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´╗┐Misunderstood: Developing Effective Communication Skills


Communication has been part of our civilization for so long that it is hard to fathom why some people still fail to understand each other. Everyday, people continue to make mistakes because of misunderstanding. Everyday, people fight and argue because they misinterpreted what the other person was saying. Messages get garbled because people lack effective communication skills.

Effective communication skills, unlike what some people might claim, do not come inherently to each of us. Effective communication skills are not fixed from birth. Sure, some people may be born with disabilities that prevent them from communicating in the way others do, but the effectiveness of the way they communicate can be nurtured through different ways.

If people with disabilities can develop effective communication skills, why can't you? Here are a few tips that you can use to develop effective communication skills:

1) Understand the power of perception - The way you perceive a message to be may not necessarily be shared by others. You need to see the message you are trying to send the way others would perceive it. Here is an example:

Opening a gift - In America, people like to open their presents in front of the person who gave it. This way, they can show their appreciation for that gift. In other countries, however, they would wait for the guest to leave, then open the presents. This is not a show of disrespect, but it is to prevent people from seeing the disappointment on the receiver's face if he/she does not get what he/she wants. The way we interpret the actions of other people vary greatly from person to person. This means that generalization is the last thing you want to do. Developing effective communication skills demands understanding.

2) Pay attention to details - In order to develop effective communication skills, you need to understand the importance of details. Small details can sometimes change a whole message. One example of this is the comma. It's a little detail in a whole sentence, but when used in terms of finance, one mistakenly placed comma can cost you a lot of money.

This is also true in terms of non-verbal communication. Gestures like handshakes have little details from which a person can judge its sincerity. If you do not want to be misunderstood, make sure that you pay attention to the details.

3) Know before you speak - People pay little attention to the meaning of words. This is the main reason why language continues to deteriorate today. In order to have effective communication skills, you need to learn the meaning of a word before you use it. This does not mean just looking it up in a dictionary, you need to learn if a word has different meanings based on context.

This also goes true for non-verbal communication. In order to develop effective non-verbal communication skills, you need to learn the meanings of symbols before you start sending them out. This means you have to watch what you wear, the gestures you make and other things that may be considered as non-verbal communication.

4) Practice - Remember that knowing these tips for effective communication skills development can only be useful if you use them. Development comes with practice. If you are not confident enough to apply your skills yet, you can also try speaking in front of a mirror. This could help you realize what a person sees when you are trying to communicate. Correcting your mistakes will ultimately lead to you having effective communication skills.

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