As we move into 2023, key skills once designated as nice-to-have “soft skills” are now seen by many businesses as “power skills” utterly vital for growth in uncertain economic times.
Communication is one of those power skills that is considered the lifeblood of human relationships.
It is a core talent encompassing a wide range of “sub-skills” required to interact effectively with humans with different personalities. Additionally, for professional competence and for the recruiting process, effective communication skills are the key factor.
What do we mean by “communication”?
The term “communication” refers to the process by which one person shares information with another. One can communicate verbally, non-verbally (body language, tone, and gestures), graphically (via images, graphs, maps, and charts), or through writing.
The goals of communication include
- expressing emotion
- Meeting societal expectations
To grasp these goals and to enjoy truly fruitful, reciprocal relationships, it is critical to work on your communication skills. Communication skills training is the primary source to lend you a hand for quick results.
Top 5 Communication Skills
Different types of interaction require different communication skill sets. Here are the top 5 communication skills which can contribute to taking you a step further in your social and professional life. You can easily develop these skills by attending communication skills training in London, or wherever you are based with a reputable provider.
1. Active Listening
Active listening is a skill that is rarely taught in schools despite being the foundation of all successful communication. Effective listening can be defined as the process of hearing, understanding, interpreting, and acting on information in a way that matches the speaker’s intent.
To be a vigilant listener, you can follow The HURIER model of Effective Listening.
H – Hear
Hearing includes grasping all verbal and non-verbal information while avoiding distractions.
U – Understand
Once you have heard all the information, the next step is to reflect on it to develop a coherent understanding (to eliminate the limitations like language barriers and word selection)
R – Remember
A good listener can retain the entirety of the information delivered. Taking in information is useless if it is forgotten the second you stop listening. Keeping information in one’s memory involves practice and concentration.
I – Interpret
Interpretation adds soul to the conversation. It involves consideration of the context, biases, and beliefs of the speaker.
E – Evaluate
Evaluating is figuring out what to do with all the information you’ve gathered by listening.
R – Respond
The final element that makes a good listener is linked with your response which shows your understanding of the whole listening process.
In short, to be an active listener, follow what the ancient Greek Philosopher Epictetus said, there are 2 ears and one mouth for a reason; understand their proportion and use them accordingly.
Assertiveness skills are methods of expression that enable you to share your thoughts and opinions openly and honestly while showing consideration and respect for others.
If you don’t develop assertive communication skills, you can end up draining your energy by agreeing to duties you cannot handle, or you can harm your relationships by coming across as hostile and uncooperative.
By practicing assertive communication, you can achieve
- Work satisfaction
- Fewer conflicts
- Improved social relationships
- Anger Control
To get better at assertiveness, follow the PROVE model, when delivering messages to colleagues:
- P: Proposal – Propose what you want to say
- R: Reasons – justify your proposal with a reasonable explanation
- O: Objections – appreciate their views, and take into account any objections
- V: Verification – Validate your proposal by providing supporting evidence
- E: End – Restate your main point
3. Giving Feedback
Many people avoid giving their co-workers constructive feedback for fear of harming relationships, but this is a mistake because it deprives them of important learning messages and suppresses their professional progress, which eventually causes a lose-lose situation for both the organization and the individual.
Here are some tips for giving feedback that you can develop through communication skills training.
- Focus on the behaviour
Look at the actions and behaviour, not the person. This approach will help you to identify the problematic behaviour, then you can elaborate on how it makes you feel, and lastly, state your desired outcome.
- Be specific
If you want to be helpful, your comments should be specific to the recipient’s situation, not general. Include as many examples as possible to demonstrate and support your point. Ensure that the receiver understands their weak points.
- Be timely
Look for a good moment to share your thoughts. Promptness is of the essence, as feedback loses its value if it is given too late. If the window of opportunity for growth has closed by the time the feedback is delivered, the receiver may also experience regret and anger.
4. Questioning Skills
The French Philosopher Voltaire once said that we should judge a person more by their questions than by their answers. His point was that a questioner’s credibility can increase significantly if he or she can master the art of posing thoughtful, well-structured, well-timed questions.
To master the skill of questioning:
- Ask probing questions
One way to get more information is to ask probing questions. If you’re having trouble grasping a respondent’s remark, a simple “give me an example” request may do the trick.
The use of probing questions will help you to:
- Obtain clarification to verify the narrative and fully comprehend it.
- Obtain knowledge from individuals who are attempting to withhold it.
- Ask leading questions
When you ask a leading question, you’re trying to sway the responder in a particular direction you desire. You can do it by concluding your statement with one of the following:
- Appeal for an agreement like “Susan is very efficient, what do think?”
- An assumption that reflects your thoughts “How much later than previously planned do you anticipate delivering the project?”
- Asking in such a way that “yes” is the “simplest” answer such as “Should we go for the first option?”
You can improve your questioning skills by joining our communication skills training in London.
5. Body Language
Body language includes a variety of nonverbal cues or signs in communication, such as body movements, facial expressions, tone of voice, and gestures. In a major study of communication conducted by Professor Albert Mehrabian, it was discovered that body language accounts for 55% of our message being delivered in a conversation, tone was 38% and words a mere 7%. This means that having the right body language is utterly essential for getting our message across.
In other words, humans place a lot more weight (90%) on nonverbal cues like posture and tone of voice than on words themselves.
To master body language skills, one must know the difference between open and closed body language.
- Open body language (including uncrossed legs and uncrossed arms) conveys an expressive, confident, assertive personality.
- Closed body language (including crossed legs or arms while sitting or standing) can be viewed as representing a defensive personality or a close-minded person who has already made their final decision.
Additionally, eye contact, gesture, tone of voice, and facial expressions, all come under body language.
Research has found that effective communication accounts for 85% of career success, while mastery of the technical aspects of working skills accounts for the remaining 15%. This indicates that the best route to achieving our desired outcome in the workplace is by sharpening our communication skills.
Interactive communication skills training delivered by trusted experts in the field offers one of the most effective ways to enhance your communication skills and to help you excel in your chosen field. To make the most of 2023, why not take the plunge and consider your training options?