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How Good Are Your Communication Skills?

It is also helpful to understand the differences in how to communicate through face-to-face interactions, phone conversations and digital communications, like email and social media. There are different types of communication skills you can learn and practice to help you become an effective communicator. Many of these skills work together, making it important to practice communication skills in different contexts whenever possible. Active listening means paying close attention to the person who is speaking to you.

People who are active listeners are well-regarded by their coworkers because of the attention and respect they offer others. While it seems simple, this is a skill that can be hard to develop and improve. You can be an active listener by focusing on the speaker, avoiding distractions like cell phones, laptops or other projects, and by preparing questions, comments or ideas to thoughtfully respond.

Different styles of communication are appropriate in different situations. Depending on the situation, you may even need to send a formal, typed letter over other forms of communication. In friendships, characteristics such as honesty and kindness often foster trust and understanding. The same characteristics are important in workplace relationships. In the workplace, people are more likely to respond to ideas that are presented with confidence.

Strong communicators are able to accept critical feedback and provide constructive input to others.

Feedback should answer questions, provide solutions or help strengthen the project or topic at hand. Speaking too loudly may by disrespectful or awkward in certain settings. Related: Soft Skills: Definition and Examples.

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Having empathy means that you can understand and share the emotions of others. Assertiveness skills can be difficult to learn, especially since being assertive can mean holding yourself back from the way you would normally do things. For example, you may be afraid of conflict, always go along with the crowd, and avoid offering your opinions, and as a result have developed a passive communication style. Alternatively, you may aim to control and dominate others, and have developed an aggressive communication style.

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However, an assertive communication style brings many benefits. For example, it can help you to relate to others more genuinely, with less anxiety and resentment.

The Communication Quiz

It also gives you more control over your life, and reduces feelings of helplessness. Remember: Assertiveness is a learned skill, not a personality trait you are born with. It is what you do , not who you are. Next, describe the situation and how you feel about it. Then, describe what you would like to see happen. Be as brief and positive as possible. Last, tell the person what would happen if your request was honoured. How would you feel? Sometimes, you may want to add what you will do in return.

Many people have trouble expressing their views openly. Perhaps you wait for others to give their opinion first, and will share yours only if you happen to agree. Being assertive also means being willing to consider new information, and even changing your mind. However, it does not mean changing your mind just because others think differently. Saying no can be difficult for you if you are usually more passive.

Powerful Communication Skills: How to Communicate with Confidence

However, if you are not able to say no to others, you are not in charge of your own life! When saying no, remember to use assertive body language e. Before you speak, decide what your position is. Take care not to apologize, defend yourself, or make excuses for saying no when it is not necessary.

Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples |

This will help break the cycle of always saying yes, and will give you a chance to think about what you really want to do. First, think of a couple of past scenarios when you avoided giving your opinion or preference, saying no, or asking for what you wanted. How could you have handled the situation differently? What would be an assertive way to communicate in those situations?

Practise saying your assertive statement out loud to yourself, to get used to it. Next, think of a situation that is coming up in the next week in which you could use your assertiveness skills. Begin with a scenario that is easier, for example, giving your opinion or saying no to more familiar people, and then try it in more difficult situations. Try it out — how did it go?

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Notice how the other person reacted. Would you do something differently next time? Remember: assertiveness is like any new skill, and requires time and practice. Reward yourself when you do speak up!

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Note: Sometimes people who are not used to us being assertive may need some time to adjust. Myth 1: Assertiveness means getting your own way all the time This is not true. Being assertive means expressing your point of view and communicating honestly with others. But telling others how you feel, and trying to work out a compromise, shows respect for both yourself and others.

Myth 2: Being assertive means being selfish This is false. Just because you express your opinions and your preferences does not mean that other people are forced to go along with you. If you express yourself assertively not aggressively then you make room for others. You can also be assertive on behalf of someone else e. Myth 3: Passivity is the way to be loved This is false. Being passive means always agreeing with others, always allowing them to get their own way, giving into their wishes, and making no demands or requests of your own. Behaving this way is no guarantee that others will like or admire you.

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  6. Much of the time, however, otherpeople will be interested to know what you think. Think how you would feel if everyone always agreed with you! Myth 5: I have to do everything I am asked to do False. A central part of being assertive is setting and keeping personal boundaries. This is difficult for many people. But other people cannot possibly know how busy you are, how much you dislike a particular task, or what other plans you have already made, unless you tell them. Final Tip: Although it is important to test skills out and use the trial and error process, we can learn a lot from observing others.

    If you regularly solicit feedback, others will help you to discover areas for improvement that you might have otherwise overlooked. Regardless of how compelling the speaker is, all audiences have limited attention spans. Ask the audience a question, encourage people to call out their thoughts during a brainstorming session or at the very least ask hypothetical questions to stimulate the audience.

    Clear communication is of paramount importance.