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Communication Skills

Good communication skills are necessary to get ahead, not only in business, but in life. Without good communication skills, many jobs are performed the wrong way, or even not at all. Think about how many times a day you communicate with people. For example, if you are a parent, you might tell your child to clean her room after school. But your child may have her own definition of clean, and when you come to inspect and her room doesn't live up to your expectations, then somewhere along the line there was a breakdown in communications. When you tell someone to do something, be certain that everyone understands their marching orders.

Clarify your own ideas before attempting to communicate them.
  1. Be clear about the purpose of the communication. For example, are you attempting to inform others, to obtain information, or to initiate action?

  2. See if the other person can repeat what you have said, in his or her own words.
Effective communication also depends on attentive listening. Do not jump to conclusions before hearing what the other person has to say, and do not interrupt. Interrupting prevents effective and meaningful communication, and can prevent the speaker from making a valid point. Imagine how you would feel if you were interrupted just before making your key point. It is up to the person communicating to use words that convey an appropriate meaning to the listener. To ensure that you have understood the communication (message) correctly, you can repeat it in your own words to the other person.

Key concepts for effective listening:
  1. Avoid jumping to conclusions and making value judgements such as good or bad, desirable or undesirable, and true or false, while the speaker is talking.

  2. Listen to the full story.

  3. Restate the other person's position in your own words.
Good communication skills involve both parties. So remember to listen to what people are telling you, and if you don't understand something, simply ask them to clarify it.
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