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Your Communication Style

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Your Communication Style

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
The importance of good communication skills in both career and personal life cannot be overstated. Following are some signs of poor communications skills:

* You listen with "half an ear" because you are thinking of what you are going to say next.

* You start conversations with people even when you know it is not a good time.

* You let your mind wander to other topics when the conversation is not very interesting.

* You slouch or lean back and don't bother to maintain eye contact.

Four core competencies are required for good communication, defined below:

Verbal skills. Good verbal skills assure that the content of what you are saying conveys your intention and meaning. These include:

* Careful choice of words for accuracy, and to avoid putting the other person on the defensive

* Paraphrasing what the other said in order to check for understanding

* Reflecting emotional content to avoid any misunderstanding of emotional overtones

* Using "I statements"

* Summarizing

Nonverbal skills. Nonverbal skills include eye contact, body posture, how close you stand, and facial expressions. It is thought that over 80% of communication is nonverbal. When a person's verbal and nonverbal messages are in conflict, generally the latter is more honest - it is easier to falsify verbal than nonverbal messages.

Asking questions. This skill is critical to getting additional information, as well as checking to make sure you understood the person correctly and they understood you. Avoid leading questions. Use open-ended questions (e.g., How do you feel about what I said?) rather than closed-ended questions (e.g., Are you angry about what I said?) - except when you are looking for a yes or no answer.

Active listening. This means being fully focused on what the other person is saying, and conveying that attentiveness to them with eye contact and encouragement such as head nodding and voicing "mmm-mmms." It means being careful not to let your mind wander or rehearse what you are going to say next.

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