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Three Ways to Improve your Communication Skills

Three ways to improve your communication skills

How can you improve your communication skills?

Communication is important to you because you use your communication to gain the cooperation of others. You need the cooperation of others: you need cooperation from your colleagues, your suppliers, your customers, and your family. If you cannot gain the cooperative assistance of others then you won't be able to achieve your goals.

If you can gain the cooperative assistance from your colleagues, your suppliers, your boss, your customers and your family, then, the chances are, that you will make good progress towards the achievement of your goals.

In order to gain the cooperation of others you need to be a good communicator. Poor communication will result in misunderstandings, confusions, disagreements and errors. On the other hand, excellent communication will result in better understandings, clarity of purpose, agreements and accuracy.

Excellent communication will help you to bring home excellent results for yourself and your family.

The Principles of Communication

Here are three guidelines that will help you:

  1. Define your major terms. Always strive to define exactly what you mean.
  2. Give a reason for your statements. Justify your message by some kind of logic.
  3. If you are making a suggestion, attach to it a personal motivation to act.

1. Define your major terms. Always strive to define exactly what you mean

When you are speaking or writing, you always have options about which words to use, to express any thought. You could use a specific wording; or a non specific, ambiguous wording.

The rule I want to suggest is that you should, generally, strive to use as specific wording as is possible. Give the most exact wording that your knowledge permits.
For example, don't say, "He was rude to me." Say instead. "He pointed his finger at me as he spoke, and he called me stupid".

Be as precise and accurate in your use of language, as you can.
Don't say, "Bring me back some milk on the way home please". Instead say, "Would you please bring me back two pints of semi skimmed milk?"
The verbal habit of exactitude will mean that you will have fewer misunderstandings and therefore will have fewer upsets.
Be precise and accurate in your choice of wording.

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2. Give a reason for your statements. Justify your message by some form of logic

Precise language will give the other person a clear idea of what you want.

Your next step is to give the reason.

Everything has a reason. Everything you do and say should be for a reason.
You should never act without a reason.
Everything you say should have a reason and should be seen to be reasonable.

If you don't give reasons for what you say, then your message will seem to be either:

  • Not reasonable
  • Irrational
  • Arbitrary

Tell the person the reasons why you are making the points you are making.

Reasons come in two types:

  • Purposes
  • Causes

Purpose: Everything you do is to achieve a purpose, or....
Cause: Your action was the response to a previous cause.

So relate everything you say to either a "future purpose" or a "previous cause".

"Please bring home two pints of semi skimmed milk; we will need it for teas and coffees tonight." (Purpose).
"Please bring home two pints of semi skimmed milk; you drank the last of it, last night". (Cause)

3. If you are making a suggestion. Attach to it a self-interested motivation to act

The finishing touch to improving your communication, is to personalise your message by linking it directly to your listeners or readers own self-interest: Meaning, give your listener a personal reason to care.

If you don't give the other person a personal motivation to care, he probably won't care and his response will be weak.

For example if you said,
"Oh look John. Someone has backed their lorry into the back of a car in the car park." You might not get Johns attention.

But if you said
"Oh look John. Someone has backed their lorry into the back of your car, in the car park"

Then you will get Johns attention!

Remember that most people are self-interested.

They care most about themselves and their family, first. (Not about you or your family first).
So try to make a connection between the content of your message and the personal interest of your reader.

For example you will see that I tried to do that at the beginning of this piece by linking clear communication to the achievement of your goals.

I wrote:
Excellent communication will help you to bring home excellent results for yourself and your family.

This motivation was a deliberate attempt to give you a reason to care, and cause you to read the rest of the message.

If you are reading this line, then it worked.

Rule three is:

Give a personal motivation.
If you don't motivate your listener to listen, then they may not listen for very long.
If you do motivate them, then they will listen for longer.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


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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Further Reading in Communication - Clear Communication

  • What is the Conversation Cycle?
    Conversations involve the sharing of information, ideas and opinions. Each person in the conversation must have the opportunity to inform, invite, listen and acknowledge to complete the conversation cycle.
    Read Article >
  • Think Before You Speak
    Did you see the upset that Donald Trump caused last week with his ill-thought-out words about COVID-19, in front of the world's media? This is a great example of why you should always think before you speak.
    Read Article >
  • Twelve Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills
    Some people seem to have been born with the gift of the gab. Mastering communication skills is the key to your future success.
    Read Article >
  • Muhammad Ali: The Greatest Speaker in the World.
    Muhammad Ali was gifted. Gifted as a sportsman, as a speaker, as a writer, as a poet and as a politician.
    Read Article >
  • Improving Communication in the Workplace
    Managers are the key to successful communication and motivation in the workplace. They must ensure they give proper praise and appreciation, when due. And,if criticism is necessary, then it is vital that this is delivered in a constructive manner.
    Read Article >

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