How To Communicate Effectively With Others: 17-Step Guide

In this new article you’ll learn how to communicate effectively with others.

Effective communication is a skill that anyone can master, regardless of age, background, or experience. Some of the greatest leaders in history were also outstanding communicators and speakers.

People know the importance of being a truly effective conversationalist, which is why communication is one of the most popular university majors today. You will be able to get your message across quickly and effortlessly if you have some confidence and a basic understanding of the principles.

How To Communicate Effectively With Others:

1. Determine the most appropriate time.

As the saying goes, there is a right time and place for everything, and communication is no exception.

Late in the evening is not the best time to start a conversation about a difficult topic. Few people will be happy to be confronted with important issues such as the economy or long-term planning when they are exhausted.

Deliver messages and lead discussions on difficult topics in the morning or afternoon, when people are aware, available, and more likely to give a clear answer.

2. Begin an open and personal conversation.

Choose an ideal place, one that allows the conversation to open up, unfold, and flow freely.

If you must tell someone something that will not be good for them (such as news of a death or breakup), don’t do it in front of others, especially co-workers. By interacting with the person in a private setting, you will be polite and respectful to them.

This will also allow the dialogue to expand into a broader and more engaged mutual understanding and will allow the two-way process to work properly.

If you are giving a presentation to a group, check the acoustics beforehand and practice effective voice delivery. If necessary, use a microphone so the audience can hear you.

3. Get rid of any potential distractions.

Turn off all devices that may interfere with your conversation. If the phone rings, laugh at it the first time, then turn it off and continue the conversation.

Allowing outside distractions to cause you to lose focus is not a good idea. They will distract both you and your listener, thus ending the conversation.

4. In your head, organize and clarify your thoughts.

Before you try to share any thoughts, you should do this. If you are enthusiastic about a topic, your thoughts may become jumbled if you haven’t identified some key points to convey beforehand. Key points will function as anchors in your speech, providing focus and clarity.

A good rule of thumb is to pick three main themes and stick to them throughout your discussion. That way, if the talk gets off track, you will be able to quickly return to one or more of these three key themes. It can also be beneficial to write down points if necessary.

5. Be as specific as possible.

Make it immediately clear what you want to say.

For example, your goal may be to teach people something, gather necessary information, or take action. Things will go easier if participants know in advance what they should expect from the talk.

SEE ALSO: How To Stay Positive During Difficult Times: 10 Inspiring Ways

6. Stay on topic.

Once you have established your three key points, make sure that everything you say contributes to reinforcing the message you are trying to express.

It’s likely that useful and important sentences will stay in your head if you’ve worked through the challenges beforehand and condensed them down to the basics. Don’t be afraid to use them to emphasize important points.

Even the most confident and well-known presenters repeat their important sentences for emphasis and reinforcement. Keep your overall message simple and direct.

7. Express gratitude to the person who listened to you.

Thank the person or group for the time spent listening and responding.

Even if the response to your lecture or conversation was not what you expected, end it graciously by appreciating everyone’s input and time, regardless of the outcome of your communication.

8. Calm the listener’s fears.

This is something you should do before starting a discussion or presentation. Sometimes it can be helpful to start with a favorite story.

This will help the listener get to know you as someone who behaves similarly to them and has similar daily worries.

9. Pronounce your words clearly.

Speak at a volume that ensures you are heard, but do not appear too quiet or uninterested. Take extra precautions to pronounce key statements clearly to prevent misunderstandings.

If mumbling has become a protective habit resulting from a fear of speaking, practice your message in front of a mirror at home (1). Sometimes it is better to talk about what you want to say with people you are comfortable with. This will allow you to better absorb the lesson.

Remember that any practice and improvement in your language will help you gain confidence.

10. When you listen, be attentive and make sure your facial expression expresses your interest.

Remember that communication is a two-way process, so it is not a monologue.

Attentive listening will allow you to determine which parts of your message are reaching your listener(s) and whether they are receiving it correctly or need to be changed.

If your audience looks perplexed, it is often a good idea to ask them to repeat parts of your message in their own words. This can help you detect and correct misunderstandings about what you want to say.

It is important to validate other people’s feelings. This will encourage people to open up, and if they are embarrassed, it will make them feel more comfortable.

SEE ALSO: How To Do Something You Don’t Want To Do: 16 Quick Tips

11. Make use of a variety of vocal tones.

Because a monotone voice is unattractive to the ear, effective communicators use the tone of voice to enhance communication.

Remember to:

When moving from one topic or point to another, raise the pitch and volume of your voice. When making a specific point or summarizing, raise your voice and delay speaking. When you call for action, speak quickly but pause to emphasize key terms.

12. Recognize others.

Even if you don’t recognize the people in the audience or a new friend in the group, they nod and look at you intently. This means they are making a connection with you. So show your gratitude by thanking them!

13. Use clear, distinct body language.

Express facial expressions in an intentional manner. Use gentle, compassionate, and caring facial expressions to express passion and elicit empathy from your audience.

Avoid negative facial expressions such as frowns or raised eyebrows. What is wrong and what is not depends on the circumstances, especially the cultural context, so use your own judgment.

Watch out for unusual behaviors that may indicate a cross-cultural clash, such as clenched fists, a deflated posture, or even silence.

If you don’t know a culture well, ask questions about communication difficulties you may encounter before talking to (or to) someone from another culture.

14. Engage in eye-to-eye communication.

Eye contact builds rapport, shows interest and helps convince others that you are trustworthy.

If possible, look into the other person’s eyes throughout the discussion or presentation and maintain eye contact for a reasonable amount of time. It is important not to overdo it—maintain eye contact for about 2-4 seconds at a time, or as much as seems normal.

Remember to include all of your audience. If you are speaking to a board of directors (2), make sure you are looking each of them in the eye.

Neglecting one person can easily be seen as a sign of offense, which will cause you to lose business, admittance, success, or whatever else you are striving for.

If you are speaking to an audience, stop for up to two seconds and make eye contact with a member of the crowd before you break away and continue speaking. This will make individual audience members feel more appreciated.

Keep in mind that eye contact is a cultural norm. In different cultures, it is considered disturbing or unacceptable. Ask about it specifically or do your homework ahead of time.

15. Make the most of breaths and pauses.

Pauses have their own power. Pausing encourages your audience to take it in and listen. It allows you to emphasize key ideas while giving your audience time to process what you’ve said. It also helps make your message more captivating, as well as makes your speech easier to digest and understand.

Before you start speaking, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down.

During your discussion, start taking deep breaths regularly. This will help you maintain a steady, calm voice while also making you feel more comfortable.

Take a break from what you are saying.

16. Consider how others will perceive your gestures.

Hand gestures should be used with care.

When speaking, pay attention to what your hands are expressing. Some hand gestures (open gestures) can be very effective in emphasizing your arguments, while others (closed gestures) can be distracting or even offensive to some listeners and tend to shut down discussion or listening.

It’s also worth paying attention to how other speakers’ hand movements affect you. Emulate those who are successful and engaged. The most effective movements are those that are natural, slow, and expressive.

17. Pay attention to other bodily signals.

Pay attention to wandering eyes, hands fidgeting in pockets, constant moaning, mumbling, pacing, and other behaviors. These small gestures accumulate, all of which are sure to detract from the effectiveness of your message.

Ask someone to record your speech, then go back and watch it in fast-forward to see how you delivered it. Any unconscious habit or repetitive motion will be immediately apparent and will be entertaining. It will be easy to adjust your unintentional body language and monitor its improvement after you decide to develop a new habit.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to communicate effectively with others. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here