Effective communication is fundamental to both one’s personal and professional life. I would know – I first started exploring effective communication when I was turned down after my first job interview. At first, I was angry, but after some thought, I came to the conclusion that my approach was flat-out wrong. I was too argumentative and never seemed to listen. Instead, I was often waiting to talk again. This ended up working disastrously for me during my job interviews. I thought I was beaming with confidence, but I just ended up appearing utterly inconsiderate.
So, let’s talk about what are the five most important aspects of effective communication.
1. Be a good listener. This may sound intuitive, but it needs to be said. Nobody wants to talk to someone who’s not paying attention. And nobody especially wants to talk to someone who’s talking past them. Most of communication is actually not verbal. Instead, it’s also about mutual respect, body language, and listening.
2. Always be conscious of your body language. People oftentimes aren’t aware of the impression they give to other person. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed and your legs away from the person you’re speaking to, they’ll probably think you don’t care about what they have to say. Instead, be affirmative – regulate your body language so that you seem inviting, rather than disinterested. You’d be surprised at how many people overlook this basic fact.
3. Add to the conversation. Don’t deviate from what the other person is saying. This brings us back to the first tip: listen and then add to the conversation. Think of a conversation like building blocks, where you’re building off of what the other person is saying.
4. Don’t be immediately defensive. Maintaining a balance in your tone and demeanor when met with controversy will make you more likely to change minds. Think before you speak! – or else, you’ll be met with anger and will never get what you really want.
5. Never interrupt. I don’t care how desperately you want to say your two cents before the other person finishes. Interrupting not only makes the other person feel lesser than, but it’s a sure way to create unnecessary antagonism.
All in all, be considerate. Some of these tips might come as no surprise to you – but how many of us remind ourselves to follow these tips during an actual conversation? A talented communicator does not think of what to say after but is in tune with the conversation during. And that’s the key to being a stellar communicator.
So remind yourself of these tips next time you have a meaningful conversation. It might save you from jumbling up your words in embarrassment.