Well-developed communication skills are the key to making all your plans and dreams come true. After all, no one can do without communication, even an introverted shrinking violet.
- Why do you need communication skills?
- Components of effective communication
- What affects the quality of communication?
- Techniques how to please any person
- Exercises for true masters of communication
The ability to persuade and the mastery of public speaking skills can significantly make life easier for everyone, regardless of their profession. It's a kind of art which, however, can be mastered independently or with good online training courses.
Why do you need communication skills?
The art of communication means that you can build rapport with others and win over people. That means that other people will be drawn to you and feel relaxed in your company, which will help you quickly establish a trusting relationship with them. Consequently, communication skills will come in handy for:
- Building a successful career. Someone who quickly finds a successful approach to other people and knows how to present a project or company is appreciated effectively in any profession. Additionally, excellent communication skills can help achieve a promotion because how else could you convince your boss that you have long deserved a step up the career ladder?
- Networking. Business contacts are the basis for the success of any businessperson and the promotion of your personal brand. It also means knowing how to work with clients, lead them to a deal and attract them. Successful cooperation between partners depends on their communication skills.
- Public speaking. The speaker should speak informatively and convincingly so that the audience will hear and remember them. Moreover, public speeches can happen anywhere: at a conference, at a meeting on the topic of a new project, etc.
- Leadership. If you want to lead people, you can't go anywhere without effective communication skills. Carefully chosen words are a critical oratory tool of all well-known leaders.
- Conducting negotiations. Communication skills also involve the art of persuasion. Altogether, they allow you to reach a mutually beneficial agreement in the shortest possible time, attract potential partners, or resolve (or even prevent) a conflict.
- Personal and family life. The more developed a person's communication skills, the easier it is to conduct a dialogue, understand someone else's position and avoid misunderstandings with close people. Just think how many squabbles could be avoided if you conducted a conversation effectively!
Excellent communication skills can also compensate for the lack of technical lexicon and specific knowledge. They enable you to improvise and adapt to any situation, which is invaluable.
Components of effective communication
Remember, communication isn't just about words. Yes, of course, the language you use is super important, but it's also even more important how you deliver those words. Therefore, any great speaker knows that effective communication consists of three essential components:
- Verbal communication. In the usual sense, that is oral communication, that is, the transfer of specific information using the words we articulate.
- Non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication, or "body language" is our physical behaviour, which the interlocutor reads at the subconscious level: our gestures, facial expressions, touch, look, posture, etc.
- Para-verbal communication. That is the nature of the transmission of words: the tone and pitch of our voice, speed, diction, and intonation.
Here's a fun fact: according to a study by Australian scientist A. Pease, a person only absorbs 7% of information through words. Then, through paraverbal communication, up to 38% of information is assimilated, and through nonverbal communication, it's a stunning 55%!
What affects the quality of communication?
In addition to considering how your words relate to your nonverbal behavior - do you carry yourself confidently as you speak? Do your facial expressions match the tone of your voice? - you also need to connect four resources to communication. Our "Incredible Speaker: Complete Manual for Audience Impact" course has an entire section dedicated to this method. Consider these techniques:
- Use your emotions. All you need to do is watch Steve Job's or any other famous speaker's speech from YouTube, and you feel what a bright and robust mood they project to their listeners. It can be an air of confidence, thoughtfulness, sadness, or happiness - there's no difference. People are always willing to listen to those who can charge them with certain emotions through gestures, tone of voice, and of course, the words themselves.
- Appearance. Speakers and those who want to convince others with a glance often underestimate the importance of their appearance. That is not about beauty, but about the look. It's about neatness, relevance, and compliance with a well-thought-out image. Wear clean clothes, polish your shoes, wear expensive jewelry or watches, use light makeup, and comb your hair. All this is also an integral part of non-verbal communication, which is instantly read by people and without which you will not be as convincing as you might have been.
- Intellectual balance. Of course, you must be an expert on the topic you are speaking about, or at the very least have a good understanding of the issue under discussion. Nevertheless, very often in communication, people delve into the intellect, forgetting about emotions, and vice versa. They both must be in balance so that your audience will want to listen to you and trust you.
- The "Halo effect." The first impression of a person is formed in the first five to ten seconds from the moment they first meet. Further communication largely depends on these extremely important seconds because they "launch" the perception of the interlocutor. That is why it is necessary to connect the communication skill (verbal and non-verbal) at the initial meeting.
Techniques how to please any person
A master of communication must be an effective speaker and be able to listen effectively. This technique allows you to understand, evaluate and remember information that is important to the interlocutor. Later on, you will use it to strengthen personal relationships. That is why the active listening technique is often used in sales and negotiation. In practice, active listening involves:
- Assent - nodding your head, "yeah", "aha", " fantastic!" etc.
- A timely pause. Do it at a time when you feel that the other person wants to speak.
- Rhetorical questions - "Really?" "Wow! Are you serious?" etc.
- Paraphrasing the last words of the interlocutor with an interrogative intonation.
- Summarising the information received - "I understand correctly that you..."
- Building rapport reflects the interlocutor's nonverbal and paraverbal behavior, that is, the echoing of their intonation, gestures, facial expressions, and sometimes even words used.
Adjustment by breath
That is the most popular but difficult technique. It can be used every day as an exercise. All you need to do is talk to anyone and try to mirror their breathing. That is, to breathe with the same depth and frequency as they do with their chest or stomach. Of course, you need to do it inconspicuously, so the other person doesn't notice. The same breath rhythm is subconsciously read by the interlocutor, causing a sense of trust and "similarity." Additionally, it makes your speech the same as theirs, which also encourages a sense of closeness. It takes a lot of practice to adjust your breathing properly.
"10 out of 10."
We instinctively trust those who look like us. To do this, you need to have several points of contact with the interlocutor. If there are more than ten of them, there is every chance to win a new business partner, friend, or client! However, these "points" might not be obvious, or at least not to the interlocutor. Try to spot them and subtly articulate them during the discussion. Say out loud the things that you have in common and the opinions that you both share. This technique is also suitable for conflict resolution.
Exercises for true masters of communication
To focus on the person you are talking to
If distraction is your most frequent problem in communicating with your interlocutor and prevents you from hearing and speaking, this exercise is vital for you. You can perform it directly during the dialogue. Just focus on your breathing for a couple of seconds.
Repeat this exercise in your free time, but for at least one minute. To do this, you will need a quiet place and a stopwatch. You can pay attention not only to your breathing but also to physical sensations (your heartbeat, wiggling your toes, etc.), as well as surrounding sounds. The main thing is to focus on one thing.
For a friendly tone and strength of voice
There is a straightforward life hack that will make your voice sound friendly and impress people. All you need to do is smile while talking! Practice this method in front of a mirror first. In the process, you can also practice your non-verbal behaviour by tracking facial expressions, gestures, and posture, which should be upright. Try reading a passage from a book, gradually lowering your intonation and pausing between sentences to create a sense of confidence.
Make sure that a slight smile is present throughout the entire reading. You can record yourself on a voice recorder: the first time read the passage in your usual tone and without a smile, and the second time the right way. Compare the results, and you will see the difference for yourself.
This exercise is called "Keyword Search" and promotes the development of verbal thinking. Take any book or newspaper article. Use a pencil to underline those words or phrases that appear to be the keywords in the text, and then try to find synonyms for them. Use epithets, rearrangement of words, and everything to make the keyword sound completely new, while still conveying the original meaning.
Everyone needs good communication skills: in sales, to build a career, in business, and in personal life. It includes many components and essential factors that you must consider to achieve the maximum positive impact on the people around you. With the skill of effective communication, it is much easier to convince partners of the deal's profitability! You can improve this skill by regularly repeating your beliefs and using effective communication techniques. The more often you practice, talk to people, and try these techniques on them, the sooner you will be able to polish and hone your skills.
Do you want to learn more about applying the active listening technique in practice or how to tune your breathing? Do you want to know how to effectively use the nonverbal aspect of communication, convince people with a glance and use the basics of business ethics in negotiations? We will teach you how to boost your communication and persuasion skills to the maximum in the course "Incredible Speaker: Complete Manual for Audience Impact." You will be able to develop your unique image from scratch, level-up your motivation, and get advice from the world's experts in interpersonal communication. Mastering public speaking and communication skills is much easier with Lectera!