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Five Ways to Improve your Communication Skills

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Posted 16 April 2014 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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You may find the following will help with the development of your communication skills training.

Five Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Your organisation should be a group of people working as a cooperative unit. They need to cooperate in order to achieve the organisational goals.

In order to operate as a cooperative unit, obviously, there must be a sense of cooperation. A cooperative spirit in the team is the essence of the team's productiveness.

If there is no sense of cooperation - instead there is rivalry, disharmony, destructive competition, fractiousness and friction, between the members of the team - then you can kiss goodbye to any chances of efficient action and rapid progress towards the goal.

Unfortunately, sometimes there is too much of the aforementioned rivalry, disharmony, destructive competition, fractiousness and friction. And therefore the team is not producing what it could produce.

  • How can we replace disharmony with harmony?
  • How can we replace competition with cooperation?

How can we bring people together and create a fully functioning harmonious, cooperative team?

Answer: Work on their communication skills.

You need to improve the quality of the communication within the team

If you improved the quality and quantity of the communication, then you would eliminate some of the errors and replace them with improved skills.

How can you improve team communication skills?

The first thing to do is to break the question down into smaller subsets.

You need to think of communication skills as being on two levels:

  1. Communication as the transfer of information.
  2. Communication as the transfer of emotion.

Ideally, you want to improve in both types of communication.

Here are five tips to improve the communication of information and emotion.

1. Communication as the transfer of information. Describe things numerically

Whenever possible, use numbers. Ask the other person to describe what he is saying, numerically. Don't accept statements such as, "Could you send over to me, some more booklets, A.S.A.P." Instead say, "Could you please send over 30 booklets so that they get to me no later than 6pm tomorrow?"

Using numbers is the best and easiest way to make your language more accurate and specific. Using numbers reduces the chances of misunderstandings, errors and therefore, of conflict.

2. Communication as the transfer of information: Don't state the negative idea. State the affirmative idea!

  • Don't say where you are not going. Instead, state where you are going!
  • Don't say what you are not going to do. Instead, state what you are going to do!
  • Don't say what you think cannot be done. Instead, state what you think can be done!
  • Don't talk about what you don't like. Talk more about what you do like.

Talk in affirmative terms.

3. Communication as the transfer of information and of emotion. Listen with intent to understand

There are three levels of listening.

  • Not really listening - Drifting off, mentally, whilst the other is speaking.
  • Listening with intent to reply - You listen. But, you are, in fact, simply waiting for her to finish speaking so that you can tell her what you think. You listen with intent to answer with your counter or to give her your, (more impressive) opinion.
  • Listen with intent to understand - In this method of listening you are not listening with intent to reply. You are listening with a true intent to understand WHAT the other person thinks, and WHY she thinks it.

You may disagree with everything she says, but you still don't argue. Instead, you continue questioning, in an attempt to understand how the person could believe such a thing.

If you keep questioning, then you may discover that the person will surprise you with a set of reasons that you had never thought of before. This may lead you to evolve your view.

Listening with intent to understand is an art worth developing. Not many people do level three listening. Listen with intent to understand.

4. Communication as the transfer of emotion. Be polite at all times

Reintroduce polite phrases back into your daily vocabulary.

I recommend the following two phrases should be used by you, 100 times a day, every day,

  • "Would you please........"
  • "Thank you very much. I appreciate it."

5. Communication as the transfer of information. Talk about the three P's

At work, keep the conversation incessantly about the three P's. They are:

  • The PURPOSE, of the organisation.
  • The PLAN that is designed to achieve the purpose.
  • The PRIORITY actions, the things in the plan that need to be done next.

If you focus 80%, or more, of your conversational time around the purpose, the plan and the priority tasks, then your communication will be productive and will move the organisation forwards.

If you waste your time talking about things that are not about the purpose, the plan and the priorities, then you will be unwittingly sabotaging your own productivity.

Summary

  1. Describe things numerically.
  2. Don't state the negative idea. State the affirmative idea!
  3. Listen with intent to understand.
  4. Be polite at all times. "Would you please..." and "Thank you very much, I appreciate it."
  5. Talk about the three P's. Purpose. Plan. Priority.

Do all this and the communication and progress will be better.

Communication Skills Training

Communication Skills Training

Do you ever think to yourself, "I know what I mean, but I can't explain it"? You need to be able communicate facts, feelings, information and ideas, in a clear, professional and confident manner. If you want to learn more about our communication skills training, please click here.

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