The concept of active communication is not a new one, but there is more to good communication than just listening. What you say, how you say it, and why you say it is every bit as necessary, hence the broader concept of active communication.
One of the biggest criticisms about youth today is their diminishing ability to communicate verbally or non-verbally effectively.
With that in mind, it becomes clear why teachers are so demanding when students meet their deadlines and assignment criteria.
It is a good indicator that the student has listened and has probably communicated this information to their peers to get them on the same page.
With so many people who haven’t developed active communication skills, it becomes a real advantage to do so from a young age.
Let’s look at some common communication indicators which highlight in which spectrum the individual finds themselves.
Signs of a Superior Communicator
Undoubtedly, being a good communicator has a lot to do with their personality and how one carry themselves in a professional and social environment. Thus you will often encounter these scenarios:
- Professors call on you and often engage in class
- People gravitate to you and ask for advice on various subjects
- People approach you for extra tutoring
- Being able to empathize with co-workers and customers so that they keep recommending you
- You get good grades on written assignments and exams
- Most people say you would make a good writer or storyteller
Signs Communication Skills Are Lacking
The other side of the equation looks a bit more like this:
- You get poor grades on tests and papers
- Your class notes are always a mess
- You don’t know how to spot relevant details in lectures
- You are criticized for poor work performance and misunderstanding information
- Customers complain about your response time and ability to resolve their issues
The good news is that all of these things are fixable. It is also entirely possible that your situation is a mixture of both lists.
There is no need to worry as there is always room for improvement, and those who strive for it typically enjoy the greatest successes in life.
With that in mind, let’s look a little closer at the communication process and how you can hone your personal communication skills.
Why Is Communication Far-reaching?
Whether right or wrong, people judge you – sometimes quite harshly – by your communication skills.
The poor listener who cannot follow directions or a poor communicator who cannot authoritatively articulate even simple concepts will experience how these circumstances will always work against them in many situations.
Excellent active communication skills are vital while getting a job promotion or even presenting an academic assignment to an official faculty member.
Here is how active communication is developed and executed:
The Process And Function of Active Communication
The communication process consists of several specific steps:
- The sender delivers a message.
- That message is the information he or she wants to convey.
- The channel of communication is selected and executed (spoken word, written form, body language, text, multimedia, etc.)
- The receiver becomes aware of the message and responds to it.
The proper methods need to be implemented for the process to go smoothly.
These four are key to letting your message be adequately delivered and received:
- Engaged Listening: Also known as “active listening.” This is the process wherein one listens to understand, not merely organizes a reply.
- Nonverbal Communication: Body language is key in sending and receiving information. Knowing how to use and interpret it will make me a better communicator.
- Stress Management: Keeping emotions in check is also vital in order to provide an even flow of information without creating unnecessary conflict.
- Self-assertion: Having confidence and background knowledge on the topic creates a feeling of authority and respect and positions you as an effective communicator.
Successful Active Communication Strategies
Here are a few tips for setting yourself up for success in active communication with all that in mind.
- Don’t Ramble: Be precise in wording. Avoid going off on tangents, especially of the emotional kind.
- Leave Your Ego at the Door: This can be difficult in conflict situations, but the more you apply reason ahead of emotion, the easier it will be to recover quickly and return with a strong counter-argument.
- Be Firm But Stay Open to New Ideas: Part of active listening is understanding other points of view, even if you disagree with them. Be open to new ideas, and don’t be shy about changing personal opinions in the face of compelling evidence that suggests you might be wrong. Smart people always consider other points of view without rejecting them outright.
- Be Purpose-driven: Speak with authority, not arrogance. Be self-assured in both speech and body language.
- Know When to Back Down: You aren’t going to come out on top of every argument or interaction. Sometimes, you must step back and assess the situation thoroughly by contemplating what went wrong.
Learn From Every Interaction
Whether a communication experience is positive or negative doesn’t always matter. The failures will always teach you as much as victories.
Assess particular communication skills as an outside observer, with the absence of ego, and you will learn about yourself in the process.
The above principles can be applied to any form of communication: verbal or nonverbal, personal or professional.
Commit to continuing to develop communication skills, and you will simultaneously develop skills for success in every area of life.
How Can You Work on Active Communication?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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