COMMUNICATION – A Key Life Skill.



  • We need to communicate to form relationships and thus it a vital life skill.

  • Communication is necessary for us to function in all aspects of our lives.

  • We cover various aspects of communication its benefits, challenges and how to assist our youth to improve their skills. 



 

Have you ever thought about how important communication is in our lives?

 

  • Communication is the foundation of all human relationship and plays a vital role in human life.

  • Communication refers to the process of exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions through speech, writing or behavior.

  • The methods used by the human race to communicate is a major difference between us and other species.

  • The importance of communication cannot be overstated.

 

INFORMATION ABOUT COMMUNICATION:

  • Effective communication is the most important of all life skills.

  • It forms the foundation of human relationships.

  • We can communicate:

    • Vocally -using voice;

    • In writing -using printed or digital media such as books, magazines, websites or emails;

    • Visually -using charts, graphs, maps or logos; or

    • Non-verbally -using body language and gestures.

  • In practice, it is often a combination of several of the above.

  • Good verbal and written communication skills can deliver understanding of information quickly and accurately.

  • Non-verbal communication can speak louder than verbal communication.

  • People listen with their eyes and ears, and pay attention to people’s posture, hand movements, and eye contact.

  • Humans communicate with others not only by face-to-face communication, but also by sharing information via the internet, radio, books, newspapers, telephone, and television.

  • In our daily life we need to communicate to deal with various concerns and problems.

  • Effective communication involves balancing both the listening to, and conveying of information.

  • Effective communication is about understanding the emotions and intentions behind the information.

  • Leaders must be able to speak, listen, question and write clearly.

  • Good communication skills help us understand others, be understood and improves personal relationships.

  • Communication is vital in family, community and business relationships.

  • When we learn how to communicate effectively it makes our lives better.

 

BENEFITS OF GOOD COMMUNICATION:

  • Research has shown that if we have good interpersonal communication skills we will be happier and more successful in life.

  • Oral and written communication skills are ranked high among a job candidate’s ‘must have’ skills and qualities by employers.

  • Developing our communication skills can help all aspects of our life, from our personal and professional life to social gatherings and everything in between.

  • Personal relationships rely on effective communication in every way.

  • Good communication in relationships builds trust, strengthens bonds and reduces conflict.

  • It helps boost our self-esteem and decision-making skills.

  • In our work life:

    • It creates positive working relationships between coworkers.

    • It improves team building.

    • It builds healthy relations and credibility with others.

    • It boosts growth.

    • It increases innovation.

    • It improves productivity.

    • It increases efficiency.

    • It increases loyalty.

    • It reduces misunderstanding and conflict.

    • It improves morale and efficiency.

Legendary investor and billionaire Warren Buffett has a tip for young people.

He states to focus on learning how to write and speak clearly.

The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now — at least — is to hone your communication skills — both written and verbal…”

 

COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES:

Barriers to effective communication are:

  • Differences in perception and viewpoint;

  • Distractions;

  • Use of jargon and over-complicated, unfamiliar or technical terms.

  • Emotional barriers -Some people may find it difficult to express their emotions;

  • Stress and out-of-control emotion;

  • Taboos -some topics may be completely ‘off-limits’ or taboo;

  • Lack of attention, focus or interest of the receiver;

  • Differences in perception and viewpoint;

  • Too many filler words and overuse/repetition of phrases;

  • Irrelevance -topics not appropriate for the audience;

  • Physical challenges such as hearing problems or speech difficulties;

  • Personal behaviour;

  • Inconsistent body language -for example, you can’t say “yes” while shaking your head “no”;

  • Negative body language -such as arms crossed over chest;

  • Physical barriers to non-verbal communication such as not being able to see body language during phone calls and text messages;

  • Too much information which overwhelms the listener;

  • Language differences and unfamiliar accents;

  • Expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotyping;

  • Cultural differences -social interaction varies greatly in different cultures;

  • Comprehension -we say one thing, the other person hears something else;

  • Little or no feedback to confirm we are on the same track.

A skilled communicator must be aware of these barriers and try to reduce their impact. It requires checking understanding and offering appropriate feedback.

 

HOW TO HELP:

Schools often don’t teach communication.

Here are some approaches to assist our youth to become effective communicators.

  • Practice Giving and Reviewing Presentations: Have the participants give presentations, do impromptu speaking and give each other feedback in group sessions.

  • Structure: Discuss the basis of good presentations which includes an opening, a body and a closing which wraps it up and then STOP.

  • Calming Nerves and Reducing Stress: Discuss techniques that can calm nervousness.

  • Know the Audience: Discuss how to find appropriate topics for the current audience.

  • Purpose: What do you want to achieve?

  • Do you want to:

    • Inform;

    • Request;

    • Influence;

    • Motivate;

    • Persuade;

    • Inspire;

    • Build relationships;

    • Learn;

    • Promote;

    • Socialize; or

    • Have fun?

  • Non-Verbal Communications or Body Language: Review the impact that the following has on communication

    • facial expressions;

    • body movement;

    • gestures -effective versus distracting gestures;

    • eye contact;

    • posture;

    • muscle tension and;

    • breathing.

  • Review and practice nonverbal communication: -examples are miming or playing games like charades and pictionary.

  • Be aware of age, culture, religion, gender, and emotional state when reading body language signals.

  • Be Clear and Concise: –how not to use over complicated or technical words when simpler words are available.

  • Storytelling: Encourage and practice storytelling. It is the most effective method of informing others.

  • Humour: Discuss how to find and use humour in situations.

  • Friendliness: Do not be too formal. Consider that you are talking with a group of friends.

  • Confidence: Discuss steps that have assisted to gain confidence. Discuss topics such as empathy, open-mindedness and respect and how they affect communication.

  • Listening: Rather than focusing on what we want to say, discuss active listening and how to practice this key skill. Listening also includes understanding the emotions the speaker is trying to convey.

  • You can find out more about deep listening at the post found at http://www.ourfutureleaders.ca/program-activities/deep-listening/

  • Distractions: -What are some distractions and how can they be avoided?

  • Interruptions: -How to avoid interrupting or being interrupted?

  • Voice: -Discuss the effect that pace, volume, tone and pitch can have on communication.

  • Engage the Listener: -What are some techniques that can engage the listener? Have them participate using those techniques.

  • Understanding: -Effective communication is always about understanding the other person, not about winning an argument.

  • Controlling Emotions: -When a conversation starts to get heated, how to regulate your feelings. Be willing to compromise. Agree to disagree, if necessary, and take time away from the situation so everyone can calm down.

NOTE:  Many of the above approaches can apply to other methods of communication such as writing.

Communication skills may take a lifetime to master—if indeed anyone can ever claim to have mastered them.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact us.

Please see the “How Can You Help?” section below.

 

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

    • Comment and Request more information in ‘Leave a Reply’ to this post.

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A PARENT’S GUIDE:

There is a guide available which assists parents and others working with youth.

The guide enables a person to be proactive in the success of a child’s future.

It contains activities to assist youth to gain critical soft skills.

They will become more resourceful and independent when they practice and gain these skills.

The guide is available from Our Future Leaders.

Request the Parent’s Guide herehttp://www.ourfutureleaders.ca/contact-us/

EVERY CHILD DESERVES A WONDERFUL FUTURE.

What are you going to do to assist children to become our future leaders?

Fred Jones

Victoria, BC Canada

Fred Jones

Fred Jones

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