I’m a huge proponent of communication. Strong communication skills come in handy in every aspect of life. The following is my list of must-know tips.
Maintain Eye Contact and/or Avoid Multitasking while on Phone
No brainer on this one. If someone is looking at you, you’re more likely to trust they’re listening to you. Also, it’s tempting to do dozens of things while talking on the phone (this coming from the woman who found a way to breastfeed, pluck my eyebrows, talk on the phone and flip through a magazine all at once), but one surefire way to listen effectively is to limit distracting activities.
Mirror or Repeat What You Heard
How validating it is when someone reiterates what you were trying to say. It shows they listened and they understood.
This takes proving you’ve listened one step further. Once you throw a question out there, you’re communicating you’re intrigued. You want to know more. The conversation immediately opens up to involve more than your own interests.
I sometimes feel like a grade-schooler when I’m desperately trying to think of what I want to say in a conversation. At times my patience fails and I rush to get the words out before I forget them. It’s an obvious irritating habit, but one worth breaking. Interrupting is one of the best ways to demonstrate you don’t care to hear the other person out until they’re finished. It’s really a lack of respect.
If someone trusts you with confidential information or they open their heart up, it’s wise to remember what they’ve divulged. Commit certain things to memory. I know certain dates mean a lot to my mother so I record them in my calendar.
Watch Tone of Voice & Body Language
This is one of those sneaky ones. You may think you’re speaking calmly or that you’ve avoided the infamous eye roll, but this is a good one to keep in check. These are probably two of the quickest ways to slip up when it comes to communicating. A huff. Crossed arms. A whiny pitch can all sink a conversation within a matter of seconds.
Be Open-minded—Don’t Shoot Down Ideas
Sometimes it takes time for someone to figure out what they’re trying to say. Resist filling in the words for them. Also, allow people to express their feelings, as hard as they may be to hear. When brainstorming a solution, look for creative and unexpected thoughts. In the past you might have shot them down, but try to find value in all that’s expressed.
Learn How to Disagree Effectively
Steer clear of insults and harsh language. Constantly look for ways to uplift others in dialogue. This especially works during a confrontation or a disagreement. Believe most people have good intentions. Formulate your thoughts before you approach someone with anger. Pray about it. Be honest. Maintain respect and boundaries.
What communication skill(s) have you found invaluable?
*photo by flickr