Good communications skills affect our ability to function in all areas of our lives. Those who develop communication skills can improve relationships at home, school, and in all areas of their lives.
Communication only occurs when all parties involved understand the message shared. It can be incredibly frustrating to believe that one is effectively communicating only to discover that the other party fails to understand the message being sent. This occurs because of a breakdown in communication. One party may not be transmitting a message that can be understood. Another party may lack listening skills to process what is being said. In the worst circumstance both occur.
When one is not understood on a regular basis, it is best not to assume that everyone has bad listening skills. Even if a few do, working on better speaking skills will improve your ability to be heard. Close friends and respectful coworkers can sometimes provide constructive feedback on where to begin the work to improve verbal communication skills. Choose someone who will be fair, but honest. It is best not to ask an open-ended question. Have specific questions for the person to answer about problems with verbal communication they have seen at work or in personal situations. Specific examples can help to build a series of skills that need work.
Become educated about better verbal communication skills. Once the problems are identified, there are specific strategies that can be employed to improve those skills. For instance if one is not able to stay on topic during a presentation, there are strategies that can help with that situation. Better planning, rehearsal, and structuring of the presentation can help a person stay on topic. These are all strategies that can be taught.
Listening skills can be taught. One common effective exercise that is taught is reflective listening. One participant speaks and the other person has to repeat back what is said. This exercise is effective with children and adults. People quickly receive feedback about how well they listen and what it is like to be heard. Developing effective listening strategies can prove to be an important communication skill.
Writing skills are also essential to work on when one wishes to develop communication skills. The ability to communicate in a variety of written formats is essential to success in professional, private, and community situations. Those who wish to learn to communicate effectively through writing should start by evaluating their current writing skills. There are many opportunities for improving letter writing, e-mail etiquette, professional writing, and other forms of written communication.
Those who want to develop communication skills have many opportunities to do so with free or inexpensive options. Improving skills can improve professional, personal, and other relationships people treasure. It is worth the investment.