Ultimate Learning Guide To Excellent Communication
One of the biggest reasons people leave a job is because they feel like their voice isn’t heard. Day in and day out, they find themselves feeling belittled, insignificant, ultimately lacking the motivation to keep doing their job. They’re expected to do their job, and the only time a manager will talk to them is when something needs to be done, or when there’s a complaint.
This leads to many speculative thoughts that become the person’s reality. “The boss doesn’t care about what I do, so why should I?” “The only time they talk to me is when something is wrong, so every time they come around me, I’m nervous and I know that I messed up.” These and many other misconceptions happen and ultimately create a hostile work environment.
All of this could have been avoided if steps in creating good communication were taken. This guide will not only break down what communication is in the business world but also why it’s important to have good communication in the workplace.
What is communication?
In a general explanation, communication is the practice of receiving and sending messages through both a nonverbal and verbal method. This includes anything from speaking person to person, sending an email out, reaching someone through social media, sending a text message, or something as subtle as body language. What is your body saying to someone when you enter the room? Communication is all the behaviors, signals, and signs we give and receive between one another.
For clarity, let’s break down the four major ways in which communication happens:
Verbal is the most recognizable and direct fashion of communication in the business world. Prior to today’s technological advances, we had to solely rely on person-to-person interactions; therefore, verbal communication has become an instrumental part of business. It’s not the end-all of communication however as there is the international business world. Communications happen in many different ways.
This method of communication goes back to body language. It’s more indirect. One example of this is when you may find yourself smiling without thinking about it. Something pleasing or pleasureful happens within your vicinity. Maybe you heard some good news, or a stranger just smiled, and it made you smile. Nonverbal communication helps us understand each other’s thoughts and feelings.
This is arguably the most sought-after style of communication in the Technological Age we live in. It’s easy to send a text message, shoot out an email, or to message a message over social media. It’s become the way we communicate with one another in instant ways. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of written communication is that it keeps a record behind. This important for certain situations, such as when someone’s seeking compensation for their services, or if there’s a conflict happening between two different parties. They can also help act as a reference for people who have just started a job. Long-distance jobs rely on this type of communication.
Visual learners will find this form of communication the most helpful. This includes using graphs, charts, sketches, drawings, photographs, and art (to name a few) to transfer information. You’ll see them pop up mostly in presentations and act as a teaching aid to add context to what someone is writing or saying. It also helps to break up the monotony that can come from a dialogue-heavy presentation.
How to develop better communication skills
Understanding communications skills are important for being successful in the business world, but so is learning how to develop these skills. To help aid you in this endeavor, let’s break down the ways in which you can better develop each of these four communication skills.
Speak with confidence: This is especially important when you’re in a leadership position and are presenting information to other people. Speaking with confidence not only makes those around you attentive to what you’re saying, but it makes them believe what you’re saying. It also makes what you’re saying come off as clear and easy to follow. They’ll understand what you’re saying.
Active listening: You want to be as good of a listener as you are a speaker. Listen intently to those around you. Active listening means that you’re engaged with what’s going on and what’s being said. It goes beyond being a passive listener. In some cases, it means engaging the presenter by asking questions that pertain to the subject or expanding on something that was said.
Don’t rely on filler words: One of the most natural things we do when speaking to other people is filling in the void between our thoughts and words with filler words. They come out in the form of “um,” “yeah,” and “so.” They work fine for natural speaking scenarios, but when presenting something in a business setting, many people expect there to be an ironed out, efficient way of presenting oneself, especially when you consider that when you’re taking a certain role in a job, you’re acting as the representative of that business. In some cases, you’re the first impression people have of a particular business.
Listen to your body and notice how emotions affect you physically: Through an eight hour day, it’s only natural that we’ll feel a full spectrum of emotions (energetic in the morning, a dip in the afternoon, anxious during the middle of our shift, relief as we clock out for the day). Take a moment to notice where you feel the emotion in your body. If you’re stressed do you feel it in your lower back? How does your body react to stress? Are you short with people, going so far as to avoid people? Consider that you’re performing every minute you’re a work. This doesn’t mean that you should feel anxious and hyperaware of each step you take, but to take into consideration how you feel as the day goes on.
Be mindful of your nonverbal communication: Mindfulness is a great thing to practice in general but being mindful with your nonverbal communications is especially helpful. If you’re feeling negative emotions, it will be helpful to you to try and communicate positive body language. It can help shift your mood.
Imitate nonverbal communications that are helpful: We all learn from each other. Perhaps one of your coworkers happens to have a certain mannerism to themselves that creates a calm, comfortable aura around them. Why not imitate this? Use these positive body language communications as ways to improve on your own communications. Imitation, after all, is a great form of flattery.
Keep it simple: Have you ever had the misfortune of opening an email that was supposed to explain something you’re supposed to be doing, and it’s just one tall wall of text that takes forever to decipher? This is problematic not only because it’s a pain to deal with, but also can literally cost company money if it’s a particularly important piece of information. This is why you want to keep all written communications short, sweet, and to the point. It saves the reader a headache and allows for better communication.
Don’t worry about tone: Tone is an important component of both nonverbal and verbal communications, but it doesn’t translate well into written communications. The most common example of this is if you’re trying to tell a joke or are being playful with sarcasm. Different audiences receive written communications in different ways. Jokes and sarcasm, in particular, can lead to negative messages received and lead to unnecessary conflicts.
Don’t rush your written communications and take a moment to read over them: There are times we’re pressed for time, but you should always find time to take a moment to read over an email or a text before you hit the send button. Take the following questions into consideration as you do it:
Are you using the best words to convey your message?
Are you saying it in the most concise and informative way?
Are grammar and spelling correct?
For more important or sensitive written communications, you’ll want to ask a trusted colleague to help you out. An extra pair of eyes can help you pick up on things you may have initially not picked up on.
Get feedback on your visuals: If you want to use visual aids in an upcoming presentation, you may want to ask others for some feedback. This is especially helpful if you have coworkers who are visual learners. You want to avoid having a visual that’s too busy or confuses your audience. It’ll also help to have an outsider’s opinion on if visual communications are really needed in your presentation.
Think of your audience: It’s important to consider who is your audience when using things like visual aids. Take for example if you are going to show a pie chart of information that isn’t common knowledge to your coworkers. Be sure that you have allotted yourself time to explain what the visual chart is displaying and what its significance is to the overall presentation.
The business world thrives on communication, whether it’s from coworker to coworker or worker to customer. Good communication is important for keeping a business going. Nowadays, a miscalculated social media tweet can see things like stocks and advertisement negatively in a matter of hours. There have been so many news clips recorded of how an accidental mis-Tweet upset a specific demographic who then spread the news and in turn forced advertisers and those will stock value in a company to react almost instantaneously. Consider what this guide tells you about communication and continue to let your methods of communication evolve.
About This Communication Guide
This guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about communication from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.
The Evolution Of Communication
Technology has indeed redefined communication. People no longer have to wait for years, months, weeks, and days to receive an information or message. Today, texts, e-mails, tweets, and personal messages can reach the recipient in just a matter of seconds.
Six Types of Communication
We’re constantly communicating every moment, through various forms, channels, gestures and expressions, all as a natural reflection of our self. But while it is completely voluntary, our communication is not always conscious. We sometimes communicate without our clear awareness, leading to misleading or even conflicting expressions of our self.
Verbal Communication Skills
Effective verbal communication skills include more than just talking. Verbal communication encompasses both how you deliver messages and how you receive them. Communication is a soft skill, and it’s one that is important to every employer. Workers who can convey information clearly and effectively are highly valued by employers.
What Is Nonverbal Communication?
Nonverbal communication is the process of sending and receiving messages without using words, either spoken or written. Also called manual language. Similar to the way that italicizing emphasizes written language, nonverbal behavior may emphasize parts of a verbal message.
The Communication Process
Understanding the Communication Process can help you to communicate your message more effectively. It can help ensure you construct and present your message to the best of your ability. The process ends in a feedback loop, where the feedback you receive can help you to further improve your communications going forward.
Models of Communication
Models of communication are conceptual models used to explain the human communication process. The first major model for communication was developed in 1948 by Claude Elwood Shannon and published with an introduction by Warren Weaver for Bell Laboratories. Following the basic concept, communication is the process of sending and receiving messages or transferring information from one part (sender) to another (receiver).
Effective communication sounds like it should be instinctive. But all too often, when we try to communicate with others something goes astray. We say one thing, the other person hears something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts ensue. This can cause problems in your home, school, and work relationships.
Developing Effective Communication Skills
Steve Jobs inspired his employees to strive for perfect hardware products. Jack Welch mentored the senior leadership team of GE to new heights. Jeff Bezos is known for articulating the Amazon ethos clearly to employees and the world. All of these leaders possess outstanding leadership skills. Here are 14 ways you can improve your communication skills in order to become a more effective leader.
Problems in Effective Communication
Communication is the sending of a message from a sender to a receiver. It may sound simple, but there are many possible problems or barriers that can keep two parties from effectively communicating. Some of the problems originate in the sender, and some problems originate in the receiver. Outside problems can also interfere with effective communication, whether they are physical or non-physical problems.
Overcoming Language Barriers to Communication
We’ve already given you the most obvious example of a language barrier: people speaking languages native to different regions. But there are more subtle types of language barriers. For example, your industry or skill set may involve a lot of jargon or technical language. When you’re speaking to people outside your industry, or even outside your department, a lot can get lost in translation.
How Culture Controls Communication
Every culture has rules that its members take for granted. Few of us are aware of our own biases because cultural imprinting is begun at a very early age. And while some of culture’s knowledge, rules, beliefs, values, phobias and anxieties are taught explicitly, most is absorbed subconsciously.
Cross-cultural communication refers to the communication between people who have differences in any one of the following: styles of working, age, nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Cross cultural communication can also refer to the attempts that are made to exchange, negotiate and mediate cultural differences by means of language, gestures and body language. It is how people belonging to different cultures communicate with each other.
Types of Business Communication
Business communication might be a complicated concept, but it can bring many satisfactions for any enterprise. When a company chooses the most suitable communication form, it will benefit from better inter-departmental relations, faster execution and more clarity, inside the team. Choose your favorite form of business communication today, and get ready to improve your company’s development.
Effective Business Communication
Effective business communication is a two-way process of listening and speaking, and it’s of foremost importance in all phases of daily business life at your middle market company. Ask one hundred employees whether they’re good communicators, and one hundred will say yes. In reality, though, all of us need to improve our communication skills.
Communication Secrets Of Great Leaders
Great communicators are skilled at reading a person/group by sensing the moods, dynamics, attitudes, values and concerns of those being communicated with. Not only do they read their environment well, but they possess the uncanny ability to adapt their messaging to said environment without missing a beat. The message is not about the messenger; it has nothing to do with messenger; it is however 100% about meeting the needs and the expectations of those you’re communicating with.
What Makes a Great Leader?
“Communication is the real work of leadership,” says HBS professor Nitin Nohria, who documented the importance of persuasion in his 1992 book Beyond the Hype: Rediscovering the Essence of Management. Nohria believes effective leaders are masters of the classical elements of rhetoric, as outlined by Aristotle centuries ago. “You can reach people through logos or logic, by appealing to their sense of what is rational,” he explains. “You can use pathos, appealing to their emotions, or you can make an argument based on their sense of values or ethos.” Great leaders, he notes, “spend the bulk of their time communicating, and they know how to employ all three of Aristotle’s rhetorical elements.”
Effects of Social Media on Communication Skills
The emergence of social media has created a new avenue for facilitating daily information and communication needs. As technology grows and expands our range of communication, social media is becoming a vital tool for daily social interaction. It creates opportunity for people to interact with each other in a way that is both helpful and essential to socially motivate people. The rapid fire quick communication style that captivates the millennials and other generation has shifted our conversations from ‘face-to-face’ instances to ‘through –the-screen’ ones.
The Future of Communication
For those who are already confidently using visual content as part of their regular sales pitches, marketing and so on, what’s next? Businesses should constantly be innovating, especially in a market like graphics, where competition is rising. What future trends, therefore, should business leaders and marketers keep an eye on?
This article will take you through some upcoming trends and exciting developments that could impact the way we all visually communicate.
How Good Are Your Communication Skills?
If you want to be an expert communicator, you need to be effective at all points in the communication process – from “sender” through to “receiver” – and you must be comfortable with the different channels of communication – face to face, online, written, and so on. This is because poor communicators often struggle to develop their careers beyond a certain point. So, how can you find out how good your communication skills really are? Take this short quiz to find out.
Communication and Listening Exercises
Over the years, I’ve collected these exercises and activities from a variety of LinkedIn discussions and recommendations from trainers and business people. If you aren’t sure how to choose a team building game, view How to Choose a Teambuilding Game Infographic. If you’re looking for games to purchase, please visit Office Oxygen for a great selection of resources. Because this list of exercises has become increasingly popular, I’ve recently tried to re-organize it.
Communications Activities, Icebreakers and Exercises
These 50 communications activities, icebreakers, and exercises are designed to help participants become more aware and prepared to deal effectively with the many types of communications challenges they face every day. Each activity is designed to help participants better understand some facet of communications and gain expertise in that communications skill or competency. These activities will make participants think about communications in new and different ways than they ever did before. They will also find these exercises not only useful but memorable as well.
Best Practices for More Effective Communication
As the leaders of their organizations, CEOs are expected to effectively communicate with their stakeholders, customers and employees. Always being in the spotlight, however, requires a certain communicative skill set. You have to ensure that employees are happy and that everyone feels like they’re in the loop on key company happenings too. In essence, it’s your job to set the tone for the entire organization.
Internal Communication Strategies
Company culture can give your organization a major strategic advantage in these changing times. But what your culture consists of – goals, values, and practices – must be effectively transmitted according to best practices if employees are going to understand and act upon it. Therefore, it’s essential to focus not just on what you’re communicating but also how you’re communicating it.
Communication is critical to success in business and life. Concerned about an upcoming interview? Anxious about being asked to give your thoughts during a meeting? Fearful about needing to provide critical feedback in the moment? You are not alone! Learn and practice techniques that will help you speak spontaneously with greater confidence and clarity, regardless of content and context.
Further Reading: Best Communication Books
Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond. This book presents an all encompassing guide to improving your communication, based on the Exec|Comm philosophy: we are all better communicators when we focus focus less on ourselves and more on other people. More than just a list of tips, this book connects skills with scenarios and purpose to help you hear and be heard.
4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work–Anywhere! An excellent ‘How-To Guide’ for practicing the key skills that will help you identify and overcome communication barriers and achieve relationship success with the important people in your life–your spouse or partner, child or children, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, customers–everyone! Plus, there are Self-Review Questions and Action Items at the end of several of the chapters.
Communication Skills: A Practical Guide to Improving Your Social Intelligence, Presentation, Persuasion and Public Speaking. A few of the things this book covers: What Are The Most Common Communication Obstacles Between People And How To Avoid Them. How To Express Anger And Avoid Conflicts. What Are The Most 8 Important Questions You Should Ask Yourself If You Want To Be An Effective Communicator? 5 Most Basic and Crucial Conversational Fixes. How To Deal With Difficult and Toxic People.
7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals. This book tells the entertaining and educational story of Rick Masters, who is suffering from a down economy when he meets a mortgage professional who has built a successful business without advertising or personal promotion.
Further Learning: Best Communication Courses
Improving Communication Skills. Learn how to communicate more effectively at work and achieve your goals. Taught by award-winning Wharton professor and best-selling author Maurice Schweitzer, Improving Communications Skills is an essential course designed to give you both the tools you need to improve your communication skills, and the most successful strategies for using them to your advantage.
Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling. This course helps leaders find their own story through personal branding; develop storytelling success with all constituencies; initiate an effective voice for crisis; interact well through social and third party media; and communicate a vision for innovation.
The Complete Communication Skills Master Class for Life. This course is designed to be a one-stop shop for all your communication skills training needs. This course covers a vast array of communication needs and scenarios, from how to communicate during a job interview, pitching investors, asking for a raise, speaking one on one or to large groups.
Communication Fundamentals: How To Communicate Better. In this course you’ll learn how to use the communication process, the various channels of communication and how to recognize which channel is appropriate for which style of personality. You’ll also learn about the power of persuasion and how to utilize multiple persuasion styles, how to work and manage virtual teams, how to communicate cross culturally, and you’ll learn how to do it in a way that’s both informative and engaging.