Developing Communication Skills

Communication is something we do every day- however it is fair to say some people are more natural at it than others. Then again even the most confident of people may not always be aware of the messages they send out so it is worth knowing or refreshing your memory when it comes to learning communication skills to ensure you get your message across in the right way.

Body language

The gestures we make while we are speaking can be just as important as what you are saying- if you ask someone how they are and they say “fine” but they look away from you then this would indicate opposite but meeting eye contact and smiling would suggest you really are. Likewise gestures like pointing a finger at someone or having your arms folded can seem aggressive.
While this may sound obvious it is something people can forget- if you want to come across in the right way think about how you are presenting what you say in order to get the right message across.
Relax before you speak
One thing that can trip people up is going “Err”, “Umm” or “Aah”. This is often because you are trying to find what you want to say or are trying to make a point. A better approach is to take a breath and think about it before you say it because then you will be less likely to stumble as you say what you want to say.

The FORD method

Some people are more accomplished at small talk than others- it helps because at a networking event, meeting or even a typical office day people will want to talk and it helps to have an idea what you want to discuss.

FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams- Asking someone about where they are from, what they do, their interests and ambitions will make it easier when you want to move on to other topics as they will feel more relaxed.

Be flexible

Remember that different circumstances will require different messages- you wouldn’t talk to your boss in the same way that you would talk to a class of schoolchildren.

Clear and concise

People often talk of “elevator pitches” the idea that if you were to meet an influential exec, movie producer etc you could pitch to them in 30 seconds. While you don’t want to do this for all ideas it helps to keep anything you want to present as clear and simple as possible so that anyone can follow what you want to say.

Listen and be empathetic

Empathy is where you are able to imagine what someone else is going through. This tied in with listening to what they have to say and reflecting it can be crucial.

For example if someone has a complaint it is often beneficial to be able to listen to what they have to say as this will make it easier to address the issues they have and help keep them on side.

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Sep 26, 2017
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