What are communication skills and how can you develop them?
Communication skills are the abilities that you use when presenting or receiving various types of information, such as communicating ideas and feelings to other parties, or expressing what is happening around you. The process of communication varies according to the method used for this, so we find that face-to-face communication is often more difficult than communicating via phone or e-mail, and each method has its own advantages and skills that must be acquired in order to master the process of effective communication. In today’s article, we will learn about the different types of these communication skills, and how to develop and improve them to achieve the greatest benefit from this process.
Most famous communication skills
Effective communication skills include several skills that work together in different contexts and situations, including the following:
Active listening skills
And that means that you pay your full attention to the person talking to you. People who have the skill of active listening enjoy a good reputation among their classmates and at work, due to the interest and respect they give to others.
The ability to adapt the style of communication with the audience
By this we mean choosing the right style and method of communication based on the person or people you are communicating with. For example, if you are a university student and would like to communicate with one of the professors in your college who you do not know personally, in this case, the most appropriate and best way would be by sending an email instead of a message on social media applications such as Facebook or WhatsApp, or even a phone message. Measure out the different situations in which you need to communicate with others.
Kindness here expresses all the positive behaviors – no matter how simple – that you do while communicating with others, such as asking your colleague about his condition, or smiling at him when he talks to you or praising his behavior.
People often tend to communicate and get to know people who have high self-confidence, and are even attracted to ideas that are expressed with confidence even if they are not creative ideas, while they may ignore genius ideas, only because the one who presented them did not have sufficient confidence in himself and in his idea.
Clarity and choose the right tone of voice
It is important that your voice is clear and heard when you speak, as the ability to choose the appropriate tone and pitch depending on different contexts is an essential skill for effective communication. A loud voice in some situations may express rudeness and a lack of respect, while a low voice in other situations may indicate weakness and lack of self-confidence. Therefore, you must improve the recognition of the general atmosphere prevailing in the place in which you are and choose the appropriate tone of voice based on that.
You will not be able to achieve effective communication if you are not able to understand and empathize with other people’s feelings. You must understand the feelings of others in order to be able to choose the right words to respond to them. Sympathy with someone who feels sad and frustrated will contribute to his feeling of improvement, and the realization that someone is happy and positive will help you to present your ideas at the right time to receive the support you need.
One of the most important aspects of respect is knowing the right time to start talking or responding, whether it is while communicating with one person or a group of people, as giving space to others to talk without interrupting them is one of the most important communication skills associated with respect.
Understanding body language
A large percentage of communication occurs through body language. This is why reading nonverbal cues is an essential skill for effective communication. Here, you must be able to understand what the person in front of you says in his words and what the signals he makes to his body mean, and you must also be fully aware of your own body language and make sure to use it appropriately in line with what you say.
Practical advice to improve your communication skills
Have you ever heard of the term “KISS vs KILL”? It is one of the most important strategies for effective sales communication, and you can apply this strategy in all other areas of your life to achieve effective communication. KISS stands for “Keep it short and simple,” meaning brevity and abbreviation. Whereas, KILL stands for “Keep it long and lengthy”, which means length and length. In order to achieve effective communication and develop your skills in this field, always make sure to be brief and concise in your speech or writing, and the following are several practical tips to help you do that:
1- Be effective in your speech.
1- Be effective in your speech. Effective communication focuses on quality rather than quantity. Get rid of the extra stuffing in your words, and avoid using words like: honestly, I mean, for example. Or phonological fillers such as: mmm, huh, hmmm, ooh … etc. You can identify other filler words by watching your speech, any word that you feel you repeat often during your speech, it is an overload that must be discarded. Here is an example here. Suppose your colleague asked you about what you did during your summer vacation.
Look at the following two answers and notice the difference between them:
_ * Mmmm, it was not bad, I mean… .mmm, we went, I mean my friends and I to the beach, and we swam, but mmmm, I discovered that swimming is difficult, I mean, it was more difficult than I imagined.
_ * My vacation was good. My friends and I went to the beach and swam, but I discovered that swimming is more difficult than I imagined.”
As you can see, both sentences perform the same meaning, but the first sentence includes a lot of fillers, unnecessary sounds, and even the loss of the idea and weakening the communication process.
2- Replace the padding with commas
Feel free to use dividers and recesses in place of padding. Being silent for several seconds while speaking makes your idea stronger, and gives the listener more time to understand what you are saying.
3- Use your words smartly
Use what is known as conversational threading, that is, the branching out of the conversation, for every sentence you say, can branch into side topics that contribute to the continuation of the dialogue and the achievement of effective communication. To better understand this idea, take a look at the following sentence:
“I live in the capital, but I have always wanted to move to the suburbs, because I love nature and I don’t like being in crowded areas.”
This sentence can be divided into many other topics, as you can, for example:
_ Talk about your view of living in the suburbs.
_ Talk about how much you love and enjoy nature.
_ Talk about being an antisocial person who prefers calm and stillness.
Always think of sentences that allow you to branch out to talk about side topics, allowing the continuation of the communication process and thus making it more effective.
4- Avoid entering a job interview position
And this means continuing to ask questions, without giving the person the opportunity to ask you questions as well, in this case you are asking for information from the other party without sharing any details about you. The matter may be the other way around, so you will content yourself with answering your interlocutor’s questions without bothering to ask him questions, so you do not allow him to talk about himself. Always make sure to allow others to express themselves, and every time you answer someone’s question, you also initiate a question about him so that the dialogue is balanced between the two parties, and to ensure effective communication.
5- Use affirmative sentences instead of asking questions
While it is true that asking questions may be the easiest way to communicate, using affirmative sentences leads to better quality communication. You can tell someone, for example:
“You seem to me to be a positive person, I think there are a lot of points we have in common.”
The person in front of you may reply with several answers that lead to the development of the dialogue, he may say one of the following:
_ “You’re wrong, I am a very negative person, and I often have bad and frustrated thoughts.”
_ “You’re wrong, but what made you think I was a positive person?”
_ “You are absolutely right, I love positivity and optimism, and I strive to spread it around me as well. How did you know that I am?”
Note that the various previous answers have become an introduction to a deeper and longer dialogue with this person, whereas if you had asked a question instead, you might have had one short answer that ended the conversation at once.
6- Be a good listener
Where you can develop this skill by focusing on the person talking, and removing all distractions such as the phone or computer while talking to others. Reinforce your well-being by using appropriate body language, such as looking into the eyes of the speaker and shaking your head to show him that you understand what he is saying and sympathize with his feelings.