Learn how to communicate effectively

 In How to..., Personal branding, Strategic communication

People live in community by the virtue of what they have in common and communication is the way they get these things in common.

John Dewey

Everyday we send, receive and process a large amount of information. Unfortunately, a lot of them remain misunderstood and this affects our purpose. A miscommunication has disastrous results.

What shall we do? First of all, we should know that in several times, our behavior is self determined and produced by complex feelings, expressed through this type of interrogation: who should I be? What role should I play? What interpersonal transactions should I do? Well, all these “should’s” represent our values, which they form, keep and change in time. So, our actions are determined, in a considerable extent, by who we think we are. Who we think we are is influenced by the manner in which others respond to our behavior. The image about ourselves needs verification/aproval  and suport by others and often, the manner we  commnunicate contains indirect verification request of this image. Some researchers say that all of our messages contain a request for self-validation.

But not only previous experiences influence our behavior, but the meanings we attach to these experiences. Effective communication is not just an exchange of information, it is also a way to understand the “emotion” behind partners. For this, we need a set of skills, many of them acquired through exercises such as carefull listening, ability to control stress, empathy, diplomacy, all coupled with desire to establish interpersonal relationships as valuable and long term.

An efficient communication regards the following:

Eye contact

The most important factor which determine visual attention in communication is social motivation or partners disposition to communicate. When denoting cooperation, dependence, attraction, seeking social affiliation or approval, you will have a strong eye contact with the discussion partner. The same thing happens when communication is animated by anger, hostility or aggression.

Gestures

Gestures introduce you more in the mental universe of the speaker than with his words. A person with broad gestures, dynamic and highly visible is a the type of person who wants to dominate, to impose against interlocutors, to attract attention. Also, firm close hands denotes a determined person. Instead, shaking hands with your partner denotes fear. On the other hand, soft hands indicate a sensitive person, easily influenced.

Body position

Researchers have identified contraction posts that express an attitude of obedience, extension = dominance, approach = participation, rejection = no / disagree. Any change in posture has global significance that allows in real-time you  <to read> what is happening with the interlocutor. If during a conversation with someone, the two of you change positions, this is not by chance: both of you react in relation to what it is been said (has the value of a retroaction).

Therefore, for a persuasive nonverbal expression, it’s good to be aware of:

  1. Overall Appearance: Good looking, unstretched, space mobility, self-confidence, persuasion.
  2. Gestures: self-control, expressiveness, variety, involvement
  3. Image: smiling, friendly
  4. Eyes: honesty, mobility, searching for feed-back.

Verbal performance

The secret to a successful verbal performance consists in a syntax characterized by fairness and clarity, a precise, rich, relevant vocabulary, tailored to the recipient and the absence of  unnecessary words.

It is also important the flow of voice, which must be accompanied by regular rhythm, clarity in articulation, varied, natural tone and / or pronunciation and connections. Before understanding the meaning of the speech, the audience may be impressed or the opposite, irritated by sound or voice volume.

A deaf or cavernous voice, hoarse or authoritarian, delicate, stammering often can be reversed by specific exercises – chin slightly raised, the permanent control of the communication situations without to be translate into rigidity.

We should keep in mind that a precipitated verbal flow,  risk being interpreted as a sign of restlessness or nervousness and too much slowness causes boredom and sleepiness.

Therefore, we use inflections and intonations, pauses and quiet moments so the audience can watch and understand that we give more attention to a certain segment of communication.

Also, there are times that require revitalizing audience’s attention or even removing signs of fatigue.

Effective communication at work

Finally, here are some recommendations for an effective communication at work, which is, in fact, the correct understanding of the responsibilities, knowledge and expectations of its audience and verbal and nonverbal language adaptation.

Therefore, two of the most effective methods are: taking notes (attention should be focused on understanding the essential elements that are related to responsibilities and translating them into action) and adapted language so that everybody can understand what they need to do.

Message coding is different, depending on education and experience. The method to decode messages is specific to each person.

So, we have learn how to communicate effectively. What we want to achieve during communication, will discuss in a future article.

Mihaela Raluca Tudor
Sunt antreprenor, PR și strateg în branding personal. Ajut alți antreprenori, manageri și specialiști să devină mai puternici, mai influenți și mai credibili.
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