Do not shy away from the person with whom you are speaking. Be sure to maintain a relaxed, but not slouching posture, regardless whether you are the one speaking or listening. Other things that ensure your body is communicating your attentiveness to the conversation can include:
- Making eye contact.
- Nodding occasionally to acknowledge a strong point in the conversation.
- Standing with hands clasped in front of you, never crossing your arms.
- Not displaying nervous ticks such as wringing hands, picking at your nails, or anything that the person communicating with you will view as a distraction from their conversation.
Speech and Attentiveness
When speaking, you need to be clear and concise. Speak on important matters directly and do not waste time with long drawn out stories that will cause your listener’s mind to wander. Make sure you ask whether they understand, and be willing to further explain any of your points. Do not expect someone to just “know” what you are saying, even if it is crystal clear in your own mind.
In addition, one of the most important aspects of verbal communication is the ability to practice active listening. This is not just actively waiting to talk. Always make mental notes of key points when someone is speaking to you. That way once you are given a chance to speak, you can respond to the most vital issues being dealt with. When others are speaking, try to think about the exact words that they are saying. If you practice this, you will comprehend and contain 75 percent more of the information that you hear.
Maybe your weakness is in the quality or quantity with which you communicate to your employees. Communication seems to have dwindled to superficial small talk. Great communicators practice the ability of consistent communication by remaining available. Do not be afraid to be the one who voices any concerns or difficulties. However, ensure that you are practicing open and honest communication with those who may depend on you. Be available and bold with tact.
Be sure to leave communication lines open to those who may need to address problems with you. You will find that you prevent the small issues that normally have the habit of becoming large ones by making those in your life aware that you are open to discussing issues at any time.
During your communications with others always give them time to communicate their issues as well. Remaining focused on what they are trying to communicate will show them that you are indeed open to assisting with their issues. Many of people’s communication lines tend to break down on the side where impatience is in a rush to get out of the conversation. Since you cannot control the other side, do yourself a favor and take a breath. The conversation you’re involved in is important.
If you are confused as to what someone may be requesting, than repeat back to him or her what you think they said and ask if that is correct. Often this will inspire the speaker to be more in-depth about their needs, which will help you to understand them fully.
Practicing Effective Communication Skills
If someone has communicated a need or an issue to you, then your main priority should be to aid him or her in repairing the problem. Following up on an issue is the only way to convince others whom you need to communicate with that you have listened to them and that their problems or issues are important to you as well.
Practicing strong follow-up will also leave the impression that you are involved in the bigger picture. When people see this commitment, they will know you are open to future communications. This creates a loyal and discerning surrounding that cultivates positive movement and communication. This will develop a strong sense of confidence in those with whom you communicate.
Since the world is so incredibly diverse and communications come in such a wide variety of forms, it is important to know many appropriate and helpful interpersonal skills. By practicing the few suggestions found here, you will find yourself understanding more of what people say and repeating yourself less to other people. Your co-workers and friends will have the confidence to come to you when they find themselves in need. Remember, great communication skills take practice. Do not give up on Day One. Your ability to express yourself will grow almost daily as long as you apply yourself in improving communication skills.