By Lindenberg Junior
The word “communication” is a general word in its meaning. It could take on many roles, depending on the use and context. It also has many formats as its delivery mechanism. You can listen to music or watch videos, or you can read a book. Conversations are forms of communications as well.
Because of the general aspects of communication, it’s difficult to imagine formulating it into a skill. But, it is possible, and many colleges offer majors in communication, which elevates the field. It’s not necessary to study at a four-year college to enhance your skills of communication. It takes basic knowledge and some practice.
The biggest skill you can use to communicate better is to listen. People are not natural listeners as they are focused on themselves. It’s how we are wired. We will always put ourselves first. Part of that is a survival mechanism. But, because of our self-serving nature, listening to others is secondary and requires us to put effort into being better listeners.
To increase your ability to listen to others, the next time you are speaking with someone, repeat back everything they say. That may be a little unnerving to them, at first. But, if they look at you with a bewildered look, explain that you are just making sure you understood what they said. Once they get past the awkwardness, they will welcome the exchange.
The next step towards better communication is to use simple language. When you want others to understand your meaning, you need to make sure everyone will understand the words. People have different levels of education. Therefore, you want to use the lowest common denominator when speaking to everyone. You should not view this as a means of looking down at others. Your goal is to make sure you are understood.
You must consider the feelings of the people with who you’re communicating. Even if you are a manager, barking orders at people is one of the least effective ways. Consider everyone’s opinions and needs. Keep people engaged in the communication platform. This way they take ownership in the process. That is a massive benefit for excellent communication. You will get more out of people when this happens than merely rattling off commands as if they are robots. There are some instances, such as the military, where shouting out orders is necessary. But, these are the exception, not the rule.
Speaking and writing in basic language is the best way to accomplish this, and good verbal and written communication skills are essential in order to deliver and understand information quickly and accurately. Being able to communicate effectively is a vital life skill and should not be overlooked.