Principles of effective communication
Principles of effective communication, focus on six key themes of communication, you will be emerging as a more confident professional.
Are you one of those who are technically sound but do not feel too confident to express yourself? Are you one of those who envy others with terrific ability to get across their views? Are you one of those who struggle to participate in meetings, teleconferences or video conferences? Are you the one who wonders why you are not taken seriously despite your domain knowledge? Are you the one who is overawed by those who mingle with strangers and push their way through?
If you are one of the above, congratulate yourself first for realising what you are missing out. And then start working on it!
Let me share a quick overview of the key ingredients of communication – the X factor among successful professionals. If you focus on six key themes of communication, you will be emerging as a more confident professional. In today’s article, let us look at the first three.
Listening: Let us admit; you can never evolve into a great communicator if you do not listen to others. When you listen, you are showing respect to others; you value what they are saying; you are interested in what they have to communicate. It makes a huge difference to your relationship. You become more approachable and you will find people reaching out to you to share. All that is because you are a good listener!
Watch out for those signals which can make a poor listener. Does your mind wander when others are speaking? Do you prepare your response even before you listen? Do you listen selectively to some and ignore others? Does your impression of others influence your listening? Check out which of these factors is hindering your listening and curb it.
Body Language: Try this exercise once – speak about achievements loudly but with hands and shoulders dropped on the sides and head tilted down! Do you create the desired impact? While you are speaking about all the great things and your achievements, it is your body that is pulling you down. A confident body posture is what catches the attention of others. Let it be in conversations, in interviews or in meetings. Even when you are not speaking, your body is communicating actively. Ensure that you send out the right messages and create a positive impression.
Watch out for your hand gestures starting with hand shake; your eye contact; the way you walk with chin up; the well-balanced shoulders without sag; your straight back without bend; your relaxed facial muscles without the frown; these are the basics that create first impressions even before you utter a single word. Of course, be mindful of going overboard and over projecting your confidence. The key is balance! Do not allow artificiality to creep in (for example, wanting to walk like Salman Khan!!).
Thought Clarity: The most important aspect of your communication is your clarity of thought. It helps in expressing yourself without confusion; it helps to make a point with precision; it makes it easy for others to understand you much better and the end outcome is your view getting across to others easily.
First habit that one can inculcate is to stop speaking till your thought is clear in your mind. Don’t be like some of those who continuously speak as they are thinking. It can happen occasionally (we call it thinking aloud), but it should not become a habit. Spend enough time thinking, structuring your points in your mind, jot them down on a piece of paper if need be and then start speaking. Avoid going back and forth; it confuses the listener. Your objective must be to make it easy for others to listen to you and more importantly to understand you.
Do the simple test – are you clear in what you want to communicate? If you are not, then others will not. Take Away Go ahead and practice listening skills during the next one week in all your interactions with others. Also, be watchful of the way your body is presenting you; spend much time in thinking and organising your thoughts. See how you are gaining your confidence. Watch out this space for the next three aspects of communication.