Success in life and in our career is often down to the skills that we have and how we use them.
One of the most important skills is that of communication yet most of us learn this by copying the words and interactions of others from our parents onwards.
So how do we make the most of our communication skills to help us succeed?
The root of the problem
Communication has a direct impact on the quality of our relationships, both personal and professional.
But our upbringing doesn’t always give us the best skills for the job.
As we are children, we learn communication from our parents – how they speak, how they interact with us and others.
And this might not always be the right approach for later life and what we want to do.
For example, most people aren’t great at negotiating, at managing conflict without escalating it and even setting up boundaries with other people – this skill is learned in the school playground and we all remember what that was like.
Because we learn these skills in variable ways with variable success, we can develop attitudes and verbal approaches that don’t always do us well in adult life.
Communication skills to master
Recognising a weakness in ourselves is the first step to overcoming it and by looking at the types of skills required, we can consider what areas we need to focus our attention on and improve.
Listening is often given as the top communication skill which may seem strange as it isn’t communicating at all.
Yet by listening to what others say and acting on those words, we can set up better dialogue and enhance our communication skills.
Communicating with clarity and in a concise way is another great skill to master.
We are all guilty of using thirty words when ten would do and this can take time and dilute the meaning of those words.
By learning to focus on what you say in a short and precise manner, you can establish your point clearly and hold the attention of the person you are talking to.
Confidence when communicating helps you put across your message in the best way.
This isn’t being aggressive or arrogant but simply being certain of what you want to say and having the right words to say it.
Put it all together
By working on your communication skills as an adult, you can improve both your personal and professional lives.
You can learn about non-verbal communication such as body language and how to use this to build better relationships as well as simply listening to what others have to say.