Communication Skills

One of the most basic skills is communication. Ironically enough, it is also one of the skills that requires the most work and constant development. This is because many other skills derive from having the ability to properly communicate. Some tips for becoming a pro communicator:

1) It’s not just words; Communication is as much non verbal cues as it is verbal. Too often we forget that our body speaks as loud as our mouths. Use your body language to help communicate by aligning your body language to your verbal cues and messages. Also make sure to be aware to use both verbal and non verbal communication effectively, understanding that there is a time and place for each. Be aware of what your body is saying, make sure it isn’t distracting or contradictory to the message you are communicating.

2) Context is Key; Whether your travels take you abroad or you simply find yourself in a formal meeting, the context of your communication is an important factor. Effective communication is based largely in the context. COmmunication and cues vary across different cultures, for example, in Germany, it is important to be on time and to keep meetings on time (i.e. not run late) whereas in more latin countries, it is not uncommon to have informal meetings over long, social meals. In general, what your culture may deem as friendly banter could be offensive elsewhere so make sure to be aware. The same goes in smaller scale context changes. For example, the vocabulary used in an email to your boss should not be the same as the email you send to your best friend.

3) Less is more; though we often want to sound intelligent and personable, many studies and professionals argue that if we are trying to deliver a message, the most effective way to do so is to be concise and not beat around the bush. Avoid unnecessary jargon and use plain terms to ensure the audience understands and that you are clearly communicating the message you wish to portray.