Posted 16 July 2012 by Chris Farmer
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Communication is the transfer of information and emotion.
You have three major modes of communication:
- Voice tone
- Body language
In order to improve your communication skills, work on all three modes of communication.
In order to improve each one of the three modes, you may be interested in the following notes.
You use words; language; in order to communicate your ideas, thoughts and feelings.
When speaking, use the following principles:
- Define your key terms
- Speak in affirmative terms
- Listen with intent to understand
Define your key terms
There are many words and phrases that are often used but ill defined.
- Inappropriate behaviour
These are examples of words and phrases that are "often used but ill defined".
There are many words and phrases that you use often, they remain ill defined.
If they are to be used properly, all concepts need to be defined.
Concepts that are ill-defined are nothing more than noises signifying nothing
Parrots can talk but they don't know the meaning of their own words.
There are some people who "parrot" words and phrases they have heard but they have no real understanding of the meaning of their own words.
They talk a good job but with no comprehension of the practical implications of what they are saying.
Be wary of parroting words.
Speak only when you are sure you have a clear meaning to your words.
Don't be an empty-concept speaker.
If you use vague and open terms, without defining what you mean, then you leave yourself open to valid criticism.
Speak in affirmative terms
Affirmative language is language that says:
- What you do want
- What you do like
- What you will do
Negated language is language that says: what you don't want, don't like and won't do:
- Speak in terms of what you do want
- Speak in terms of what you do like
- Speak in terms of what you will do
When in conversation, you are not the only one speaking.
The other person is speaking too.
So you should be listening.
You should be listening well.
Listen with intent to identify their conclusion
Their conclusion is the fundamental point they are trying to make
Some people speak and don't quickly get to their point.
Some people seem to make no sense: their conversations seem pointless.
So it is not always easy to hear their point
But do your best.
Listen for their conclusion: their point.
And if you don't know what their point is, then ask.
Voice tone is the musical quality of your voice.
This element of your communication has the following subsets.
Your volume communicates the degree of intensity of your emotion.
- If you are excited then you speak louder
- If you are angry then you speak louder
- If you are confident you speak louder
But don't speak too loud
High pitch voices are juvenile and lack authority
Lower pitch voices are mature and have more authority
So you can have more authority in your voice, by speaking using the lower end of your voice range
Timbre is the intensity of emotion
- The passion
- The enthusiasm
- The belief
The absence of passion, enthusiasm and belief will make your conversation sound lacklustre and boring
Try to inject emotion into the timbre of your voice.
The body is your greatest tool for self-expression
The subsets of body language are many
The main subsets are:
- Use an upright posture
- Don't slouch
Don't point at people
- Don't point your finger
- Don't point your pen
Use open handed gestures instead
Your face is one of the most important communication devices
Use it well
A smile is the best way to communicate
The eyes are the window to the soul.
Look into their eyes.
But don't overdo it
- Insufficient eye contact will make you seem evasive
- Too much eye contact will make you seem intrusive
The rule is
- Give him the same amount of eye contact he is giving you.
- Give her the same amount of eye contact she is giving you.
For more information about communication skills training visit the Corporate Coach Group website