Are Your Conversations Helpful & Constructive?
The ability to communicate effectively is essential for both happiness and success. When you communicate in a way that encourages others to grow and be their best, you are making an investment that will definitely pay you dividends in the future.
It is important to understand how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as phone, email, and definitely, social media. Great communication skills will help your get hired, promoted, and ultimately be respected, personally and professionally.
10 Happiness and Success Communication Skills
Below are 10 happiness and success communication skills that will transform your ability to talk with others.
Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and repeating what the person says to ensure you are understanding correctly ("So, what I hear you saying is…"). We each have filters that affect our ability to hear. Because we are meaning making machines, we often are making meaning out of what someone is saying, instead of simply listening. Also, what you believe you heard, might not actually be what someone meant, so repeating what they say, can allow them to correct any miscommunication.
2. Nonverbal Communication
90% of all communication is non-verbal. Your eye contact, hand gestures, and tone of voice all color the message you are trying to convey. Don’t say one thing with your words, while contradicting what your words are saying with your body. As a general rule, it is best to maintain a relaxed, open stance (arms open, legs relaxed), and a friendly tone. This stance will will encourage others to speak openly with you and make you seem easier to talk too.
Also, pay attention to other people's nonverbal skills while you are talking. Often, nonverbal signals convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, he or she might be uncomfortable or attempting to hide something.
The below list of nonverbal skills are always good advice:
Don’t bring your phone, a drink, or anything else to an interview or meeting that could distract you.
Introduce yourself with a smile and a firm handshake.
Avoid slouching. Sit with up straight or lean slightly forward to convey engagement.
Eliminate fidgeting and shaking of limbs.
Display some animation with hands and facial expressions to project a dynamic presence.
Listen carefully, and do not interrupt.
Focus on the conversation.
Keep your hands away from the face and hair.
Modulate your vocal tone to express excitement and punctuate key points.
Nod to demonstrate understanding.
Observe the reaction of others to your statements.
Pay attention to the nonverbal signals of others – provide clarification if they look confused, and wrap up if they have heard enough.
Respect the amount of personal space preferred by your communication partners.
Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself when you’re feeling nervous.
Wait until the person is done talking to respond.
3. Clarity and Succinctness
Knowing how clear or succinct to be really depends a great deal on the personality of the person you are speaking to. Want to learn more about personalities? It is a good rule of thumb to simply say what you want clearly, directly and respectfully whether you're speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. Think about what you want to say before you say it; this will help you to avoid talking excessively and/or confusing the person you are talking too.
People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas. A friendly, respectful tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, will encourage people to engage in conversation with you. Being respectful and polite in all your workplace communications, both face-to-face and written is always the best way to go.
Convey respect also by proof read your communication. If you send a sloppily written, confusing email, the recipient will think you don’t know what you are doing or they might even think you do not respect them enough to think through your communication before pushing send.
Exuding confidence can be as simple as making eye contact. People like to be looked at when you are speaking with them. Of course, confidence does not sound arrogant or aggressive. Confident people are often the best listeners because they want to understand the person with whom they are speaking and realize that the better they listen, the more appropriate and accurate their responses will be. Confident people are also empathetic. It costs nothing to attempt to understand where another person might be coming from.
Speaking of empathy, even when you disagree with an employer, coworker, team member or employee, it is extremely beneficial for you to at least attempt to understand their point of view. Using simple phrases like "I understand what you are saying” demonstrate that you are listening and respect their opinions. Each person looks at the world through different colored lenses called personality. The more you understand about your personality tendencies, as well as, others personality tendencies, the more empathy you will experience when you are communicating.
7. Live curious
A good communicator should enter into any conversation with some flexibility and curiosity. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person's point of view, rather than simply wanting to prove YOUR point. It is impossible to learn anything with a closed mind. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it will definitely put new life into your conversations.
Simple actions like using a person's name, making eye contact, and actively listening when a person speaks will make the person feel valued and appreciated. If you are on the phone, avoid distractions and focus on the conversation. When you can, personalize your emails to team members and/or potential clients/customers. A quick "I hope your weekend was enjoyable" at the start of an email can give your messages a more personal feel.
9. Give and Receive Feedback
Leaders, managers, mentors and supervisors should look for ways to provide people they work with constructive feedback. Giving feedback involves commending people on what they are doing right. Something as simple as saying "good job" is okay, but the more specific you can be when you commend someone the better. Example:"Thanks for taking care of getting the plans finished for (company). Your work on that project was impressive.”
You should be able to graciously accept, and even encourage, feedback from others. Accepting feedback does not mean that what someone is saying to you is a fact. It is simply respect that you show someone who is sharing their thoughts with you. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and if the feedback is sound and reasonable, make efforts to implement the recommendations and changes.
10. Picking the Best Place and Time
An important communication skill to understand the importance of place and time when communicating. Some serious conversations (layoffs, changes in salary, etc.) are always best done in person. Never cause someone to feel shamed or embarrassed in front of others. Think about how you might want the same information shared with you.
You should also think about the person with whom you wish to speak, if they are usually very busy, you might want to pick the best time for them, or even convey your message through an email. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication and will be more likely to respond positively to you.
In 2008, Dawn was selected by Oprah Magazine and The White House Project as one of the nation's 80 emerging women leaders. She was selected as on of 15 Women of Achievement by the Georgia YWCA. Dawn Billings is an author, inventor, and serial entrepreneur. She is the CEO and Founder of The Heart Link Women's Network with locations in US, Canada, and Australia. She is the architect of the Primary Colors Personality Tests and Insight Tools, and founder of Personality-Experts.com. Dawn is also the creator of OverJOYed Life and the Happiness Curriculum. Dawn is the executive director of The Healing Resort in Arizona.