Communication skills are some of the most important skills that you need everyday. You’ll need it for school to communicate to teachers and friends, you’ll need it to communicate to your family and you’ll need it to communicate in the workplace to communicate to colleagues.
We talk to people face to face, we listen when people talk to us and we use our body to express ourselves as well. We write emails, essays, books, reports, presentations, and we read all these documents that we may receive as well. We use the phone, we chat over Skype or Weixin. Communication, therefore, is a process that involves at least two people — the sender and the receiver. For communication to be successful or effective, the receiver needs to understand the sender’s message as he intended.
Sounds simple right?
In reality misunderstandings, conflict and confusions often occur because of miscommunication. You see it among family members, among friends, among classmates, among business partners, among colleagues … you might not encounter it personally on a daily basis, but we are surrounded by miscommunications everywhere. And this can cause many problems, sometimes large problems that cannot easily be resolved.
So here are 10 simple tips for effective communication regardless of your situation:
Take a deep breath before you speak. It gives you time to think before you speak and, especially in tense or stressful situations, a moment to relax your body.
Think before you speak. Run through what you want to say before you say it. It’ll give you a chance to ensure your message won’t be easily misunderstood.
Listen more. Be in the moment and really focus on the person and listen to what they’re saying.
Keep your message simple. Simple and concise language is better than language that is confusing and complex vocabulary that some people may not understand without a dictionary.
Smile. Even if you’re on the phone or writing an email, when you smile, you exude positivity.
Be aware of your body language. We communicate more with our body than with our words, but be careful of over gesturing or always looking away.
Find the last four here
This post first appeared on Prep Beijing! on August 8, 2013 and was written by Alicia Lui.
Alicia Lui is a co-founder at Prep Beijing!, a coaching company focusing on core soft skills such as effective communication, social and emotional skills, etiquette, critical thinking and leadership skills. Prior to founding Prep Beijing! She has worked in management consulting and in banking. She holds and MBA from INSEAD and Bachelor’s from University of Chicago