Being able to communicate effectively with others requires people skills, and here's a few essential ones:
1. Understanding people
People not only come in all shapes and sizes, but they come with different personality types as well. You may want to brush up on how to communicate with the four main personality types by reading this article. Indeed, dedicated students of communication could do little better than purchase Bem Allen's excellent introduction to personality types, 'Personality Theories'.
People are individuals, with as many similarities from one person to the next as differences. To communicate most effectively, each will require you to communicate with them in their own individual preference style, using their language, their body gestures, and their pace and intonation.
So how do you find out how best to communicate with someone? Spend time with them! Don't expect to meet someone off the street and talk intimately with them within a minute. Understanding a subject takes time -- whether that subject is an academic one or another human being.
2. Expressing your thoughts and feelings clearly
Our brains can only take so much information in at any one time. We are bombarded with messages every second of the day, so to compete with the barrage of 'noise' a person faces, your message needs to be clear, succinct and to the point.
It is very worthwhile taking time to plan your communication -- no matter by what method it is delivered -- to ensure that you are taking the least amount of time to express the right level of thought in the most receptively simple manner.
3. Speaking up when your needs are not being met
Just as important in business relationships as in domestic ones, speaking up to ensure that your needs are met is a fundamental part of any relationship.
You may wish to read this article on assertive, not aggressive, communication, but in a nutshell there are six different ways you can be assertive and not aggressive in your communication: by rehearsing your behaviour prior to the communication; by repeating your communication (the 'broken record' technique); fogging; asking for negative feedback; tentative agreement with negative feedback; and creating a workable compromise.
Assertiveness is a useful communication tool. It's application is contextual and it's not appropriate to be assertive in all situations. Remember, your sudden use of assertiveness may be perceived as an act of aggression by others.
4. Asking for feedback from others and giving quality feedback in return
Alongside assertiveness techniques, the giving and receiving of feedback is a key communication skill that must be learnt if you want to have any hope of developing long-term business relationships. Toastmasters International teach a useful feedback and critical review technique -- first give a sincere compliment, follow this with any practical suggestions for improvement, then wrap up with further sincere praise. It is known as 'CRC', or 'Commend, Recommend, Commend', a three-step model for excellence in giving quality feedback. Remember, too, that truthfulness is a subjective view. What you may find distasteful in someone may be equally desirable from another's point of view.
The whole idea of being people skilled is knowing or finding how to bring out the best in others in any situation, rather than their worst. By mastering these eight essential people skills you dramatically increase your chances of achieving the best outcomes out of your interactions and business challenges.
SKILLS FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT