8 communication skills that are the most effective and the easiest way to do them

8 communication skills that are the most effective and the easiest way to do them
Photo by charlesdeluvio / Unsplash

Throughout my career, I have seen many mistakes made due to poor communication, from small details to people having fundamental misunderstandings. When communicating on a team, the most significant danger is the illusion that you "think" you spoke with someone. But they heard something different from what you meant or weren't listening. For these reasons, I wanted to share some thoughts on how to improve our communication.

"The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place at all." - George Bernard Shaw.

Save time, money and stress with effective communication.

Effective communication is essential at work because it helps to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively, and that team members can collaborate and support one another.

Effective communication can also help build trust and positive relationships among team members, improving overall job satisfaction and productivity. Clear and open communication can help resolve conflicts and prevent misunderstandings, saving time and resources.

Effective Communication Master Series

Effective communication is complex.

The reality is that effective communication can be challenging for several reasons. One reason is that people often have different communication styles and preferences, which can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Additionally, people may have different levels of understanding or knowledge about a topic, which can make it challenging to communicate effectively.

Another reason is that people may have biases or prejudices that affect their ability to communicate effectively with specific individuals or groups. Additionally, people may be under stress or pressure, making it difficult to focus and communicate clearly.

Language and cultural differences can also make communication difficult. For example, people may have different ways of expressing themselves and may not be familiar with the idioms and expressions used by others. Furthermore, people may have different expectations about the level of formality or directness appropriate in a given situation.

Finally, people may not have the skills or training to communicate effectively, such as active listening, giving and receiving feedback, or communicating through different mediums.

Effective communication can be challenging due to various factors, including individual differences, cultural differences, and lack of skills or training.

Communication is so fundamental to work that McKinsey has some powerful insights from a report they conducted - well-connected teams see a productivity increase of 20–25%.

"The art of communication is the language of leadership." - James Humes.

8 Communication skills that work and how to do them

Communicating effectively at work involves several steps, including:

  1. Preparation: Before communicating, take the time to think about what you want to say, who you will be saying it to, and what the purpose of the communication is. This thoughtfulness will help you to organize your thoughts and present them.
  2. Active Listening: Listen actively to the person you are communicating with, paying attention to what they are saying and asking clarifying questions if needed. This attention will show that you are engaged and interested in what they say and will help you understand their perspective.
  3. Clarity: Speak clearly and use simple, direct language when communicating. Avoid jargon or technical language that may be difficult for others to understand.
  4. Empathy: Try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and understand their point of view. This empathy will help you to communicate in a way that is more effective and considerate of their needs.
  5. Confirm Understanding: After communicating, confirm that the message was understood correctly by asking questions or repeating the key points.
  6. Feedback: Encourage and accept input; it is crucial to understand if the message was effectively conveyed and what can be done to improve it next time.
  7. Adaptation: Be open to adapting your communication style to suit the needs of the person or group you are communicating with. This style may involve using different mediums, such as email or video conferencing, or adjusting formality or directness.
  8. Practice: Communication is a skill, and like any other skill, it takes the approach to improvement. Be mindful of your communication style, take notes and adjust it as needed.

Following these steps can improve your communication skills, leading to better relationships, increased productivity, and overall success.

"The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply." - Stephen Covey.

My Favourite Three Books on Communication

I recommend three books if you want to go deep into effective communication.

A World Without Email: Find Focus and Transform the Way You Work Forever (from the NYT bestselling productivity expert): Cal Newport

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action: Simon Sinek | Simon Sinek

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It: Chris Voss | Tahl Raz

"Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life." - Brian Tracy.