Tuesday, November 10, 2015

7 Essential communication skills

Communication skills are an essential part of everyday life. No man can be a success on his own. No matter what your profession, you cannot make it to the top without the help and support of others. No matter what area of your life you are trying to improve, you cannot do it without the help and support of others. If you want the help and support of others you need to have the essential communication skills. These essential communication skills enable you to make the most of each opportunity by delivering a clear and specific message to your audience. Whether your audience is one person, or many people, these essential communication skills will enable you to build better, more supportive relationships. As a result, you will achieve far more than you ever could alone.

7 Essential Communication Skills

There are 7 essential communication skills which will increase the quality and effectiveness of your communication. In this chapter, I will describe and illustrate all of these 7 essential skills of communication.

1. Be complete 

Whenever you communicate you should include all of the necessary detail in your speech. Never assume that some of the details are known by your audience. When you work off of these assumptions, your message will lack the necessary detail. Your message will become confused and it will be difficult to come to a clear understanding with your audience That’s why completeness is such an essential communication skill.
 For important discussions, you should:
  • provide detailed information to your listeners
  • provide additional information to make your points clearer
  • prepare your message in advance
  • consider any possible questions which your audience may have
When you are finished delivering your message, the last thing that you want is for your audience to say “What are you actually trying to say.” There may be some flaws in your message or the manner in which you have delivered it so, invite questions. Where you cannot answer a question, make a note of it and promise to get back to the person who posed the question. When you send them a response, make a note of how you can include this information in future messages.

2. Be concise

Conciseness is another essential communication skill; especially in business. Time is our most precious resource. No one wants to spend 1 hour listening to a message that could be delivered in half the time. Include only the necessary information.
 For important messages, you should:
  • only include the relevant information about your topic
  • avoid providing unnecessary information e.g irrelevant examples
  • Consider providing an F.A.Q. or supplemental information handout
When you keep your message concise, you save time, both for yourself and your audience.

3. Be considerate

Another essential communication skill is the ablility to consider the impact that your message will have on the other person. When you seek first to understand your audience, you will be better able to tailor your message for them. You have to think twice about the key points and make sure that you are always conveying your message in the most positive tone possible. Where bad news has to be delivered, consider how you might be able to help them to deal with the impact.
Analyse every aspect of your message in terms of how it impacts the receiver. Make the message all about them because that is what they are interested in. You wouldn’t attempt to sell somebody a car by explaining how you will benefit from the sales commission. This same approach applies to all communication.

4. Get your facts right 

Certainty is another essential communication skill. Where a message includes facts, you need to be clear on those facts. Get them right. Double check your facts before you deliver them and make sure that they are in the format that the receiver requires them.
When I worked for a bank, my boss was sourcing a management development program. He prepared an amazing proposal but when he presented it to the CEO, the CEO was fuming. The program was to be delivered by a UK company and all of the prices were in UK pounds, while we dealt in the Irish Pound. My boss had neglected to do the conversions and now he was presenting a proposal without being able to say for certain whether the program was within the relevant budget.
Facts should be clear and accurate. If you sound vague or obscure about the facts, your audience will be confused, sceptical and negative. This will directly impact the effectiveness of your message. If you are clear and assertive with your facts, you will be more confident and this will come across in your message; making more message more convincing.

5. Be clear 

Clarity is an essential communication skill because the purpose of communication is usually to change something. If you want somebody else to change something, they need to be clear about what it is that you want them to do, and what the desired result is. You need to be precise and use simple, easy to understand language. Your audience should not have to work hard to understand your message. Don’t be too formal and don’t use jargon that only specialists understand.

6. Be courteous 

Courtesy means that you should show respect to the receiver.  When you are appreciative, thoughtful, and respectful, you foster good will. Be polite and use non-threatening gestures; your audience will feel comfortable and they will be more receptive to your message. These are just some simple behaviours which demonstrate your professionalism

 7. Keep it appropriate

It is important that your message is tailored for the right audience, at the right time, in the right place. Appropriateness is a fundamental and essential communication skill.  While you should respect all people, you may need to communicate with different people in different ways. For example, many CEO’s expect to be addressed in a different manner than you would address the ordinary level worker within their organisations. You may, or may not, agree with that but when communicating, you should always attempt to communicate in the preferred style of the audience; not in your preferred style.
I once had to work with a CEO who expected all written communication to be condensed on to one page. If there was more than one page, the message came back, unread. Personally, I thought that it was unnecessarily petty and pedantic but, nonetheless, every message that I sent to her was on one sheet of paper.
Communication skills are essential in all areas of your life. You can learn to master communication skills with How To Talk So Others Will Listen.
Whenever you manage to control each of these 7 essential communication skills, you will deliver a very effective message. Your audience will be able to understand exactly what you are asking of them which will increase the likelihood of them helping you. Supportive relationships allow you to harness the power of synergy. These essential communication skills lie at the very heart of supportive relationsips. In short you can say that if your message meets all of these criteria then, it is said to be an effective message and the results you achieve will be greatly improved.
Image credit: Ian L

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