Regardless of the field that you are in, excellent communication skills will help you in being super-effective as a professional. The interesting part is that whether you are a leader, negotiator, presenter, sales person or a customer-servicing rep, great communication skills will give you an added advantage at work.
Lets start on the basic premise that unlike what most Indians feel, good communication doesnt necessarily mean speaking excellent English. Good communication means communicating in a manner such that the other party is completely in tune with what you mean, expect or comprehend. This could be heedlessly of which language you use to communicate.
Language is only a channel to facilitate effective communication. Having said this, in the corporate world today quality English gives a professional an obvious advantage. So work hard on improving your English skills.
How should you improve your communication skills
According to Albert Mehrabians communication model, over 90% of our communication happens through the non-verbal signals that we send through our body-gestures and voice.
a. Your body talks!
A great body language will take you a long way. Smile more often, maintain positive facial expression, maintain a good posture, sit upright, let your hand gestures be open. Most importantly always match your words to your body language. People will trust the latter hands down.
b. Voice it well!
Good communication requires a great tone of voice. Always ensure that your voice reflects a confident professional. Maintain a grounded pitch, speak at a volume that is audible yet that doesnt deafen the other person.
2. Listen, listen, listen
Listening is an important aspect of communication and is crucial for a professionals success at the workplace. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness and on the quality of your relationship with others. So listen well to your customers, peers, subordinates and bosses.
3. Questions are the answers
Asking good questions is productive, positive, creative, and can get you what you want. Do not underestimate its importance since right questions will help you in getting a better and complete understanding of the persons issues.
The way you frame your questions will decide on the quality of answers you will receive from the speaker. A poorly framed question will get a response likewise. However, if you put your thoughts in framing your questions to make them clear, specific and comprehensible you increase the probability of the customer giving you all theinformation you require in the matter.
4. Clarify your doubts
Not clarifying your doubts could lead you to presuming things which in turn could create a major disconnect between your understanding and the other persons requirement. The consequences could thus be disastrous.
How to clear your doubts
* Listen intently to the speaker.
* Ask relevant questions to probe further. Your questions could be a combination of open and closed-ended questions as per the demand of the situation.
* If required ask the speaker to re-explain
5. Be a voracious reader
* You need to read, and you may need to read a lot. Learning to read well and quickly will improve your communication skills in multiple ways.
* Reading improves your knowledge base.
* Reading improves your vocabulary.
* Reading improves your exposure to creative ideas.
* Growth in business is greatly influenced and dependent, for better or worse, on the way in which we communicate. Becoming a good communicator takes practice and consistent effort on our part, and it is a skill that we cannot afford to overlook.
The author is senior manager-content development, Work Better