Communication skills are one of the top requirements of most job descriptions. Today I want to unpack “Communication Skills” and help you to find yours. Not everyone is a great communicator, but everyone has the capacity to communicate and improve their communication skills. Communication skills is a very broad term and a very tricky question when it comes to employers. Some people communicate better electronically whereas some are better in person. For those who communicate electronically, it gives them time to frame their thoughts in a clear and concise manner, rather than in person where they may stutter and become frustrated. When a communicator is frustrated, this frustration may be perceived as anger or irritation and get in the way of the message that the communicator is trying to convey. Those who communicate in person better, are usually ones that can read and respond to body language. When a communicator notices that the receiver of the communication is standoffish, he or she may change their approach by engaging the receiver in their conversation by asking probing questions or softening their tone and lowering their volume to make the receiver more comfortable.
Here are some tips to improve your communication skills:
- Watch body language – this is a great resource for body language. http://www.businessballs.com/body-language.htm#eyes-body-language
- If you know you are going to have a conversation about a difficult subject, write out what you want to make sure what needs to be said is conveyed in a bit more organized fashion.
- When possible, request an agenda for face to face meetings. They should always be provided, but when they are not, it is ok to ask if there is a specific agenda so that you can be prepared for meetings.
- Breathe. The less you breathe the faster you will speak. Fast speech can make people think you are unprepared and it can also make you hard to understand.
- Listen and ask questions. Be engaged.
- Put your device away. It can wait.
In short, these are not things you don’t already know, but they definitely bear repeating. Communication skills are much like learning skills, you can always find another way to do something that has been done a certain way for years.
Always remember to invest yourself. You’re worth it.
Thanks for reading!