Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Effective communication skills

Listening is a physical as well as a mental process. In effective listening you not only listen to the information but also process it and make sense of it, besides perceiving any emotion, feeling, motive or nonverbal clues that are hidden in such communication. You listen is effective when you are mindfully present during the conversation and engage your mind fully in the act of listening, without the usual mental chatter, anxiety and approval seeking behavior which keeps your mind preoccupied and distracted. Listening does not mean you have submitted to the will of another or you have failed to make your presence felt. It means you respect the other person and you are open-minded. In the following essay, the author provides ten important suggestions to improve your listening skills. Jayaram V


by Dorene Lehavi

1) Listen without judgment. The key to good communication is listening well. Save your judging for later after you have heard and understood what was said.

2) Listen with the willingness to be swayed to the other person's opinion. No obligation to actually being swayed, but stay open to the option.

3) Listen without thinking about what you will say next. Take time before you respond.

4) Do not be invested in being right. Being right is not the point. If you must be right, you are not able to listen nor communicate because you have set up a barrier already. If you are always right that means the other person is always wrong. That cannot be true.

5) If your mind wanders, ask for repetition. We all are subject to distraction. Try to stay focused.

6) In all cases repeat back what you heard and ask if it is correct.

7) Listen to yourself. Find quiet moments and pay attention to what you are hearing from yourself. Does your body tighten up about certain issues. Body language is not something to read only in other people.

8) Say it honestly, but with consideration for the listener's feelings. Be polite, respectful and sincere.

9) Understand and acknowledge that most things are not black or white, but somewhere in a gray area. Get comfortable with gray.

10) Have integrity and build trust. Don't say what you don't mean. Don't promise what you won't or can't fulfill. Follow through with any commitments you make.

Good listening skills take practice. Specific coaching may be necessary if you find you have communication issues with your boss, colleagues, subordinates, partners or personal relationships.

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Suggestions for Further Reading

Author: Dr. Dorene Lehavi, Ph.D. is principal of Next Level Business and Professional Coaching. She coaches Professionals and Business Partners. You can purchase her ebook or soft cover editions of Stop Doing What You Hate…Start Doing What You Love at http://www.StartDoingWhatYouLove.com.