Learning how to improve communication skills are at the heart of quality personal and work relationships. When one can convey what they are thinking and feeling in a constructive manner, respect and personal bonds form. Communication skills are something everyone should devote time to. Like any skill, one can achieve a basic level of competence rather easily, but mastering communication skills takes time and patience. If there is one task to put on your to-do list, it is to learn how to improve communication skills.
Here are the first 4 tips on how to improve communication skills that will help you on the mastering journey.
How to Improve Communication Skills – the First Four:
1) Respond – Don’t React. How often do we say something only to get a biting remark back? That’s a reaction. It’s knee-jerk. Knee-jerk reactions can be damaging to any relationship, whether personal or at work. Reactions tend to be just feelings. A response tends to include thought and feelings. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of not reacting by pausing for a moment before making any comment. That pause allows you to gather your thoughts and respond appropriately.
2) Let Them Know They Have Been Heard. How many times have you been in a conversation and you’re not really sure they understand where you are coming from? When you make sure they know you are listening and attentive to their thoughts and feelings, positive results ensue. The best way I know how to do this is to repeat something they have said when you respond. For example, “When you said x, I thought about…” Or “when you said y, I felt…”
3) Get to the Root of the Issue. Anytime you are discussing an issue or situation, it’s a good idea to get to the root of the issue, or the bottom line. Too often time is wasted on peripheral topics that don’t address the root cause. Until you can get to the root cause, the issue will always remain. Take into account the motivations of the parties involved. Why are they doing the things they do? If it’s a personal matter, think about the 6 human needs and how the behaviors address the needs.
4) Take Responsibility. Anytime you are in a conversation, take responsibility for your end of the conversation. If at any time you get a sense the other person does not understand you or the topic, don’t put the blame on them. Take responsibility and change how or what you are saying to help them understand. Agree or disagree with Rush Limbaugh, it doesn’t matter, but as a communicator, he is a master. I once heard him make a comment about his communication style. He always tries to find 3 different ways to explain something. He found that when he does this, he gets his point across to the largest segment of his radio listeners. Take responsibility for your end of the conversation. Try to find multiple ways to explain yourself. Always put the responsibility on you if the message is not getting across. Don’t blame your audience, spouse, or children.
These 4 tips will help you learn how to improve communication skills. I recommend focusing on 1 tip each week. Print out this post and the next Part 2 article. Focusing on 1 per week will keep you busy for 2 months. At the end of 2 months, you’ll start finding that you are using more than 1 at a time, and that is where the magic is. Using these tips in combination with others helps develop much more meaningful relationships both at work and at home.
Start today. Let me know below in the comment section of your successes or areas of improvement. I’ll do my best to help.