Communication is often defined as the act of relaying a message to another person or persons. In theory, it sounds like quite a simple task. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the practical side of it. How many times has someone completely misunderstood something that you said? Or how many times have you been a culprit of the same? This is a far more common experience than most people would care to admit.
While there are many barriers to communication, there are a few tips that can help you improve your communication skills. The importance of face to face communication skills is obvious. Effective face to face communication may not come easily to you, but if you keep practicing, you will certainly get better at it. Here are some useful tips on how to improve face to face communication skills.
You may think that words are all there is to communicate, but your body posture speaks volumes as well. In any face to face communication experience, you should purpose to maintain a relaxed and open posture. Stand or sit upright, and face your audience. That way, you will come across as an approachable person, and people are more likely to pay attention to what you are saying. If on the other hand, you adopt a slouchy position, people are less likely to take you seriously. Crossing your arms gives the impression that you are angry, unapproachable and generally not interested in your audience or your message. Try to avoid negative body posture as it can be a huge barrier to effective communication.
A lot has been said about the importance of maintaining eye contact while talking to others, and this importance is not overrated. Maintaining eye contact shows respect for your audience. It shows sincerity, truth and conviction in what you are saying. It also opens you up to vulnerability, which in turn makes people more likely to trust you. One cannot overemphasize just how important eye contact is during communication.
If you find it hard to look at people in the eyes, then look at a point past their eyes. It gives the impression that you are actually looking at them while saving you from having to actually do it. Try to avoid looking down during your conversations by all means. Also, eye contact does not mean the same things as staring at people, which can be quite unsettling. Avoid staring at people while talking to them so as not make them uncomfortable.
Words are the medium through which you get your message across, so you ought to choose them wisely. Consider your audience as you choose your words, and only use those that are appropriate. If you are talking with a customer or client, get rid of the jargon associated with your particular line of work. If you are talking to young children, keep your vocabulary simple. Using hard words takes people’s attention from your message and instead forces them to try and make out the meanings of those words. However, if you are communicating with fellow professionals, it would be advisable to be more specific and to use as much jargon as you please. They are likely to understand you better that way.
Audibility is essential during communication. If people can't hear what you are saying, there is a good chance they can’t understand it as well. Purpose to be audible when addressing others. Let them hear your words clearly without having to struggle. If you are addressing a huge gathering, then use microphone. Just be sure that people can actually hear you.
However, being excessively loud is a definite no- no. If you are too loud, you are likely to come across as an aggressive and demanding person, not to mention that it can also be quite irritating. Remember that your primary goal when communicating is to get your message across; don't let your voice stand in the way of achieving this.
If you are using video conferencing software, you want to ensure that the quality of sound transmitted is high definition. One such software is ezTalks, whose image and audio quality is high definition. That way, your audience will have no problem getting your message.
Communication is two- way. It is the exchange of information between two or more parties. In as much as you want your audience to get your message, you should also aim at getting theirs. Don't talk all the time. Take time to reflect on what they are saying. Internalize it. Understand their point of view. And then respond. This is one of the most effective tips on how to improve face-to-face communication skills.
There is no denying the fact that having effective face to face communication skills can be something of a challenge. But if you follow the tips above, you should consistently see your skills improving. It doesn’t matter whether you are having face to face conversations physically or online using such software as ezTalks; the rules are still the same. Maintain eye contact. Make sure you are audible. Listen to the other party. Choose your words well. If you do all the above, you will have an easy time improving your face-to-face and online communication skills.