Communication is the exchange of information in order to convey meaning. It enables us to understand the people around us and to also express ourselves to others. While it comes naturally, oftentimes, it’s not always as effective as we hope it can be.
As our day to day life revolves around communicating with others, it’s important to have the necessary communication skills in order to achieve our goals and have meaningful relationships, whether it be at work or in our personal lives. Fortunately, the art of communicating can always be improved upon with constant practice and communication skills training.
What is Communication Skills Training?
Communication skills training is learning how to effectively communicate in order to attain your goals through different techniques and principles. While this is usually provided for employees of customer-facing industries or those in that line of work, it’s important that businesses provide this to all employees to ensure workplace alignment and avoid misunderstandings or conflicts.
Communication skills training usually involves:
- Identifying different types of communication
- Using simple and concise language
- Learning to build trusting relationships
- Recognizing communication behaviors
- Written and oral exercises and activities
Types of Communication
Let’s look into the different types of communication that we’ll encounter in our communication skills training:
Verbal or oral communication is the primary mode that we use and happens when we interact with others through spoken words. It’s usually characterized by a face-to-face or remote conversation, such as when using Zoom or FaceTime, which has been the current norm. Other examples include speeches, television, and telephone conversations.
As much as our choice of words matter to make sure we’re being understood, they can’t always be taken at face value and usually work hand in hand with non-verbal communication, especially during in-person conversations. Even with the exact same set of words, the meaning of a message can differ depending on one’s tone of voice and body language. For example, people can say “sorry” but may not mean it even if the actual word was said as they could be looking in another direction and were saying it in a flat tone.
The best way to get better at speaking is through practice. This can also be honed through reading to expand your vocabulary, being mindful of your audience through active listening, and learning how to organize your thoughts before you speak.
We’ve all heard the saying that our actions speak louder than words and this certainly holds true when it comes to non-verbal communication. Being the opposite of verbal communication, this means that words aren’t spoken. Instead, meaning is conveyed through body language with simple actions such as hand gestures, eye contact, posture, and facial expressions.
For example, we can infer that a person can be uninterested with what we’re saying through non-verbal cues, such as constantly glancing at their watch or occasionally yawning as we speak. These can happen either consciously or most commonly by instinct.
When your non-verbal signals align with what you say, this ensures clarity and builds trust to the receiver of your message so it’s important to be mindful of your body language. Non-verbal communication can be a vital tool which you can improve by making sure to maintain eye contact, paying attention to others’ body language, and reading the context in which the communication occurs.
As the name suggests, this type of communication takes place when messages are sent through written words. It can come in the form of emails, documents, social media posts, and the like. Unlike verbal communication, the actual exchange of information or feedback may take longer than usual as it doesn’t happen simultaneously.
Written communication may not be as spontaneous as verbal communication so it’s crucial to make sure that our messages are clear and concise. Poor vocabulary and writing skills, such as your diction and sentence construction, may result in your message being misinterpreted causing confusion and conflict which we should always avoid.
As with any skill, practicing can help you refine your writing. Your peers can also guide you by proofreading your work. Additionally, it’s important to identify and use the proper tone depending on your audience and objectives.
Lastly, visual communication occurs through the use of graphical representations, such as images and symbols, to get your message across. This can include maps, infographics, logos, and signages.
The use of visuals, while not a direct form of communication between people, is also as powerful as it can complement words by providing more context and clarity. More complex instructions or concepts can be made easily understood with accompanying visuals which help get your message across clearly. For example, it’s much easier to interpret a map when it comes with a legend that briefly explains the different symbols, shapes, and colors they represent. Instead of purely using words, the graphical representations explain the relationship between certain things which makes sense of the map as a whole.
While not everyone may be artistically adept at visual design, it doesn’t mean that this can’t be improved on. Educating yourself with how different elements go well together, such as choosing the appropriate color scheme, can be learned to make readability better and to evoke the response you’d like to achieve.
Benefits of Communication Skills Training
According to John Powell, “Communication works for those who work at it.” Since it is an art form, the good thing is that it can be mastered and refined. Once we recognize the different factors and techniques that we can use from our experiences and communication skills training, applying them will gear us up for success in our work and personal relationships.
For example, having a combination of good verbal and non-verbal communication skills can help professionals boost their sales skills. The ability to clearly and confidently pitch ideas and proposals during presentations can be beneficial when trying to gain approval or close a deal. Also, the effective use of visuals, such as charts and graphs, can provide more context and give your audience a better understanding.
On the other hand, sending out well-composed work emails that are brief and on point lessens the back and forth since all pertinent information is already provided and explained thoroughly leading to more productivity and better employees performance.
EdApp is a free microlearning LMS platform which ensures that the content in your communication skills training is easy to follow and understand. It uses microlearning which utilizes bite-sized, easily digestible information in short bursts to better reinforce concepts and learner retention. You can create your courses and lessons from scratch or take advantage of the wide selection of templates that you can use out of the box or customize as you see fit.
It has a lot of helpful features as well such as Brain boost which uses spaced repetition, wherein lessons can be repeatedly delivered in increasing intervals to ensure that learning never stops. Also, you can take advantage of multimodal learning with the Canva feature which allows you to easily add visually appealing images, animations, and videos to drive interest and engagement.
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