Communication Skills: the Basics

Effective communication requires active listening. But it is difficult to remain engaged, for the simple fact that your brain processes words 5 times faster than people speak them. This podcast provides many techniques which will dramatically improve your engagement and therefore understanding of what is said.

The topic of Communication Skills is a vast topic.  It includes both visual, auditory and kinaesthetics parts which can be broken down into words or body language, touch, feeling and so on and so forth.  It’s a very interesting topic and it’s something, which is very important for any executive, manager and indeed the people that work for them.

I have looked at communication skills in the past with some ideas on how to introduce people, in fact that was the very first podcast I did.  We have spoken about the tone of your voice, particularly during presentations and meetings and it is valid for other situations. In some of the listening skills which I talk about that, I am going to give particular emphasis upon people who are using English as a second language, because those people need a little bit of extra help when it comes to active listening in a language which is not their mother tongue.

Listening Skills

  • The Greatest and Easiest Gift
    • Listen Intently + Focus on Every Word
    • Genuine Interest ( A Choice )
    • Result = Feel Respected, Greater Self Esteem, Feel Important
  • Problem – Our Mouth vs Our Brains
    • Solution = Active Effort
  • 80% Listen 20% Speak
    • Speak to Clarify, Demonstrate Understanding by Paraphrasing
  • How to Improve Your Focus?
    • Choice of Words, Emphasis, Tone, Silences, Repetitions, Body Lanaguage
    • Adopt the Listening Position – Meetings !
  • Other Tricks:
    • Listen in Real Time
    • Listen with your Ears and Eyes ( Some say Heart too: No)
    • Give Phatic Feedback but Be Comfortable with Silence
    • Smile, Nod, Frown, Laugh
    • Make Notes
    • Don’t Interupt Unless to Encourage Bottom Line First
    • Pause Before Replying
  • The Above Helps Your Listening and Understanding Not the Reasons
    • Emotions
    • Feelings etc
  • Too Busy / Difficult to Be Concerned about Reasons


Questioning Skills

  • Practising Questions is Crucial
  • In English the grammar is tough !
  • It Gives others the Opportunity to Express Themselves
  • Three Types of Questions:
  • Open Ended Non Specific – “Tell me about…”, or “Describe…”
    • Encourage Speaker to Talk, to Open up and Saves Energy
  • Open Ended Specific – “Who, What, Where, When, Why”
    • Acquire Specific Information
  • Closed Questions
    • Check Understanding
  • Never Be Afraid to Ask – Don’t Ever Feel Stupid !


Gossip and/or Negativity

  • Almost Everyone Gossips at Some Point
  • But Given the Negative Connotation it can cause Upset and Disruption – Office Affairs
  • Spreading Gossip or Negative Information Creates Resentment
  • As the Boss Never be Part of It:
    • Example: Extra Workload.
    • Example: Old Colleagues.
  • Gossip can be Professional, Helpful, Accurate and not just Rumours


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