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The Best Way to Improve your Communication Skills

What one thing could you do that would most improve your communication skills?

Answer: Always pay very close attention to the feedback you are getting from your listener as you speak.

Communication is a process of transferring the content of your message into the mind of your listener.

It is vital that you remember it is not ONLY what you say that is important, it is also the EFFECT of what you say on the mind of the listener, which is equally important.

If you say something that you think was good; it is important to notice the effect of your message on the listeners mind. You need always to notice the feedback.

FEEDBACK is the key concept that you need to remember.

What is feedback?

Feedback is information that tells you whether your current actions are causing you to either:

  1. Make progress, or
  2. Not make any progress, or
  3. Go backwards (Regress).

Feedback is a key concept.

When you are talking to another, you need to have your feedback-antennae fully up-and-open and be aware, at all times, whether what you are saying is causing you to:

  1. Make progress with this person.
  2. Not make any progress with this person, or
  3. Go backwards, in respect to this persons understanding and agreement with your message.

Please notice that the last sentence introduced two more ideas: Understanding and agreement.

Understanding vs agreement

Feedback

  • Understanding means they comprehend what you mean.
  • Agreement means that the other person thinks that what you mean is true, and - or good.

When you are speaking, you usually want to gain both understanding and agreement.

Please note the following:

  • It is possible for people to fully understand you, but disagree with every word you said.
  • It is possible for people to disagree with you, because they did not understand what you meant.
  • It is possible for people to hear what you said, but not understand any of it.
  • It is possible for people to AGREE with what you said, because they did not properly understand what you meant.
  • You want people to understand what you said and agree with it.

You need to be always checking the feedback to see whether you are gaining understanding and agreement, or not.

As you speak, pay close attention to the effect your message is having on your audience

  • If they look confused, please NOTICE that they look confused. Don't keep going on, and on, and on, when it is clear that you have confused your audience.
  • If they look upset, or angry, please NOTICE. Don't keep going on, and on, and on, digging a deeper hole for yourself.
  • If they look as if they are in disagreement with you, you need to notice. You need to find out at what point you lost them. Don't go blindly on talking when it is clear that you have lost sympathy with your listeners.

You need to be continually aware of your feedback.

Feedback from your listeners comes in many forms

  • Their facial expression will tell you a lot, if you take the time to notice it.
  • Their body posture will tell you a lot, if you observe them closely.
  • Their eyes will tell you a lot, if you notice their level of eye contact.
  • Their verbal responses will tell you a lot, if you give them a chance to speak, and if you listen well to what they say.

Don't be blind to feedback

There are some people who talk, and talk, and talk and they are oblivious to the fact that they are boring others, or offending others, or confusing others, or irritating others.

The reason they are oblivious is that they are so absorbed with their own message that they are failing to take conscious account of the feedback that their current actions are creating.

Always be aware

If you want to be a better communicator then always be aware of the effect of your current actions on the minds of others.

  • If you are making progress then keep going on as you are.
  • If you are not making progress, then change your approach.
  • If you are going backwards, and losing your audience, stop and ask them for feedback.

Your goal is always to have them understand you and preferably to agree

  • If they don't understand you must become clearer.
  • If they don't agree you must provide better reasoning.
  • Keep an eye on their feedback response.

Here is a list of key concepts you need to remember from this blog

  • Feedback.
  • Understanding.
  • Agreement.

Always bear these three in mind.

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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