We meet two kinds of people in this life: Those who walk into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” And those who walk in and say, “Ahh, there you are.”
The ability to communicate in so many modes is unique to humans on earth. Effective communication is rarely taught and even more rarely learned in our society.
Communication is a door to financial wealth, loving relationships, and all that is good in life. Communication is the most talked-about and least understood area of human behaviour.
Competence in oral communication — in speaking and listening — is prerequisite to students’ academic, personal, and professional success in life. Indeed, teachers deliver most instruction for classroom procedures orally to students. Students with ineffective listening skills fail to absorb much of the material to which they are exposed. Their problems are intensified when they respond incorrectly or inappropriately because of poor speaking skills. Students who cannot clearly articulate what they know may be wrongly judged as uneducated or poorly informed.
Additionally, some speech styles of students can trigger stereotyped expectations of poor ability: expectations that may become self-fulfilling. Of equal concern, students who are unable to effectively ask for help from a teacher will not receive it, and typically reticent students’ progress more slowly despite what may be a normal level of aptitude.
Beyond the confines of school and colleges, oral communication competence can contribute to an individual’s social adjustment and participation in satisfying interpersonal relationships. Youngsters with poor communication skills are sometimes viewed as less attractive by their peers and enjoy fewer friendships.
Anti-social and violent behaviour often accompany or occur with under-developed social and conflict management skills. On the positive side, the ability to communicate orally supports sound psychological development. One’s self concept is acquired through interaction with others.
In psychological terms, achieving self-actualization involves communication activities such as making contributions in groups, exerting influence over others, and using socially acceptable behaviour.
As individuals mature and become working adults, communication competence continues to be essential.
Given the importance of the ability to communicate competently, the communication discipline should be viewed as central on school/college campuses. Humans are born with the ability to vocalize; but not with the knowledge, attitudes, and skills that define communication competence. The ability to communicate effectively and appropriately is learned and therefore must be taught.
There are numerous articles, commentaries, and publications, which emphasize the importance of communication and the role of the study of communication in contemporary life. These include the role of communication education in developing the whole person, in improving the work of education, in advancing the interests of society and in bridging cultural differences, and in advancing careers and the business enterprise.
Here are 12 ways which you can make as everyday habits and exercises to improve your communication skills and social intelligence:
1. Listen more to others. Do not react. This will make you an outstanding listener.
2. Count the number of times you interrupt other people especially with cultural differences.
3. Expand your vocabulary .Your vocabulary really does make a difference.
4. Take care of your pronouns. Do you like to talk about yourself? You’re normal! Limit your use of “I”; cut down on “I” talk and use “We” talk instead.
5. Practise using the words “Thank you”. Gratitude effects mental health.
6. Refine your voice and speaking style.
7. Focus on behaviour, not character.
8. Understand how different generations communicate. You will encounter different generations at work; learn how to communicate with them.
9. Master the art of communicating using e-mail.
10. Stop putting yourself down. Conquer the self-depreciation habit.
11. Learn the art of taking advice.
12. Put together a persuasive message.
This is sure to change the way you communicate. A first step to a new success!
Dr Lucy Gabriel Chattopadhyay is an international broadcaster at the World Service of AIR Delhi, and a visiting faculty at several universities, tuning voices and coaching young minds on leadership, journalism and communication.