Top Ways to Communicate Effectively
While many people believe effective communication is instinctive, such is not the case. If truth be told, you need to work on enhancing your communication skills if you want your message to be fully understood.
Whether you are addressing a crowd or communicating with a significant other, a friend, a colleague, or a family member, the following tips can help ensure you are able to communicate more effectively:
Make sure you clarify and organise your ideas prior to communicating. If you are very passionate about a particular topic, you might not be able to articulate your ideas as clearly if you have not identified any key points. Key points will serve as anchors—they can help you stay focused.
A good rule of thumb would be to pick at least 3 main points and keep your discussion focused on those. With the main points in place, you would be able to return to the topics you wish to discuss in case the conversation wanders off. It would also be a good idea to write your points down just in case your memory fails you.
Pick the right time. As the old saying goes, there is a time and place for everything and the same rings true when it comes to communicating. With that in mind, consider it ideal to discuss heavy topics and concerns in the morning or afternoon when people are available, alert, and are more focused. Understandably, few would be thrilled when sorting issues like long-range planning or financing at the end of the day when they are most likely too tired or drained.
Enunciate your words clearly. To help warrant any misunderstandings are avoided, ensure you are able to enunciate key points accordingly. If you notice yourself mumbling at certain points in the conversation, practicing at home in front of a mirror might help. If you lack confidence, it can also be a good idea to practice with someone you trust. You can also ask for help refining your words so you can communicate your message better.
Be vocally interesting. Great communicators enhance communication by using vocal color. If this is something you would like to try out, start by:
- Raising the volume and pitch of your voice each time you transition from one topic to another.
- Increasing the volume of your voice and slowing down the delivery when you are summing up or raising a special point.
Maintain eye contact when communicating. When communicating, eye contact will not only help you show interest, it will also effectively build rapport. When conversing with someone, ensure you have eye contact and maintain it for a reasonable amount of time. When you’re addressing an audience, pause briefly and make eye contact with people in the audience to make them feel valued.
Use pauses and breathing to your advantage. When used right, pausing can be powerful. It can cause people to listen and take notice. It can also help you effectively emphasize any points you would like to make and give the other party time to digest what you said. In addition, it would be a good idea to get into the habit of solid and regular breathing during conversations. It will not only help you become more relaxed, it can also help you keep a calm and steady voice.
Avoid interrupting the other person. You can’t expect to fully understand the message the other party is trying to convey if you are busy formulating what you’re going to say. Give the other person your full and undivided attention and wait until it is your turn to speak. You might not be aware of it but more often than not, the other party can see through your facial expressions and can tell if your mind is someplace else.