Enhancing communication skills

Being inspired by a book I read recently I’ve decided to share some tips for those who want to improve their communication skills.

In my opinion, effective communication is a must for those who work with people, which means that it applies to both teachers and teacher trainers. We are supposed to listen to our students, help them build confidence and express themselves promoting healthy curiosity and cooperation with their group mates. Our students spend quite a lot of time interacting with us, their trainers, each other, i.e. their peers, and with their students. What is more, we all have to build up personal relationships with colleagues, friends and family members. How can we become better communicators?

We may look at developing communicative skills from different perspectives but it is the ability to negotiate and set boundaries that can help us be clear and understood. It’s like a game with well-defined rules so that they are easy to follow and we can really enjoy it.

According to Waldman and Newberg good communication skills can be taught. They suggest taking some simple practical steps:

  • A calm present, and silent mind is crucial for good communication.
  • Improve your communication and your brain functioning through positive thinking. 
  • Identify your inner values, and let them guide your actions and communication.
  • The best facial expression to have when entering a conversation is one that conveys interest and kindness, and encourages trust.
  • To really hear and be heard, say less, speak slowly, and listen deeply.

All in all, effective communication can be achieved through some clear and practical steps. That involves learning to be more present and approaching conversations with a positive attitude.  It is also important to pay attention to what other people’s facial expressions are so that you can respond appropriately.

If you are interested in learning more about effective communication, you may well find the following books useful:

  • Dawson, R. (2010). Secrets of power negotiating: Inside secrets from a master negotiator.
  • Ertel, C., & Solomon, L. K. (2014). Moments of impact: How to design strategic conversations that accelerate change.
  • Waldman, M., & Newberg, A. (2012). Words can change your brain.
  • Wheel/Weiser.Rich, C. (2013). The Yes Book: The Art of Better Negotiation.