Do you think good communication is important? Most people decide about new people in a few seconds. Our minds unconsciously say, ‘I like you’ or ‘I’ll avoid you’. It seems against the odds. However, we may be progressing; there arise more and more questions about what makes good interpersonal communication.

Nowadays, being a good communicator is quite a topic. Good communicators really listen to people and take in what is said. They maintain eye contact, have a relaxed body language, but they seldom interrupt others. They wait for a suitable opportunity when they want to clarify something.

Specialised books are being published, target audiences for training programmes are organised and so on. So, what do you think makes you a good communicator? Fluency in the language, a sense of humour, or a stunning appearance?

Here is some advice to start communicating effectively, based on the publications and recommendations of opinion leaders.

1. Make eye contact

To start with, you want to look the other person in the eye to demonstrate that you focus on them and the conversation. However, be sure not to gaze, which may be perceived as being rude. Eye contact may help you to understand – within certain limits, what is going on in your conversation partner’s mind. What can you tell, if they frown, when they are keeping their distance?

2. Speak with confidence

Confidence shows you believe in what you say and that you will come through. Persuasiveness makes that you can compel your listeners. Avoid making statements sound like questions and try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Consider what you want to say before you speak your mind, this will prevent you from talking too much.

3. Less is more

Good verbal communication implies saying just enough – don’t talk too much or too little. State what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person or on the phone. If you ramble on, consider small talk at occasions. This may help you to gain some extra practice in how to properly present your thoughts and ideas. E.g., start on a Monday morning with a quick “I hope you enjoyed the weekend”.

4. Feedback makes perfect

Listen to the feedback you receive, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue. Every time, when you repeat what your interlocutor has said, you accentuate that you are listening attentively, but the main thing is not to overdo this. On the other hand, you should be able to accept and even stimulate feedback. Then, make an effort of implementing this feedback.

5. Gone are the gadgets!

In personal conversations, you should put your smartphone away. This device may distract when you talk to a person. With the phone in front of you, it is hard to avoid any distractions and stay focused on the conversation. People will be more likely into communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas.

6. Face your audience

By the reaction of your audience, you can find out what they like to hear from you. Do mind your vocabulary and your way of speaking in each setting. You should always consider with whom you are talking if they are a toiling person you might want to convey your message through email. People who appreciate your thoughtful approach will be more likely to respond positively to you.

7. Just think straight

A good communicator should go into a conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be receptive to the other party’s point of view, rather than just getting your message across. When you disagree with someone, it is important to understand and respect their point-of-view because when you keep pushing, your listener will most likely tune you out. Using a phrase such as, “I understand where you are coming from”, builds report and demonstrates respect.

8. Listen up!

Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be an effective communicator. No one likes to talk with someone who does not focus on the conversation. If you’re not a good listener you need to start with active listening, which involves asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding, “So, what you’re saying is…”. Through active listening, you can respond appropriately.

If you feel awkward in talking with others, it does not mean that you cannot become a convincing speaker. It is just a matter of developing some communication skills.

We hope that our selection of tips is helpful to you. But in order to make it work, you cannot stay idle. On the next occasion: do speak up!