Communication is an essential part of life. It’s how we share our ideas, thoughts, and feelings with others. But, effective communication doesn’t just happen overnight; it takes practice and dedication to reach your goals. We’ll cover seven key communication goals and discuss how you can reach them.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
Be helpful, not harsh.
Be open to new ideas.
By taking the time to work on these communication goals, you can become a better communicator in all aspects of your life. So, let’s get started!
Goal #1: Listen Well
Listening is an important part of effective communication, and it’s often overlooked. Being a good listener is important because it shows that you care about the speaker and that you’re interested in what they have to say. It can also help you to build relationships, learn new things, and solve problems.
Here are some tips for being a good listener:
Pay attention to the speaker. This includes making eye contact and avoiding distractions.
Don’t interrupt. This shows that you’re interested in and respectful of what they have to say.
Focus on listening, not on formulating a response. You’ll fail to hear what they’re saying if you’re making judgments about them or their ideas or thinking about how to respond.
Be empathetic. Put yourself in their shoes, and seek to understand how they’re feeling. ***Find out more about empathetic listening.***
Active listening is a communication technique that involves showing the speaker that you’re listening by using verbal and nonverbal cues. It also includes participating in the conversation in ways that help you truly hear and understand what the speaker is saying. Active listening entails paying attention to both their words and body language. It’s a valuable skill that can help you improve your relationships, learn new things, and solve problems.
Active listening benefits from the guidance provided above in for Communication Goal #1. Here are some tips that are specific to active listening.
Summarize what you’ve heard. This shows that you’re listening and that you want to understand what they’re saying.
Ask questions. This will help you clarify what they’re saying and dig deeper, as appropriate.
Offer support. If they’re sharing something difficult, offer your support. You can do this by offering a hug or simply being there for them.
Goal #3: Be Confident
Confidence plays a major role in successful communication. If you don’t feel confident speaking up or expressing your thoughts, it can affect how successful your conversations are. When you’re confident in your communication skills, you’ll be able to connect with others more effectively, build stronger relationships, and achieve your goals.
Follow these tips to be a confident communicator.
Be prepared. Before you communicate, take some time to think about what you want to say and how you want to say it. This will help you feel more comfortable and confident.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. People can tell when you’re being fake, and it will make you less credible. Just be yourself, and let your personality shine through.
Be positive. Confidence is contagious. If you project a positive attitude, others will be more receptive to what you have to say. If you believe in yourself, they’ll be more likely to believe in you.
Focus on effective communication rather than being right or looking good. If you think you need to appear as super intelligent or win every debate, confidence will be elusive. Instead, make your goal effective communication. That’s a worthy and attainable goal.
Find your strengths. Everyone has strengths when it comes to communication. What are yours? Do you have a good command of language? Are you good at public speaking? Once you know your strengths, lean into them and use them to your advantage.
Work on your weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses when it comes to communication. What are yours? Are you shy? Do you have a hard time speaking up in meetings? Once you know your weaknesses, you can start working on improving them. It’s important, though, not to seek perfection. It’s generally wise to focus on your strengths and shore up only those weaknesses that truly impede your ability to communicate in ways you need to.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling to become a more confident communicator, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many resources available, such as books, videos, and workshops.
Gain Confidence Through Practice
The more you practice communicating, the more confident you’ll become. Start by practicing in front of a mirror, with a friend or family member, or with the free Yoodli AI speech coach. Once you feel comfortable, start practicing in more public settings such as Toastmasters.
Communicating clearly is an essential skill both personally and professionally. You don’t want to be misunderstood. Here are several recommendations to be clear in your communication, whether written or spoken.
Be specific. Avoid using vague language, and be as specific as possible.
Be concise. Get to the point quickly, and avoid rambling. This will help your audience stay focused and avoid tuning out.
Be organized. Organize your thoughts, and present your information in a logical order. This will help your audience follow your argument and understand where you’re coming from.
Use examples. Use examples to illustrate your points and make your message more memorable.
Consider your audience. What are their needs and interests? What do they already know about your topic? Tailor your message to your audience, and make sure that you’re using language that they understand and can relate to.
Don’t expect people to read your mind or read between the lines. It’s better to err on the side of overcommunicating than to leave something unsaid or unclear.
Goal #5: Be Helpful, Not Harsh
When communicating with others, don’t come across as a jerk. There are times when you need to speak difficult truths, but there are constructive ways to do it. Here are a few guidelines to help with this communication goal.
Follow the Golden Rule. Speak to others the way you want to be spoken to.
Be positive. See the best in people and their intentions. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
Be constructive, and only when it’s appropriate. Constructive feedback can be helpful and even necessary. When you give such feedback, make sure it’s in a fitting context. For example, parents, teachers, and supervisors must discipline and correct their minor children, students, and employees (respectively). Even then, there are times and places when it’s most appropriate and helpful.
Choose your words carefully. Avoid using words that are disrespectful, condescending, or insulting. Choose words that are fitting and constructive.
Focus on the behavior, not the person. Instead of saying, “You’re always late,” say, “I’m concerned about your tardiness.”
Be specific. When you’re giving feedback, be specific. Instead of saying, “You’re not doing a good job,” say, “I’m not sure I understand your approach to this project.”
Be respectful. Avoid name-calling, insults, and other forms of personal attacks. Even if you disagree with someone’s ideas, it’s important to be respectful of them as a person. (This is classical tolerance: distinguishing the person from their beliefs and ideas, and showing respect for them as a person even when you don’t respect their beliefs and ideas.)
One of the best ways to be an effective communicator is to keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas or opinions that you may not have considered before. Doing this will help foster a more productive dialogue between you and the person you’re speaking with. Follow these tips to move toward this communication goal.
Be willing to listen. When someone is sharing a new idea, be willing to listen with an open mind. Don’t interrupt, and don’t try to argue with them. Just listen, and try to understand their perspective before responding with your own views.
Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask questions to get clarity and more information.
Consider the idea. Once you’ve listened to the idea and asked questions, take some time to consider it. Don’t immediately shoot it down or belittle it just because it’s new and different. Give it some thought, and see if there’s anything you can learn from it.
Be willing to change your mind. If you’re open to new ideas, you’re willing to change your mind. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everything that everyone says, but it does mean that you’re willing to consider new information and change your opinion if the evidence warrants it.
Be aware of your own biases. Everyone has biases, and these can sometimes prevent us from being open to new ideas. Be aware of your own biases, and try to keep them in check when you’re listening to new ideas.
Be patient. It takes time to fully understand new ideas and even more time to assimilate them if you choose to. Don’t expect to change your mind overnight, and don’t feel pressured to do so.
Goal #7: Think First
We’ve all said things we wish we hadn’t. We’ve sent emails we shouldn’t have. Often, we can avoid regrettable communication by simply thinking first rather than reacting rashly or operating on auto-pilot.
What to Think About
Your audience. Consider your audience—what they need to hear, what they already know, and what they’ll understand and relate to.
Your point. Be clear in your own mind what you intend to get across.
Your purpose. Know what you want to achieve when you communicate your point.
Here are some ways to reach this communication goal, both in written and spoken communication.
In Written Communication
Draft now; send later. Let some time pass between drafting an email, letter, etc., and sending it. Review it again before you let it go. You might even have someone else review it and give you feedback.
Create an outline. If you’re drafting a lengthy communication piece, start with an outline to help you organize your thoughts.
In Spoken Communication
Slow down. Don’t talk faster than you can think. Let your words follow your thoughts and go at their pace. Sometimes, deliberately slowing down your speech is all you need to do to speak more thoughtfully.
Pause. We often tend to keep talking in an endless stream. This can lead to filler words (such as um and you know), confusing run-on sentences, ill-formed ideas, and even regrettable utterances. Pause when you need to gather your thoughts, and don’t be afraid to announce that you’re doing so in order to hold the floor and keep others from jumping in.
Be concise. Get to the point quickly, and realize it when you get there. This will help you avoid rambling or repeating yourself.
By striving to reach these seven communication goals, you can become a more successful communicator in all aspects of your life. Each of these skills will help you have more productive and meaningful conversations with those around you. So, keep these goals in mind, and practice them in all of your interactions.
Note: This post was created in partnership with artificial intelligence.
Start practicing with Yoodli.
Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.