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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

  • 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...
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  • Gain Their Understanding and Agreement
    Communication is important because you need to gain the understanding, agreement and active cooperation of others. Without cooperation your progress will be limited.
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  • How Language Causes Confusion
    Ambiguity in business can be damaging both for your reputation and your finances. To avoid potential confusion when communicating with colleagues and customers, take a look at these five ways where ambiguous language should be avoided.
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  • Why we love logic
    To be successful and achieve your goals, you must act on logic and be rational when dealing with people.
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  • 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.
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