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7 Steps to Effective Communication

By Sheila Dicks
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The success of any business or organization depends largely on how effectively the members communicate. The ability to speak well is a minimum requirement of some businesses when hiring. Whatever the job, business professionals require extensive use of oral communication when carrying out their duties.

Effective communication involves:

Listening: Good listening skills and showing a genuine interest are attributes of a successful communicator. Sales associates who actively listen to customers inquires and complaints are more able to solve problems and gain customer loyalty.

Use Names: When meeting people make sure you hear the person’s name and use it right away so you will remember it. If you are not sure what the person said, ask him/her to repeat it.

Get to the Point: Show value for people’s time by being as concise as possible when giving information. Do not give lengthy, unnecessary details and don’t make excuses for your mistakes. Answer the question and give important information only.

Let Others Talk: Don’t be a person who does all the talking. What you are saying may be of interest to you only. Keep the other person in mind, giving him/her a chance to be a part of the conversation. Look for signals that you may be boring your listener and ask questions to involve them in the conversation.

Non-verbal Language: Nine-five percent of our communication is non-verbal, which includes: eye movement, tone of voice, posture, facial expressions and hand gestures. When talking to someone keeping eye contact without staring shows a sense of confidence. Be aware of non-verbal communication and keep it consistent with your message.

Vocal Cues: Do not use an excessive amount of ‘filler’ words (sayings or words repeated often), sounds such as “uh, um” or use lengthy pauses during conversation. The listener will lose interest in what you are saying and will become bored.

Create an Atmosphere of Openness: To establish a good relationship with customers and create a comfortable atmosphere be attentive to the number of interruptions. Give your customer/acquaintance your undivided attention by not keeping physical barriers (such as desks) between you. Avoid trying to communicate in a busy area and keep your focus on the listener.

About the Author
Sheila Dicks is a wardrobe and image consultant who teaches women how to improve their image and how to look slimmer by dressing to suit their body type. Visit her at (http://www.sheilasfashionsense.com) to download a copy of her e-book Image Makeovers and get How to Build a Wardrobe free.