Here are a few specific examples on the efficient use of communication skills:

Email communication:

  • Before editing: I’m writing to ask you to help us with the issue that has come up with our new software system which means we are working very slowly.
  • After editing: Please help us resolve software issues holding up the processing.
  • In this case, I cut down the number of words, but I still formulate a request for action explicitly and clearly to the recipient.

Business presentations:

  • Before revision: Let’s move to the next slide where I am going to speak about different methodologies that are currently being used to boost the productivity of our employees.
  • After revision: Moving on to new ways of enriching productivity.
  • I also cut the number of words, and now the audience can understand the main message easier and faster.

Daily stand-ups, or meetings:

  • Verbose example: I just wanted to very quickly see whether everyone is on track in terms of their contribution and check everybody is fine and they have the resources they want and if there are any obstacles at all I will be able to help with.
  • Concise version: Is everybody okay and on track with their tasks? Are there any obstacles?
  • In his case, in reduced the phrase to the most important questions that require immediate response, which saves time.

Technical support communication:

  • Complex explanation: You are facing this issue because we are experiencing a temporary server outage in your area and the matter is under treatment in order to fix the problem as soon as possible.
  • Simple explanation: Your service is down from a server outage in your region. We are fixing it now.
  • In this instance, I simplified the situation by this means making it more understandable to stakeholders with no or little technical background.

Consider the Best Way to Deliver Your Message

Choosing the right method to deliver a message is critical as it should be received in the way it would be understandable. It should depend on the context of the message, the message’s receiver , and the ultimate goal of the communication. Every communicator might find the most appropriate ways of communicating a message, but some general advice can be applied.

Evaluate the Urgency and the Complexity of the Message

If the message is extremely urgent and should be received with immediate action, meaning there is no time to write some message which will be a labirynth of exceptions and conditions. In this case, it is better to call anyone using the phone or invite them to a meeting. This can often signify that a decision should be made very quickly, but it could be a critical one, so a meeting should be called anyway. If, however, the message is very substantial and should be discussed carefully, a written conclusion is the right thing to do as the audience will be able to come back to it. It is especially important, for instance, for students who have to understand denser information for the classroom.

Consider the Preferences of the Audience

Know where your audience will better receive the message as this will pay off later on. Young employees might be happier to hear from you if it is shown up in the workplace group chat. On the other hand, older generations have more bad associations with the written word, so they would be better for a final boss meeting . Admin may tell under 30-year-old audience that dimming the phone autolock helps with losing the train of thought.

Perceive the Environment

The particular environment can change what message is going to be received as it is. A psychologic counsellor will never tell a crazy personal experience in a top management meeting. For instance, somethign very sensitive should be disclosed in a private conversation, and those who transmit a message about blood donation can make it an ice cream day. In less strict settings such as a creative ideas’ marathon, using alcohol can inspire more cteative ideas.

Use Technology

In the 21st century, many communicators find out that reaching the wide audience is facilitated by technology. For instance, if there are employees in the California headquarters among stakeholders, but suppliers in Asia who want to say something listened to them, they need a Zoom call. At the same time, especially students know that not every piece of infleunce towards a wider audience should be like in a meeting, and many Slack or Microsoft Teams’ features offering so much choice can help.

Get Them Involved

There are several ways of making it including people who listen to you or work with you more involved in the process. One of the big advantages of this approach is that people who are involved get distracted from other thoughts and communication noise to pay attention the information they listen to. As a result, they are more likely to listen and absorb the information, which might be especially important when you need to teach something or when employees suggest their ideas. Also, people are more likely to be involved in work discussions when they feel like they are getting some value from the meeting or at least when they feel that they are valued. It’s difficult to be completely indifferent when you are discussing someone’s ideas and creating something based on them.

Use interactive techniques

There are many different methods for making your participants or listeners involved in the process. For example, you can organize a poll or a small brainstorming session or allow your listener to ask questions during your presentation. Research by the University of Washington and the University of North Carolina showed that students who have interactive sessions learn things better. They had many different types of lectures, and students who were involved in interactive sessions retained 50% more information.

Assign roles

In meetings and teams, you can be distributed some roles: e.g. a person who writes down the main points of the discussion, a person who makes sure not to spend time more than planned, a person who will lead the discussion on a particular subject. This makes it easier for someone because the information is distributed, and it makes sure that everyone contributes to the discussion and is interested in its results.

Ask for feedback

You can actively ask your audience questions: “Do you have any ideas for how we could improve our approach?”; “Do you have any alternatives?”. Research by McKinsey has shown that teams where people regularly ask for and share feedback are up to 40% more successful at launching projects.

Make Use of Face-to-Face Communication Whenever Possible

Face-to-face communication is a still gold standard of any track interaction, especially in the world that is largely overcome by technology on a daily basis. Such type of interaction provides a range of advantages that cannot be overlooked in comparison to a simple email or a phone call.

Improve non-verbal communication

In face-to-face meetings, non-verbal cues such as body language, eye contact and facial expressions, play the crucial role of message transmission and interpretation. For instance, during a negotiation being able to read another party is- is vital in order to understand the response and change the strategy accordingly . Studies point out that non-verbal cues deliver more than 55% of the message in a communication of emotional character.

Build stronger relationships

When you meet someone in person, it is more likely perceived as a giant commitment to the relationship that is beneficial whether you are dealing with a client, your manager, or an employee. Face-to-face requests are much more likely to be successful than those using email or phone. According to the study published in Harvard Business Review , face-to-face requests were 34 times more successful than the written ones.

Immediate clarification

Any confusion in terms of understanding the message is immediately cleared up during a face-to-face conversation. Despite this fact as long as your explanation or the information you receive may confuse, the communication allows to check the level of comprehension and simplify the information, change the explanation, etc. The greater number of project team meetings offline guarantees the reduction of misunderstanding that can lead to project delay.

Encourage immediate feedback and collaboration

Face-to-face encounters are more likely to trigger creativity and idea exchange that- that promptly encourages feedback. It can be seen as one of the major reasons for that it is not very easy to respond to an email achievement in four days . For instance, in archive, it can be extremely useful to sketch the idea without a need to write an email a week after the meeting.

Minimize Distractions

Reducing distractions is essential for improving communication, particularly in contexts where high levels of clarity and focus are necessary. By removing disruptions, one can improve both verbal and non-verbal communication significantly.

Create a conducive environment

Select a place where the meeting cannot be easily disturbed by noise . For instance, choose to meet in a conference room instead of an open space if you need to have a conversation that is important to both sides . According to research, employees who work in a quiet environment can be between 5% and 15% more productive than those working in a noisy environment . Office chatter and loud office equipment may be a significant source of noise pollution in many working environments.

Implement technology etiquette

Establish rules about what technologies can be used in which circumstances. For instance, you should include mobile phones in silent mode and ask the participants to close any unnecessary browser tabs. Electronic devices can account for a 20% increase in the time needed to complete a task due to the extra time needed to re-focus the participants after interruption . Use of other technologies, such as multitasking, eat up a significant amount of focus time.

Schedule strategically

Choose the best time for your participants to meet when distractions are low. This can include cognitive or physical distractions such as arranging a team meeting shortly before lunch when the participants are hungry, and/ or just before they want to leave work.

Use visual aids

Visual aids can help the audience focus by indicating what they should be looking at and reducing the role unconscious distraction tends to play when hearing information. PowerPoint presentations with the key points written in a larger font, for example, will force the audience to read them, ultimately ensuring they are focused on the topic.

Regular breaks

Plan for brief breaks to allow the participants to rest and recharge. According to a study on cognitive function, a five-minute break after each hour of a team meeting or a company-wide training session can improve focus and performance by over 65% .

 

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