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Improving your Communication Skills

Improving Your Communication Skills

Improving Your Communication Skills

Here are some ways you can improve your communication skills:

When speaking or writing:

  • Structure your message.
  • Limit the amount.
  • Always give reasons.
  • Communicate in the affirmative sense

When listening or reading.

  • Don't drift off. Pay attention.
  • Try to visualise what the other says
  • Listen and identify their conclusions and their reasons

1. Structure your message.

If you want people to listen to you and remember what you said, then structure your message.

The human mind can only make sense of information that is organised. Therefore, ensure your message has an internal logic that links one idea with the next, in a coherent and intelligent manner.

2. Limit the amount.

In addition to being structured, your message should be limited. Don't say everything you think.

Remember that there are limits on how much the human mind can absorb in a given time. Psychologists tell us that the human mind can only store between seven and nine bits of information at any one time, before it goes into overwhelm.

Therefore, don't say too much. Limit your message to nine units or less, and then stop talking for a while.

3. Always give reasons.

Whenever you offer your opinions, then back them with convincing reasons.

Don't offer opinions without supporting them with reasons.

Stating unsupported, arbitrary opinions is a waste of time.

People want to know, not just WHAT you think, but also, WHY you think it.

If you don't offer good reasons, then the other person would have no reason to accept your opinion as valid.

So always state your opinions, together with their supporting reasons.

4. Communicate in the affirmative sense.

There are two basic methods of expressing a message:

  • An affirmative message, such as "The cat is on the mat".
  • Or a negated message, "The cat is NOT on the mat".

Of these two communication styles, it's the affirmative messages that convey the most information.

For example, telling me that you are NOT going to Paris for your holiday this year, does not tell me much about your holiday.

Whereas, telling me that you ARE going to Barcelona for your holiday, conveys much more information.

Negation messages leave unstated the affirmative view. And since we must act on something definite, it is better to talk about "what it IS", rather than telling us "what it is NOT".

Instead, give your affirmative views.

5. Don't drift off. Pay attention.

Communication requires an active mind. Therefore, to be a good listener or reader, give them your full attention.

Don't allow your mind to wander.

Focus your mind on the message.

6. Try to visualise what the other says.

One of the best ways to improve your listening and reading is to consciously try to visualise what the person is telling you.

Create detailed mental images.

Your imagination is the key to improving your listening skills, understanding and memory.

Picture in your mind what it is you are being told.

7. Identify their conclusions and their reasons

Try to identify two things, in the other person's message.

What they think; and why they think it.

  • WHAT is their conclusion.
  • WHY they believe it, ie their reasons.

If you understand what they think and why they think it, and if you can visualise their meaning, then you are doing well as a communicator.

Remember that communication is at least 50% information gathering.

About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Looking for Communication Skills Training?

If you're looking to develop your Clear Communication Skills, you may find this Communication Skills Training Course beneficial:

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