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​How can I Make My Communications Skills Better?

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Posted 16 September 2013 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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• Bespoke in-house training.
These can be tailored to your specific needs.
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You may find the following will help with the development of your communication skills training.

How can I improve my communications skills?

To a certain degree, your success is linked to your ability to communicate. If your communication skills are strong and you can easily express every idea and piece of information that you have, then you will be more convincing and persuasive. If you are more convincing and persuasive, then you are more likely to gain the cooperation that you are seeking, and will be more likely to win the top prizes.

But on the other hand, if your communication skills are weak, then you will be unable to clearly express your ideas and information and you will be correspondingly less convincing and less persuasive. And as a consequence, you will be less likely to gain the cooperation, or the job offer; you will be less likely to look good in the meeting, and therefore less likely to win the top prizes you are seeking.

Your life depends upon your ability to communicate.

If you want to improve your ratio of wins to losses, then one place to start is to improve your communication skills.

How could you improve your communication skills?

Answer: You could attend our communications skills course.

Question: What would I learn on the communication skills course?

Answer: You would learn the following:

In professional communications the following principles apply:

  1. Focus your conversation.
  2. Be specific.
  3. Use the power of numbers.
  4. Define your terms.
  5. Ask intelligent questions.
  6. Listen to the answers.
  7. Always give reasons for your assertions.
  8. The proper use of voice tones.
  9. The proper use of body language.

That is quite a long list.

Let us make a few notes on each one.

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.

1. Focus your conversation

Many people let their conversation drift off topic; which is okay in a social setting, but if you are in a professional setting then it is crucial to be more focused. Since you have only a limited time for each communication, it is important that you are able to discipline yourself, and the others, to stick to the point.

Question: Do you stick to the point, or do you have the tendency to ramble on about non-related issues; or do you allow yourself, or any of the others, to get off track?

If yes, then train yourself to focus your conversation onto the point, and keep it there!

2. Be specific

Many people talk in general terms, that are difficult to disagree with but do not tell you anything. For example, politicians are renowned for speaking without saying anything. Poor quality Politicians may say things such as:

"I am the candidate for change. I believe that we should go forward together and not go backwards. I believe, as you do, that we should get rid of all that is wrong, in our country, and replace it with all that is right. If you vote for me, things will change for the better, because we will be working to build a fairer society that will work for you, not against you."

What is wrong with the above script?

It does not say anything specific.

If you are going to say something, make sure that it has some content. Make sure that you have a definite idea that is worth expressing, and that you can validate it. Don't just talk for the sake of hearing the sound of your own voice.

Go for quality rather than quantity.

Be specific.

3. Use the power of numbers

One way to achieve greater specificity is to use the power of numbers.

Use numbers to express a greater degree of clarity. For example, don't say, "Would you bring back some eggs on the way home". Say "Would you bring back 12 eggs on the way home."

Don't say "He was going too fast." say "he was going at 90 miles per hour".

Ask for and give the numbers, whenever possible.

4. Define your terms

Numbers can do a lot, but they can't do everything. Whatever numbers cannot do, words must do. For example the above politician speech made reference to, "A fairer society". This sounds good but it needs to be defined.

What do you mean, specifically, Mr Politician, by a fairer society?

Would you please give me your definition of a fair society?

Please note the following.

At any time anyone has the right to ask you this question: "What do you mean, specifically?"

If anyone asks you that question and if you cannot answer it, you are in trouble as a communicator. You must be able to define your major terms, if you are to qualify as a master communicator. If you want to persuade and convince you must be able to be definite.

Before the meeting, learn to clearly define your meaning, at least to yourself,.

5. Ask intelligent questions

Communication is about absorbing information as well as transmitting it.

And in order to do that well, it is a vital skill to be able to ask intelligent questions.

Here are four "stock intelligent questions" to memorise and use whenever it is appropriate.

  1. "How do you know?"
  2. "Would you please be more specific: how do you define (BLANK)?"
  3. "When you say that you think (such and such) should be done, could you tell me specifically, how? Meaning, by what means, is it to be done?"
  4. "What for?"
  5. "What do you think caused it?"

6. Listen to the answers

When the other person answers, listen to his her answers. You may learn something new.

And when you are listening, really listen. Don't switch off your brain and think of other things. Some people don't listen well. They ask a question and don't listen to the answer. Other people do listen well. They ask a question and seem genuinely interested in the answer.

Be a member of the second group. Ask a question and be genuinely interested in the answer.

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7. Always give reasons for your assertions

Having the ability to be clear is only half the battle. You must be able to validate, or justify, what you are saying. Otherwise your listener will be clear, but will have no reason to believe what you are saying is true, right, good, convincing, plausible or real.

So, you must also provide "reasons to believe". You should be able to back up what you are saying with some kind of reasoning. That reasoning could be logic. It could be facts. It could be statistical predictions. It could be scientific study. It could be an appeal to an accepted moral principle, (for example, honesty). Whatever is your claim, you should always try to back up your claims and assertions with some form of reasoning.

If you don't give any reasoning to back up what you say, you will be considered an intellectual lightweight whose words and opinions count for nothing.

If you say, for example, "There is no life on mars and never has been.", and someone says "how do you know?" And you say, "I just don't think that there is. That's all. That is my opinion."

Then your opinion is baseless and to that degree it is worthless.

But if you said, "There is no life on Mars and never has been.", and someone says "how do you know?" And you say, "Because Mars to too small a planet to have retained sufficient water for life to have time to have evolved."

Now, whether he is convinced by that or not, you will agree that the original statement is rendered more convincing.

Always try to be ready to answer the above list of questions that could be asked of anything you say (or write). Try to anticipate the following questions and be ready with a convincing answer.

  • "How do you know?"
  • "Would you please be more specific: how do you define (BLANK)?"
  • "When you say that you think that (such and such) should be done, could you tell me specifically, how, meaning, by what means, is it to be done?"
  • "What for?"
  • "What do you think caused it?"

8. The proper use of voice tone

So far, I have written only about the use of language, logic and numbers. This constitutes the content of your ideas and information. But it is also important to get the voice tones right.

The one attribute I would encourage you to invest into your voice tones is "enthusiasm".

Please try to put some enthusiasm and energy into your voice tones. Put some feeling into the words by means of injecting changing voice tones. Sometimes higher, sometimes lower. Movement. Energy. Enthusiasm.

Don't be a monotone speaker: a speaker with no variation. No energy, no enthusiasm. If you are monotone, then your listeners will switch off their interest. And you will make your sound idea, sound boring.

So practice injecting enthusiasm into your voice tones.

By the way, you can practice these principles on every person with whom you come into contact. Starting right now.

9. The proper use of your Body language

Body language is a topic that deserves a life time study.

You could spend your whole life studying how you communicate with your body language. The subtle signals that are not spoken, but are visual signals transmitted by means of;

Eye contact. Hand gestures. Facial expression (Smiles, frowns, laughing, crying) .. Body posture. Arm movements. Leg movements. Scents. Clothing. Makeup. Jewellery.

But for now just think about the following:

Do you point at people when you speak? If you do, then stop it.
Do you touch people too much or "invade their space". If you do, then stop it.
Do you smile enough? If you don't, then start today!

Smile and the world smiles with you.

Remember, you can practice these principles on every person with whom you come into contact. Starting right now.

Think about it.

Please follow the link for details about our communications skills training courses

Thank you.

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