Communication is a skill we use everyday in everything that we do. In fact practically every waking hour is spent either giving or receiving some form of communication.
Now days we have many more means of communication than our grandparents or even our parents. We now have, in addition to the nearly outdated land line phones and faxes; cell phones with TV’s, Email, video, and text messaging capabilities. Of course you can still use your cell phone the old fashioned way! All these wonderful high-tech methods of communicating however don’t solve our communication problems. Only developing personal skill in communicating can do that.
Communication Can be Critical
The most recent critical conversation failure that comes to my mind was broadcast to the whole nation recently regarding the mining disaster in West Virginia. January 1, 2006, tragically, 13 miners were trapped due to an explosion. After several days of searching for the miners, they were finally found. Communication was quickly sent from the rescue team to the command center. What was heard and quickly disseminated was that the 12 men were found alive! (One had already been found and confirmed dead).
What joy filled the airways, as one person after the other passed on the good news by word of mouth and cell phone. It was a few hours later when the rescue team actually brought the men’s bodies to the surface that family and friends learned the awful news. Only one miner had survived and he was in critical condition. Fortunately most of our conversations are not as critical as this one was. But learning to communicate more clearly can do much to alleviate many frustrations in organizations, families and friendships. Undoing the damage of poor communication is difficult and tends to leave scars.
Article on Communication Skills Tips
My first tip is that you embrace the fact that your communication skills are critical to the success of all you do. Whether you are a parent, the head of a corporation, a PTA volunteer, a college student etc. all you do depends on communicating. Communication really is an art form which we learn very little about in our formative years. Yet it is so necessary to our success in life. Excellent communication skills will help us to avoid conflict, resolve problems, get our needs met, meet the needs of significant others, avoid failure, have great relationships etc.
To improve your communication skills begin by observing yourself. Are you a good listener? Do you interrupt others? Are you quick to think of a response before listening and understanding what is being said? Are you preoccupied when others are speaking to you? Do you give others your undivided attention? Do you roll your eyes when you disagree with what is being said? Do you care about the person speaking or what he is saying?
Next, listen to the way you communicate. Do you answer people’s questions directly or do you beat around the bush? Do you expand your communication giving too many details? Do you omit important details not giving others a clear picture of what you are saying? Do you stay on track or do you chase rabbits (meaning you allow your thinking to be easily derailed by incoming thoughts)? Do you exercise discretion? Do you use coarse language?
To improve your communication even more think about the best way you can communicate your thoughts and ideas. Begin to think about what it is that you are trying to communicate. What point are you trying to convey with your words? Why are you trying to convey it? What needs are you wanting to get met? What are your motivations? These are deep questions and are very important for you to consider if you truly want to improve your communication skills and particularly your relationships.
Finally, consider how people close to you respond when you communicate with them. Are they attentive? Do you get positive feedback from them? Do your communications often result in feelings of conflict, failure or rejection? Do you speak clearly? Do you speak too loud or not loud enough? There is much to becoming an excellent communicator. Self awareness is a huge factor to that end. Take time to journal your answers to these questions. It will help you to focus in on what communication skills you need to work on most.
Proverbs to help improve communication:
- He who answers before listening that is his folly and his shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
- Avoid a man who talks too much. (Proverbs 20:19b)
- A chattering fool comes to ruin (Proverbs 10:8)
- A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul (Proverbs 18:7)