Once we’re past the age when we learn how to communicate with the people around us and express our opinions in public, we don’t really think about communication skills per se. We just communicate because that’s what we’re used to doing. Thus, not many of us actually realize that we can improve our communication skills, which will help us grow our interpersonal relationships. What better way to learn how to develop effective communication skills than to follow the advice of 4 experts? Here’s what they have to say about the characteristics of effective communication.
Expert Advice on Developing Effective Communication Skills
1. Listen First
Jill Haseltine, motivational speaker and coach, advises people not to forget that talking to someone is just part of what makes for a set of effective communication skills. The second part is listening to the other person, so that you can react to what they’re saying to you. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is be quiet. Allow your interlocutor to express his or her thoughts, ideas, feelings, and so on. Then, you’ll be able to come up with much more appropriate answers.
2. Make Eye Contact
3. Ask Questions
Another marker of a great conversation is people asking a lot of relevant questions. Kirsten Taberner Siggins, one of the authors of “The Power of Curiosity: How to Have Real Conversations that create Collaboration, Innovation and Understanding,” believes that asking questions is what keeps the conversation going. Not only that, but it’s also an indicator that you’re invested in the conversation and interested in the other person’s ideas.
4. Practice Your Skills
If you know communication skills are not your forte, you can always practice them until you become more comfortable talking to people. Founder and CEO of H.K. Productions Inc., Alexis Davis, advises you to practice different types of conversations with someone you fully trust. This will help you loosen up and become less self-conscious. Then, ask that person to provide you with feedback on what you could improve. Do this type of roleplay more than once. That way, you’ll make sure you won’t say anything out of place in the middle of an important conversation. The goal of these roleplays is to prepare you for challenging conversations, in which you need to be confident and articulate.
By following these 4 tips on how to develop effective communication skills, everyone can become better at expressing themselves, listening to others, and getting their ideas across.
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