Communication skills are a better predictor of success than intelligence.
Most of us have jobs that require communicating with others, whether it’s verbal or written. Your boss, coworkers, and clients are all subjected to your communication skills.
We all have to communicate with the people in our lives. Our partner, friends, family, and neighbors are part of our lives, but only if we communicate with them.
Aside from being forced to take a public speaking class in high school or college, we aren’t taught communication skills in school in any meaningful way. The only way to develop these skills is to make them a priority and begin teaching yourself.
Here are the top 10 must-have skills for communicating effectively with the people in your life:
1. Clarity. Have you ever spoken to someone and felt confused by what they were saying? Communication isn’t really communication if the other person doesn’t clearly understand what you’re trying to say. It’s important to speak clearly and to present your points clearly and in an organized manner.
2. Brevity. We all know a person that goes on and on and never seems to get to the point. There’s a time for stories, and there’s a time to be succinct and direct. When you understand what you’re talking about, you can make your point clearly and quickly.
3. Listening. Communication goes both ways. You can’t just speak. You also have to listen to the other person. Listening seems easier than it is. We’re usually not skilled at truly paying attention when someone is speaking. Our minds wander to other things and people.
● Others take notice of and appreciate a good listener!
4. Directness. Why beat around the bush? It just wastes everyone’s time, including your own. Get to the point without ambiguity.
5. Confidence. Your level of displayed confidence impacts your ability to communicate.
● Imagine listening to a presentation by a confident person versus an anxious person.
● Now consider how you view someone that is nervous at a party or on a date versus someone that is confident.
● Confidence has a positive impact!
6. Eye contact. Eye contact shows that you’re confident and paying attention. A lack of eye contact conveys submission, anxiety, or a lack of respect. Practice good eye contact with everyone.
● Look into the eyes of strangers you pass on the street.
● Look people in the eye when you’re talking to them and while they’re talking to you.
7. Public speaking. Public speaking skills are invaluable in the workplace. Good public speaking skills also build your confidence, which will positively impact your communication skills in your day-to-day life.
8. Introducing yourself and others. Can you confidently walk up to someone and introduce yourself? Can you introduce two people to each other? We often forget our manners and fail to handle this common act of courtesy with finesse.
9. Non-verbal communication. Much of what you communicate is communicated without words.
● The way you stand, move, and gesture matter.
● Your facial expressions matter.
● Even your clothing says something about you.
10. Grammar. Your grammatical precision is noticed by educated people. Poor grammar impacts the way others view you. Good grammar demonstrates intelligence and class.
Luckily, effective communication is a set of skills that can be learned.
The best news is that there are always people around to hone your skills. Everyone is a potential communication practice victim. Fire up your webcam and talk to people on the other side of the world if you like.
It’s hard to think of something that can have a more profound impact on your life than enhancing your communication skills. Get started today and see how much of a difference it makes.
Joseph O. Arthur
Certified High Performance Coach