Of all the animals that inhabit this planet, human beings are the only ones that are blessed with the ability to communicate through words. Naturally, words are an integral part of expressing our thoughts and emotions. However, effective communication is what sets you apart from other individuals both in personal life as well as professional career.
Effective communication is a must for everyone who hopes to climb the ladder of success. It is not something that you can leave to destiny. You have to work real hard to improve your communication skills and get your point across.
Tips to Communicate Effectively
There is a subtle difference between good communication skills and an effective communication. Good communication skills are highly influenced by the personality and idiosyncrasies of the person while effective communication gives a peek into the soul of the speaker and helps him connect with his audience on an emotional level.
Gather Your Thoughts
Before you are ready to talk to the intended person or address a group of people, you should have a clear vision about what you are going to talk about. Although, a printed copy of a speech may not be always necessary, highlighting a few important issues in your mind is a must.
This will help you to remain focused throughout your communication and alleviate the possibilities of drifting away from the main issues. You can make a mental note of any three important issues, so that even if you fumble with one, you can have the other two to back you up.
Choose Your Words
Choice of words is the most important part of any communication. There is no need to go for fancy phrases or alien terms to attract your audience's attention. Instead, choose simple, precise words that are appropriate for the issue you are addressing. Offensive words or words that could demean your audience in any way are best kept out of the communication.
This is also the very first step of communicating effectively in a relationship. Most people tend to be careful about their language while at work, but as soon as they get home they resort to colorful language. This may hurt your loved ones beyond your imagination.
Another important aspect of effective communication is the technique of modulating your voice at appropriate places. Drab, monotonous voice takes only a few seconds for your audience to shift their focus away from you. Similarly, high pitched or sing song voice takes away the seriousness of the issue that you are addressing.
Many people mistake body language with sign language and end up making a fool of themselves. Remember, there is no need to enact every word you utter with a gesture or facial expression. This will make your talk more of a stage performance and defeat its purpose.
Body language essentially means maintaining eye contact (only with right people!) and using hand gestures only wherever required. You can definitely do without hand gestures, but then make sure your eyes convey your emotions. Needless to say, rude or obscene gestures should be avoided in all circumstances.
Do not have any preconceived notions, even before the other person opens his mouth to speak, as this won't serve the purpose of communication. Thus, be open to other people's suggestions and ideas and give them a thought before dismissing. Listening forms an integral part of the workplace communication.
No matter if you are delivering a lecture or listening to someone talking, it is of utmost importance that you focus on that activity only. Get rid of all distractions such as phone before you begin communication. A distraction not only disturbs your focus, but it also causes your audience's attention to wander.
These were the main principles of effective communication. One thing that you must understand is that effective communication is a gradual process and requires efforts on your part. Similarly, the other party should show an equal desire and involvement for any communication to succeed.