Communication skill builders, in the broadest respects, are tools meant to improve communication on many levels. From conferences to booklets to comprehensive multi-series modules, there are hundreds of ways businesses are seeking to build the communication skills of their employees to garnish or sustain higher personal and team levels.
But of all the various principles, the dominant feature is a simple notion that is easy to remember, but harder to execute. What is it?
Effective Listening Skills
Listening is the most important foundational component to effective communication, as it is invaluable in every kind of relationship. With practice, it is a powerful tool that can disarm hostile environments and facilitate more comfortable discussions, as it fosters clarity, understanding, trust and then buy-in.
That said, there are many other components to good communication and no shortage of tips that can help you build your communication skills. The website, www.helpingmanagerscommunicate.com, breaks down communication into five main categories within which they present their skill builders:
Let’s take our own look at each of these categories of communication and ways you can go about improving your skills in each.
Interpersonal relationships are foundational for any meaningful bond, as they bear so much potential for the free exchange of ideas and trust between colleagues.
To improve your interpersonal relationships, focus awareness in the following areas.
- Listening: Work on shedding the opinions you are predisposed to; reserve judgment until you’ve heard the person’s point in its entirety.
- Speaking: Be more aware of what and how you are trying to communicate.
- Body language: furrowed brows and crossed arms are just a few negative signals you can send.
Once strong interpersonal skills are cultivated, then comprehension and process skills can be developed.
Comprehension communication is about helping team members learn. It involves the facilitation of dialogue and writing. It is being persuasive, being a coach and being able to present ideas in a group exchange.
To build your comprehension skills, work on:
- improving grammar and spelling,
- being able to make points clear to employees and colleagues,
- keeping material interesting which enables better information retention, and
- organizing thoughts in a presentable, easy-to-digest format.
Collective communication skills also require clarity, but less for the sake of instruction and more for the sake of leading the team towards the goal.
To bolster your collective communication skills:
- Write e-mails clearly: stay away from vague and sarcastic language and be as direct as possible.
- Be forward-moving and open-ended during brainstorming sessions.
- Resolve conflict in a timely, fair manner.
Process is about the way the work gets done. By improving process communication, meetings can have greater impact. Try something as simple as nixing the jargon of business-speak.
Charts and numbers are important but can be dry and hard to remember. Tell a few stories alongside the cold facts. They will be easier to remember and not just part of another forgettable monologue.
Communication in leadership is about communicating change and motivating staff towards the change. Leadership needs to be able to talk through and frame changes. That means keeping communication lines open, while addressing resistance and concerns.
Communication skill builders in the area of leadership help you to understand exactly what truly motivates your employees. There are such things as false motivators, and skill builders help you identify them.
Motivations are multi-dimensional and very much a part of what makes each person tick. They vary from individual drivers like external goals—such as financial, career and creative challenges—to internal drivers like personality and communication types.
Teams, as a whole, have group motivations as well, and understanding their unique characteristics gives you insight into what truly motivates them.
But more than anything, if any one principle among these communication skill builders sticks, let it be this one: Keep listening and remember: ‘Interpersonal listening is a contact sport’.