Improve Your Communication Skills - CiteHR
Bodhisutra
Manager, Operations
Sowmini
Head, Learning & Development
Nashbramhall
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Asudhir17
Agm Ehs And Project Management
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1. Developing Effective Communication Skills

2. Contents Basic Communication Principles Communication Trilogy : Giving Good Information, Gathering Good Information, and Building Mutual Trust Developing Assertive Communication Skills Seven Positive Principles for Cooperative Communication Developing Active Listening Skills

4. Effective Communication Effective Communication Productive Relationship

5. Our values The Success Sequence Our Beliefs (self esteem and self image) Our thoughts Effective Communication

6. Our values, beliefs, and thoughts The Success Sequence What we say and do Results Self-fulfilling prophecy

7. We communicate to…… Get information Motivate Cheat Praise Make arrangements Give advice Sell Greet Abuse Etc

8. Verbal, vocal and visual Verbal : The message that we deliver Vocal : The voice that we convey Visual : Our body language Communication

9. Studies tell 70 % of mistakes in the workplace are a direct result of poor communication…..

10. Causes of Communication Difficulties: Lack of information and knowledge Not explaining priorities or goals properly Not listening Not understanding fully and fail to ask questions Mind made up, preconceived ideas

11. Causes of Communication Difficulties: Not understanding others’ needs Not thinking clearly, jumping to conclusions Bad mood Failure to explore alternatives

12. Communication failures can cause….. Loss of business Mistakes, inefficiencies Lowered productivity Poor coordination and cooperation Damaged personal or company image Frustration, hostility

13. Communication failures can cause….. Dissatisfaction with others Lowered morale Loss of team spirit High employee turnover Conflict and arguments Drop in self esteem and confidence Loss of friendship

14. Premature evaluation Prejudice Inattention Stereotyping Assumption Generalizing Poor listening skills Fixed ideas Preconceptions Ignoring or distorting information contrary to our beliefs Some Common Communication Filters

15. Everything we do is communication The way we begin our message often determines the outcome of the communication The way message is delivered always effects the way message is received Basic Communication Principles

16. The real communication is the message received, not the message intended Communication is two way street – we have to give as well as gather Basic Communication Principles

17. Give good information Gather good information Mutual respect Communication Trilogy

18. Six C of giving good information Give Good Information Clear Concise Courteous Complete Correct Concrete

19. Give Good Information Use precise, memorable and powerful words Support your words with visual aids Give demonstration Provide examples/metaphors/analogies Use the other person “language” When giving information………

20. 7 Positive Principles for Cooperative Communication Soften the ‘you’s or change the into “I” to avoid sounding pushy Instead of : ‘You’ll have to….’, say ‘Could you….’ Or ‘Would you be able to….’ Focus on the solution , not the problem Instead of ‘We’re out of mild….’, say ‘I will pop down the shop for some milk’.

21. 7 Positive Principles for Cooperative Communication 3. Turn can’ts into cans Instead of ‘We can’t do that until next week’, say ‘We’ll be able to do that next week’. Take responsibility – don’t lay blame Instead if ‘It’s not my fault’, say ‘Here’s what I can do to fox that’.

22. 7 Positive Principles for Cooperative Communication Say what do you want , not what you don’t want Instead of ‘Don’t; drive too fast’, say ‘Drive carefully’ Focus on the future , not the past Instead of “I’ve told you before not to……, say ‘From now on…….” Share information rather than argue or accuse Instead of ‘No, you’re wrong’, say ‘I see it like this….’

23. Assertive Communication Make statements that are honest, clear, brief, and to the point Use “I” statement : I’d like, I appreciate, I think Distinguish between fact and opinion Ask, don’t tell Offer improvement suggestions, not advice and commands Verbally, assertive people :

24. Assertive Communication Verbally, assertive people : Offer constructive criticism, free of blame, assumptions, and ‘shoulds’ Ask questions to find out the thoughts and feelings of others Respect the rights of others as well as their own rights Communicate mutual respect where the needs of two people conflict, and look for mutually acceptable solutions

25. Assertive Communication Non Verbally, assertive people : Make appropriate eye contact Sit or stand firmly and comfortably erect Gesture openly to support their comments Speak in a clear, steady, firm tone of voice

26. Assertive Communication Non Verbally, assertive people : Maintain open, steady, relaxed facial expressions, smiling when pleased, frowning when angry Speak a steady, even pace, emphasizing key words, with few awkward hesitations

27. Manage your body language Sit or stand at right angles and on the same level, and respect people’s personal space zones Use open gestures and body language Center your attention exclusively on the other person Lean slightly forward to show interest; a bit further forward to apply pressure, slightly back to reduce pressure

28. Manage your body language Maintain appropriate eye contact while listening to encourage the speaker; increase eye contact to apply pressure; reduce it to lower pressure Respond appropriately by basing your responses on what the other person has just said Be relaxed and balanced to make relaxed and open communication easier

29. Gather Good Information with your EARs E – explore by asking questions A – affirm to show you’re listening R – reflect your understanding S – silence, listen some more

30. Exploring Questions Open Questions Open questions yield lots of information because they allow a person to explain what is most important or interesting and encourage elaboration. Probing Questions Probing questions are those that relate to the topic we want to explore further. They encourage the speaker to flesh out the details.

31. Closed vs. Open Questions When did that happen? What led up to that? Was your trip successful? What did you manage to accomplish on your trip? Did you like the candidate? In what ways do you think that candidate meets our need? Did you have a good meeting? What happened at the meeting?

32. Some Probing Questions Can you be more specifics? Can you give me an example of that? What happened then? For instance? How does this affect you? What might cause that, do you think? Can you fill me in on the details?

33. Active Listening Giving undivided attention to a speaker in a genuine effort to understand the speaker's point of view. This involves giving them your full attention and the use of verbal encouragers such as “Yes”, “Aha” and “Mmm”. It also includes non-verbal acknowledgements such as nodding, smiling and body language. Active Listening

34. Benefits of Active Listening It forces people to listen attentively to others It avoids misunderstandings, as people have to confirm that they do really understand what another person has said It tends to open people up, to get them to say more

35. 5 Active Listening Skills Paraphrasing meanings: Translate into your own words what the speaker has said Reflecting feelings: when someone is expressing emotion or feelings or looks emotional (upset, angry, excited), convey your empathy and encourage the speaker to continue Reflecting facts : briefly summarize the content, or factual aspects, of what the speaker has said.

36. 5 Active Listening Skills Synthesizing: blend several ideas of the speaker into one theme or idea. Imagining out loud: imagine what it must be like to be in the speaker’s place

37. To listen more effectively….. Attend physically – the right body language helps us to focus on the speaker and encourages the speaker to give us more information. Attend mentally – follow the speaker’s flow of thought, listen to understand, not evaluate; listen first, then assess Check it verbally – paraphrase, clarify, probe further, summarize your understanding

38. Bad Habits of Poor Listeners Interrupting Jumping to conclusions Finishing others’ sentences for them Frequently (and often abruptly) changing the subject Inattentive body language Not responding to what others have said Failing to ask questions and give feedback

39. Good Habits of Effective Listeners Looking at the speaker in order to observe body language and pick up subtle nuances of speech Asking questions Giving speakers time to articulate their thoughts Letting people finish what they are saying before giving their opinion Remaining poised, calm, and emotionally controlled Looking alert and interested Responding with nods and ‘uh-uhms’.

40. When receiving/listening feedback Listen, don’t resist Keep calm and keep breathing Let your body language show you are receptive Ask questions to make sure you’ve understood Don’t be overly sensitive , self protective or cavalier Receiving feedback

41. When receiving/listening feedback Receiving feedback Does the person offering feedback know what they’re talking about ? What other information do you have that supports the feedback? If you’re tempted to ignore it, do you have evidence that contradicts the feedback ?

42. When receiving/listening criticism Make sure your self image stays positive . Mentally examine your critic’s intentions so you will know how best to deal with the information . Filter the criticism . Strain out emotion and find the facts. Then you can respond to the useful information. Ask questions until you understand what the speaker is trying to tell you. Don’t make excuse . Listen to understand. Focus on the future : what can you do to improve?

Tips to Improve Communication Skills in English

Communication Skills:

Communication is the exchange of thoughts, feelings and ideas from one person to another by means of verbal messages, facial expressions, hand gestures and written messages. English is the widely spoken language in national and international platforms. Spanish is the most spoken language in the world though. Coming to communication skills, as the phrase suggests, it is the ability of a person to communicate in an effective manner so as to make others clearly understand your point of view.

The methods and practices of communication change accordingly depending on whether it is a personal talk or professional conversation. The study of communication techniques is itself a vast subject. To discuss each and every aspect is a very trying task. Yet we strive to make it compact and emphasize on how to improve on the professional front. Professional communication techniques help us to face the challenging and competing corporate world.

ABC of Communication:

Two main aspects are to be kept in mind before you initiate a conversation

Verbal Communication

Body language

Verbal Communication: let us start with the thumb rule of talking; THINK BEFORE YOU TALK. Consider the classic example of today’s world, an interview room with a panel of members staring at you and expecting you to answer their questions. It may have given you a mild heart attack but it indeed is not that difficult to face them, if you are sure of what you want to talk. Like mentioned earlier, think before you talk!

Choose your words carefully before you bluntly utter them. This is where you succeed in initiating a meaningful conversation. As much as you choose your words, how you use them is very important. Do not confuse the listener by too much and unnecessary talking. Make sure you express yourself clearly with minimal words as far as one-to-one conversation is concerned. This rule may change when it is a one-to-many communication like a board-room meeting for instance. In this case, the presenter needs to talk more and more depending the purpose of the meeting. So make sure you remember the statement, “what you talk and how you talk”.

Body Language: This is the second and equally important aspect of communication. While talking, facial expressions are the first things that grab the listener’s attention. So be calm and your natural self than giving artificial expressions. Gesturing with hands and body is also part of body language in communication. Study your hand and facial movements in front of a mirror assuming that you are conversing with your business client or HR. Do not over animate with the gestures and be tagged as “over expressive”. It may be taken for granted when you are having a personal talk with friends or family, but not when it is a professional level talk.

Be a Good Listener!

As much as you focus on your speech, you should try to be a good listener. Concentrate on what others are saying and be attentive. Think from the speaker’s point of view sometimes to understand what he/she is trying to say. And most importantly, stop being judgmental about the other person by orthodoxly sticking to your own views or opinions. Be open to new ideas.

Speak in English with Confidence!

First thing you need to understand about improving your English is START TALKING. Even though you are discouraged, continue to talk. Give a deaf-ear to the comments not to your willingness to talk.

Start the conversation in English with anyone and everyone you meet including strangers. At least till you gain confidence.

Take time and read good English news papers like The Hindu, Indian Express and Times of India. Please concentrate on the news items and editorial columns than gossip and film related articles. It’s a better use of your time and mind.

Watch the English news channels than regional language channels. Repeat the speed and the accent with which the reporter speaks.

One more important practice to follow is reading good books. Decide whether you want to follow British English or American English. Picks the books accordingly by consulting a good English teacher or lecturer.

Writing Effective Emails

Making Sure Your Messages Get Read and Acted Upon

Write better emails

Do people respond to your emails in the way you want them to? Or do they seem to ignore them, or miss important information? And are you sure that you're making the best possible impression with your emails?

When you compose an email message, there are some simple rules that you can follow to ensure that your emails make a positive impression, and get you the response you want. We'll look at these here, and we'll illustrate the points we're talking about with both good and bad examples at the end of each section.

Subject Lines are Headlines

A newspaper headline has two functions: It grabs your attention, and it tells you what the article is about, so that you can decide if you want to read further. Email subject lines need to do exactly the same thing! Use a few well-chosen words, so that the recipient knows at a glance what the email is about.

If your message is one of a regular series of emails, such as a weekly project report, include the date in the subject line. And for a message that needs a response, you might want to include a call to action, such as "Please reply by November 7".

Remember that everyone tries to reduce the amount of "spam" email messages they receive. If you make appropriate use of the subject line, you increase the chances that your email will be read, rather than mistaken for spam and deleted without so much as a glance.

Of course, just as it would be ridiculous to publish a newspaper without headlines, never leave the subject line blank. Emails with blank subject lines are usually spam!

Bad Example

Subject: Meeting

Hi Jim,

I just wanted to remind you about the meeting we have scheduled next week. Do let me know if you have any questions!

Best wishes,

Mark

This email is an example of poor communication for several reasons. Let's focus on the headline. As you can see, it's titled "Meeting".

Why is this a bad headline?

Well, there's no information about the meeting. If your calendar is full of meetings, you might even wonder which one Mark is talking about. And there's certainly no clarity about the subject, or when and where the meeting's being held.

What's more, the lack of specific information makes it look like a spam email. This email risks being deleted without being read!

Also, the tone of the message is that of a friendly reminder. There's nothing wrong with that, but essential details are missing. If Jim hasn't heard anything about the meeting, or has completely forgotten about it, he'll have to write back for more information.

Good Example

Subject: Reminder of 10am Meeting Sched. 10/05 on PASS Process.

Hi Jim,

I just wanted to remind you about the meeting we have scheduled for Monday, October 5, at 10:00am. It's being held in conference room A, and we'll be discussing the new PASS Process.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch (x3024).

Best Wishes,

Mark

See how specific this new headline is?

The great thing about this headline is that the reader doesn't even have to open the email to get most of the relevant information.

And the precise nature of the headline serves as a useful prompt. Every time the reader glances at his saved emails, he'll be reminded about that specific meeting.

Make One Point per Email

One of the advantages of email compared with traditional letters is that it doesn't cost any more to send several emails than it does to send one. So, if you need to communicate with someone about a number of different things, consider writing a separate email on each subject.

That way, your correspondent can reply to each one individually and in the appropriate time frame. One topic might only require a short reply, that he or she can send straight away. Another topic might require more research. By writing separate messages, you should get clearer answers, while helping other people manage their inboxes better.

If you do want to put several points in an email - perhaps because they relate to the same project - consider presenting each point in a separate, numbered paragraph. This makes each point stand out, significantly increasing the likelihood that each point will be addressed.

As with traditional business letters, each individual email should be clear and concise, with the purpose of the message detailed in the very first paragraph. Sentences should be kept short and to the point. The body of the email should contain all pertinent information (see our articles on Writing Skills and The Rhetorical Triangle), and should be direct and informative.

Bad Example

Subject: Revisions For Sales Report

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for sending in that report last week. I read through it yesterday and feel that you need more specific information regarding our sales figures in Chapter 2. I also felt that the tone could be a bit more formal. The report is going to be read by our Executive Team, and needs to reflect our professionalism.

Also, I wanted to let you know that I've scheduled a meeting with the PR department for this Friday, regarding the new ad campaign. It's at 11:00, and will be in the small conference room.

Please let me know if you can make that time.

Thanks!

Monica

Monica got a good headline in there, and she was pretty clear on the changes she wanted Jackie to make to that report.

But what did she do wrong?

Well, that second paragraph about the meeting is pretty important, and yet she lumped it into the email that detailed the revisions. If Jackie doesn't put it straight in her calendar, she'll have to remember that the meeting details were in the email titled "Revisions For Sales Report", which is not very logical.

Combining those two important communications increases the chance that either the meeting or the revisions will be forgotten. Let's look at how she could have done it better:

Good Example

Subject: Revisions For Sales Report

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for sending in that report last week. I read through it yesterday and feel that you need more specific information regarding our sales figures in Chapter 2. I also felt that the tone could be a bit more formal. The report is going to be read by our Executive Team, and needs to reflect our professionalism.

Thanks for your hard work on this!

Monica

AND

Subject: Friday 10/9, 11am Meeting w/PR Dept

Hi Jackie,

I wanted to let you know that I've scheduled a meeting with the PR department for this Friday, 10/9, regarding the new ad campaign.

It's at 11:00am, and will be in the small conference room. Please let me know if you can make that time.

Thanks!

Monica

By separating those two important communications, Jackie will be able to find what she needs quickly in her inbox.

As well as this, separating the two topics helps her keep her saved emails relevant. Once she's done with the revisions email she can delete it, but keep the meeting reminder email until the end of the week.

Specify the Response You Want

Make sure to include any call to action you want, such as a phone call or follow-up appointment. Then, make sure you include your contact information, including your name, title, and phone numbers. Do this even with internal messages. Remember, the easier you make it for someone else to respond, the more likely they are to do so!

Bad Example

From:

Subject: Proposal

Lynn,

Did you get my proposal last week? I haven't heard back and wanted to make sure.

Can you please call me so we can discuss?

Thanks!

Peter

There are several pieces of important information missing from this email.

The first thing that's missing is information about the proposal. What if Lynn got several proposals? Which one is the writer talking about? Also, did he send it by post, or through email?

Also, the writer gave Lynn no information on how to get in touch. Where is his office number, his cell number, or his business name? Lynn will have to go and find that information.

And, most critically, he didn't give his full name and title at the bottom of the mail - despite the fact that his name doesn't form part of his email address.

Good Example

Subject: Checking On Reliable Landscapes Proposal

Dear Lynn,

I just wanted to check that you have received the landscaping proposal I emailed to you last week. I haven't heard back and wanted to make sure it went through.

Can you please call me by Thursday so we can discuss? This is when our discount offer expires, and I want to make sure you don't miss it!

The quickest way to contact me is by cell phone.

Thanks!

Peter Schuell, Owner

Reliable Landscaping, Inc.

555.135.4598 (office)

555.135.2929 (cell)

Peter has now given Lynn all the information she needs. She knows he emailed the proposal last week, that he'd like her to call him by Thursday, and that she should use his cell phone to make contact quickly.

Most importantly, Peter included his name and title, so Lynn knows who he is, and put his contact information at the bottom.

Using EOM Headlines

When you have a very short message to convey, you can use the EOM, or End Of Message, technique.

This is possible when you can put all the relevant information in the subject line, followed by the letters "EOM". This lets the recipient know that he or she doesn't even have to open the email; all the information is right there. The subject line is the message!

Example

Subject: 10/5 Meeting, 10am, Conf. Rm. A, On PASS Procedure EOM

Be a Good Correspondent

Make sure that you go through your inbox regularly and respond as appropriate. This is a simple act of courtesy and will also serve to encourage others to reply to your emails in a timely manner. If a detailed response is required to an email, and you don't have the time to pull together the information straight away, send a holding reply saying that you have received the message, and indicating when you will respond fully.

How frequently you should check your mail will depend on the nature of your work, but try to avoid interrupting a task you're working on to check your mail, simply because you wonder if something interesting has come in.

Always set your Out of Office agent when you're going to be away from your email for a day or more, whether on leave or because you're at meetings.

Internal Email

Internal emails, just like other emails, should not be too informal. Remember, these are written forms of communication that can be printed out and viewed by people other than those for whom they were originally intended! Always use your spell checker, and avoid slang.

Dear Mohal, Good post. Helpful This Remind of the SECRET book. Keep sharing Regards, Sudhir
If I am right, the above piece on Writing Emails is a copy from Writing Effective Email - Communication Skills Training from MindTools.com
I found a good ppt presentation of contents of the first post at Communication Skills
And the sources should have been acknowledged.

Mr. Simhan...let us first of all acknowledge Harpreet for this post.
All of us might not get visit all sites to gather articles and resources, but all of us certainly log into CITEHR in search of good materials. That way we should be thankful to Harpreet for this post, what if it is a copy?
Thanks many, Harpreet. It is certainly interesting and useful.
Sowmini.

Dear Sowmini,
Thank you for asking the question. There is nothing wrong if it is a copy, provided the source is acknowledged. A better way is to post extracts and refer the bloggers to read it. For an example, please see my post at https://www.citehr.com/438195-ask-re...ml#post1983518

Yes. For anything you quote which is written by someone else, the correct professional practice is to always acknowledge the source.
This discussion thread is closed. If you want to continue this discussion or have a follow up question, please post it on the network.
Add the url of this thread if you want to cite this discussion.






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