Whether you’re ordering pizza delivery or dialing 911 for emergency care, effective communication can carry you through all aspects of life. It’s important, it’s essential and it’s not too hard to master.
While some excellent communication skills are inherent, those not naturally gifted with these traits can certainly practice to perfection.
As entrepreneur Brian Tracy said, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
In order to be the best communicator that you can be, look at the list below. The 10 following attributes belong to true communication experts:
1. They Listen
“We have two ears and one mouth and we should use them proportionally,” says Susan Cain author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
Excellent listening is an essential skill in effective communicating. Being able to absorb what others say allows one to come up with appropriate responses. Great communicators don’t create one-sided conversations, because what’s the point of that?
They never try to think of responses as others are still speaking, because they don’t want to risk losing track of what is being said. By holding on to every word in the conversation, good communicators know just what fits when it comes time to speak.
2. They Can Relate to Others
As they listen intently, people with effective communication skills gain an understanding of their audience. Be it a room full of people, a group of online subscribers or just one other person, they can tailor their message for the specific listeners at hand.
It’s absolutely necessary to have some insight regarding your crowd, because without that understanding, your words will fall flat. You wouldn’t want to praise burgers and pork chops to a group of PETA members while trying to win them over, would you? The understanding is beneficial for all members of the dialogue, as the messages are clear and all parties feel understood.
3. They Simplify the Complex
Some messages can be complicated, confusing or absolutely muddled. The good communicator, though, can take these messages and make them clear and concrete for his audience. Think of a teacher describing a new concept to an algebra class – if he can’t make the complicated understandable, his lesson will never get across to the students. By breaking down or rephrasing content, great communicators make the message more digestible to more people.
4. They Know When to Speak Up
Understanding when dialogue is required will always be helpful in good communication. Say, for example, an employee at work is slacking off or failing to understand a concept. A boss that recognizes the need for a conversation will be much better off than a boss that wordlessly sweeps the issue under the rug. They know when to speak up, and when it will do them good versus the instances in which it’s best to be quiet.
5. They Are Available
Whenever you need the excellent communicator, they make themselves available. They give you answers and don’t leave you hanging. They’re not the boyfriend that disappears and doesn’t text back for hours on end; they’re not the boss that has no time to explain assignments. Good communicators lead complete discussions, with which all parties are satisfied.
6. They Practice Confidence
A good communicator knows she is a good communicator. She doesn’t hide behind vague language and she speaks loud and clear. Her air of confidence earns the trust of the audience, as she demonstrates that she knows what she’s talking about.
7. They Are Specific
If you’re going to get your message across, you’re not going to beat around the bush. Good communicators have a clear, concise point and there is no mistaking just what that is. She’ll give detailed instructions or ask targeted questions – she’ll leave no room for confusion.
Why, asks the communicator, would she waste time trying to sugarcoat her message with vague language? She’d much rather share it in a straightforward manner and avoid confusing the listener.
8. They Focus on Their Interactions
A big part of communicating well and respectfully is eliminating distractions from interactions. No one likes to be mid-conversation to have the other party start texting or shoving food in its face. By ridding his environment of these things, the good communicator is focused solely on the message and audience.
9. They Ask Questions
Again, in an effort to best understand the audience, a good communicator uses questions – ones that are filled with specifics – amply. They fill any gaps of confusions with answers, not assumptions. Any knowledge gained through questioning helps to better fulfill the audience as well as to better get the communicator’s message across.
10. They Recognize Non-Verbal Cues
When chatting face-to-face, body language can be just as important as the words being spoken. Recognizing frustration, nervousness or excitement via non-verbal signals – like posture, facial expression and eye contact – helps the great communicator to understand her audience. In turn, she can better tailor her message to match the attitude of said audience.
Practicing these skills and improving your ability to communicate is worth your time and effort. As successful businessman Paul J. Meyer said, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.”
Featured photo credit: Anna Levinzon via flickr.com