Being able to communicate effectively is probably the most important of all life skills. How well information can be transmitted and received is a measure of how good your communication skills are. Developing your communication skills can help all aspects of your life – professional life, social gatherings and family relationships. Furthermore, communication skills are ranked first among a job candidate’s ‘must have’ skills and qualities and the number 1 reason relationships fail. The ability to communicate accurately, clearly and as intended, is a vital life skill and something that you should not be taken for granted.
Here is a list of 4 basic Do’s and Don’ts of Communication. This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it’s a necessary list.
- Don’t criticize or condemn. When you throw negative energy at another human being, you are hurting him or her, whether you realize it or not. You have the ability to interfere with other people’s self-esteem and self-worth, which changes who they are and how they perceive the world around them. Remember the Golden Rule: Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are necessary tools of wisdom and growth. If you truly feel that someone is wrong, then don’t give them more energy!
- Don’t complain or be negative. When people complain, they are not spreading sunshine and lightness in the world. They just pass misery on to everybody else and don’t take responsibility for their actions. It’s hard to listen to somebody who is being like that.
- Try not to exaggerate. Nowadays people exaggerate all the time. You can’t tell when they say the truth anymore. For example, if they see something that really is awesome, what do they call it? The exaggeration becomes lying, and we don’t want to listen to people we know are lying to us.
- Don’t confuse facts with opinions. When those two things get conflated, you can only hear the words of the speaker but nothing substantial.
- Ask questions. Encourage others to talk more about themselves. Instead of asking yes/no questions that lead to dead ends, encourage your conversation partner to share some more detail about their life. Always consider using follow-up questions such as, “What makes you say that?” or “Why do you think that?”. After every question wait for full response remaining silence. Finally, it’s a good idea to ask clarifying questions. Restate what you perceive the speaker to be saying to assure your understanding.
- Listen Actively and Be Empathetic. Provide the speaker with your undivided attention and put yourself in other person’s shoes. Observe the emotions behind the words. Is the speaker angry, afraid, frustrated or resentful? Talk in terms of other person’s interests and show them respect. Аs Henry Ford wrote : “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
- Be friendly and honest. It’s human nature to meet aggression with aggression. But if you try to persuade someone while maintaining a smile and showing honest and sincere appreciation for their situation, you’ll be surprised what you can achieve.
- Be clear and complete. Whenever you communicate you should include all of the necessary detail in your speech or otherwise your message will confuse people. Try to be precise and use simple, easy to understand language. In the end all that matters is your message to get across to others, right?
To go into more depth on communication skills we suggest a Dale Carnegie’s book called “How to Win Friends & Influence People “
Or you can watch this amazing TED Talk Speaker