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What are Good Communication Skills?

What are good communication skills?

What are good communication skills?

Communication may be defined as "the accurate transfer of information and / or emotion from one mind to another".

Good communication skills are defined as those techniques that allow for accurate transfer of information.

Communication skills fall into three main categories:

  1. Linguistic (speaking and writing).
  2. Voice tonality.
  3. Body language and appearance.

This blog focuses on speaking and writing skills.

In any communication there is always the risk of misunderstanding between the transmitter of the message and the receiver. This misunderstanding may be due to a variety of factors.

1. Avoid the use of ambiguous language

Ambiguous language is where words that may be interpreted in more than one way. An example of an ambiguous phrase is, "as soon as possible" or "ASAP".

Where the transmitter intends a particular word to be interpreted one way, yet the receiver interprets the same word in a different way, a misunderstanding occurs.

The communication skill is to minimise the risk of misinterpretation, by always defining any ambiguous term.

2. Do not assume prior knowledge

The transmitter may assume too much prior knowledge in the mind of the reader, and thus relies on an intellectual context that is not present. The transmitter therefore leaves more questions than answers in the mind of the receiver, leaving the receiver confused and slightly depressed at their lack of understanding.

The communication skill to master is to write according to your prospective readers knowledge base, not your own.

3. Don't overwhelm with too much information

The transmitter may overload the receiver, by providing too much information too quickly. It is essential to bear in mind that the human mind is limited in its ability to process information. Most people can retain only approximately seven pieces of information in their short-term memory, before the memory is full and the person suffers cognitive overload. The transmitter unwittingly violates the rules of epistemology and exceeds the capacity of the receiver's short-term memory to process information.

The communication skill to master is: Don't overload the reader with too much information in any one sentence.

Reduce the load on the readers short term memory.

Three communication skills for you to master.

1. To minimise the risk of misinterpretation, always define any ambiguous term. (Further reading: How language causes confusion)

2. Use your readers knowledge-base as your frame of reference.

3. Don't overwhelm people with too much information. Reduce the load on their short term memory.

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Further Reading in Communication - Clear Communication

  • Training to Improve Your Communication Skills
    People do make judgements of you, based on your appearance and what you say. In order to give the right impression, try some new ways to improve your communication skills. You will improve your confidence and gain respect in the process.
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  • How to communicate more logically
    How to communicate more logically Here are 37 tips on how to communicate more logically If you want to communicate logically, then you should learn the definition of logic. Logic is the art of correct reasoning; to be applied in thought, language and in action. Logic is a specific method of...
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  • How to Communicate More Clearly
    Don't run the risk of being misunderstood. Improve your chances of success, in both your career and personal relationships, with these four simple but effective ways, to improve your communication technique.
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  • 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.
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  • How to Communicate Positive Feedback
    People are very quick to give negative feedback, but it is even more important to communicate positive feedback. Correctly given, positive feedback can be much more effective in getting people to change their behaviour or attitude.
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