Effective communication is needed in all areas of life. Paul Meyer hits the nail on the head when he says:

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.

While basic communication skills are inherent, becoming a great communicator takes practice. You can start improving your own skills today by learning these four tricks of effective communicators. 

Effective communication begins with listening.

Too many times, people are either thinking about their responses or about something else entirely, and they fail to completely listen to the other person. By doing this, you lose focus on the conversation and may find out, in embarrassment, that your response is completely off base. When you are not listening, you are creating a one-sided conversation that shows others that you really do not care about what they have to say. Showing a genuine interest in learning what others think and feel will place you in a position to be the one they go to for encouragement and to brainstorm solutions to difficult problems – because what you say in response will all of a sudden matter, too.  

Focusing on your interactions shows respect.

Checking emails, texting, or engaging in social media while in a conversation is rude. Great communicators respect those they are by putting away or turning off their electronic devices when engaged in conversation. One-on-one conversations are becoming a lost art because of the ease of technology, but these conversations can be some of the most important You have the opportunity to truly understand the person with whom you are speaking. Eliminate the distractions and practice your listening skills.

When communicating to anyone (i.e., family, colleagues, or large groups), make your message clear.  

Doing so ensures that you are heard and understood in the way you intended. If giving instructions, provide details to avoid confusion. When setting up appointments, be specific about your availability and give details about the time, location, and who else will be in attendance. Frustration occurs when specific details are not shared, and people have to go back and do something that could have easily been done correctly the first time.  

It is also important to keep your message simple. Make certain that what you are communicating is understandable. If the thought is confused in your mind, it will most certainly be confusing to the person with whom you are communicating. Take the time to think through what you need to convey and omit unnecessary information. Choose the right communication method for your message – if you can resolve an issue with a quick chat, pick up the phone or walk over to your colleague’s desk rather than writing an email, which will create a number of responses.

Finally, ask questions.   

Great communicators ask questions, and they are not afraid to get specific. Taking a genuine interest in learning more about people and what they think, feel, and experience helps keep the conversation going and shows that you are engaged. People appreciate it when someone wants to get to know them better, and the knowledge gained through great interactions can help you further yourself both personally and professionally.

Effective communication is a great skill for everyone to have. It is also a necessary skill to get along successfully in the world around you. You can easily master the lost art of communication by practicing your listening skills, making your message clear, and asking questions.

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