What is Effective Communication?
In just one month, approximately 12,100 search queries were performed, all asking the exact same question: “What is effective communication?” Whether you are communicating in writing, having an intimate one on one conversation or addressing an audience, I’m sure you’ll agree that good communication skills are extremely valuable.
You might feel that your communication skills are not quite up to scratch. If that’s the case, no need to panic or throw in the towel – even if you are not a naturally charismatic communicator, you can still learn to communicate more effectively. With the right communication skills training and commitment towards self-improvement, you will see improvements in no time.
How to Communicate Effectively
If at this point, you find yourself asking “what exactly does it mean to communicate effectively?”, don’t worry – we’ll get to that soon. There are a few things that you can do to improve the way that you communicate. Knowing who you’ll be addressing, understanding their needs, providing information to meet their needs, and making an effort to also listen to your audience and adjust your communication accordingly are just a few things that will help you communicate more effectively.
Know Your Audience and Their Needs
To effectively communicate with an audience, you must first understand what it is they want and need to know. The same principles should be applied to all forms of communication, whether you are presenting a PowerPoint presentation to colleagues or giving a speech at your best friend’s wedding.
Let’s use this article as an example. If you see an article with the title “Mastering Communication: What is Effective Communication?” you probably expect to find a definition or explanation of effective communication, as well as information that you can apply to help you improve your own communication skills, right? If this article fails to address those points, then, needless to say, this article and its writer have failed to communicate effectively.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to facilitate effective communication:
- Who are the people that you will be communicating with?
- How knowledgeable are they on the topic you are presenting or discussing?
- Is there a significant difference in the degree of expertise among the audience members?
- What are the chances that everyone has the same opinion on the issue being discussed?
- How do they want to benefit from the discussion or presentation?
Meet Your Audience’s Needs
What is the difference between a mediocre communicator and an effective communicator? More often than not, people fail to consider their audience’s needs. However, this is something the most effective communicators never neglect to do. One way to achieve this is through the use of clarifying questions. For example, I might ask you: “Are you reading this article because you are looking for simple communication skills training tools to help you communicate better?”
If your audience or the person you are talking to confirms that you are indeed on the right track, great. However, this may not always be the case. When this happens, don’t panic. They now have the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings you may have and hopefully, you’ll better understand their needs going forward.
Listen To Your Audience
To be a truly effective communicator, you also need to understand that the connection between the speaker and the listener is ever-changing and dynamic. You need to be aware of your audience at all times. To achieve this, you need one of the most undervalued aspects of communication: The ability to listen. Not only do you have to listen to what they are saying, but you also need to pay attention to them as you speak. It is important to be aware of nonverbal reactions, as this will give you helpful feedback that won’t necessarily be communicated verbally.
Communication Skills Training – Skillsme Academy Storytelling Course
Implementing the above tips will most certainly ensure that you’ll be well on your way to mastering effective communication. But if you’d like to take it a step further, we suggest you have a look at the excellent communication skills training course by Skillsme Academy. The Skillsme Storytelling Course is led by Diana Robertson, award-winning public speaker and founder of Skillsme Academy. More information about the course can be found here.
Alternatively, if you’d like to practice your communication and storytelling skills, the Storytelling Club Storytellers Gym might be just the place for you. The online Storytellers Gym sessions work like this: Two participants will meet for a one on one session. Each person will have the opportunity to share their story and provide feedback to the other. These sessions are highly recommended for anyone who would like to boost their confidence and learn how to think on their feet.