Communication skills - tips and guidelines

How to master communication skills


As kids, almost all of us played the game of “whispering in the ear”. One of the team members used to initiate the game by whispering something in the ear of next person who used to pass it on to the next and so on. As the chain used to get over, the last member had to speak out what he heard and then the initiating member used to tell if it was the same thing he said. A childhood game but a classic example of communication.

Have we all not experienced that by the time a talk comes back to us after passing through some people, it gets distorted and means something else than what we actually meant? This happens both in our personal as well as professional lives.

So, let’s open up a discussion about what it takes to be a good communicator? What are the possible pitfalls, their effects and solutions?

Communication skills are required in order to communicate or express people of what is received and understood. Certainly, the ability to communicate is very essential in order to interact with people. Communication can either be written or oral. Also, one may communicate face to face or on the phone. It can either be with an individual or a mass.

Important points to remember

  • Always look into the eyes of the audience; people you are communicating with.
  • Body gestures and expressions convey a lot. There could be scenarios where in we speak something else and our body gestures convey something different.
  • Always put forward your thoughts rather than sounding bookish.
  • Always interact and interrogate with the audience.
An effective communicator is one who can send across information as desired. Words play an important role in communicating with people. Complicated words not commonly used should be avoided. The key point to an efficient communication is to pause between sentences. Communication is not mere talking but also being an active listener.

Why Good Communication skills?

  • Good Communication skills assist in good management skills.
  • From professional perspective, good communication skills help to establish a rapport.
  • They help to interact with people, attend meetings confidently and build business relationships.

How to achieve Good communication skills?

  • Avoid flowery words. Avoid words which are unnecessary and not called for.
  • Make eye contact with people.
  • In case of verbal communication, listen to what the other person wishes to convey.
  • Body gestures, facial expressions \should be in synch with the words.

Some pointers for effective communication

In today's world where most of us are working in teams, it essential to master the art of communication. Given my experience in the IT industry, I have come across many instances where the team members are exceptionally good at their technical skills but fall flat on their faces when it comes to interacting effectively with their colleagues. Unfortunately, most of them do not even see the need to make an attempt to build on communication skills. What separates the leaders from the rest is that the leader (most of the times, but not always) communicates better than the rest.

Some pointers that might help you communicate better are

  • Be audible and clear as to what you are saying.
  • Do not interrupt when others are speaking, you can keep your questions for the end when the speaker can answer. However, you can lay down your own rules, that is, some speakers take questions during the discussion, while others like to take questions in the end.
  • In order to be a good communicator, it is essential to be a good listener too.
  • It is very important to use right words. Do not use slangs and offensive words at work place.
  • Use words and language that others can understand and relate to.
  • If you disagree with others' opinion, you do not have to be aggressive. Instead, be polite and say "Let us agree that we disagree on such and such point/issue".
  • Make an attempt to increase your vocabulary by reading news papers and other sources.
  • Remember to be always polite not just with your boss and peers but also with the office boys and other sub-ordinates.
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