Building Positive Communication Skills

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Effective communication skills are an important component in all aspects of life, and it is the foundation to all human relationships. You use it in everyday situations: at the store, at home, at work. However, in this age and society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to speak with other people. So why aren’t we continually working to improve our communication skills? Here a few nifty techniques on developing positive communication habits.

  1. Talk Less, Listen more. Do you find that you are speaking more than you are listening? Instead of focusing on the person you are speaking to, thinking about what you are going to say? I am VERY guilty of this. I once read an anonymous quote that stated, “The biggest communication problem we have is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Isn’t that ironic? When we talk less, people are more apt to listen. So, lets turn off our devices, give the individual you are speaking to our attention and be quiet.

  2. Non-verbal communication. Body language matters! I grew up as a dancer. Dance is an artform that uses human movement as a method of expression and communication. This can also translate to outside of the dance floor. Body posture and positioning is a large cue in the communication process. Non-verbal communication is especially important if there is a cultural or language difference involved. Focus on maintaining eye contact, facial and body expressions and use of tone.

  3. Clarity and feedback. A positive side effect of listening more is that people are more apt to volunteer more information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification purposes. It not only shows that you are paying attention but are empathetic to what the person has to say. When asking questions shy away from asking close-ending questions unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.

  4. Respect. Understand that you and the individual you are speaking to may always, sometimes or never agree. Respect each others different thoughts, opinions and feel free to “agree to disagree”.

Do you struggle in the art of communication? Don't worry, learning the craft is a lifelong learning process and something you won't grasp over night. Do you have any positive communication tips? I'd LOVE to hear it, put it in the comments below!