10 Steps to Improve Communication Skills

Here are the 10 steps one can take to develop effective communication at work and in personal relationships :

  1. The first step to improving communication is listening. Listening is an important factor for better communication.
  2. Understand where the other person is coming from – what is the sentiment behind their communication.
  3. Make them aware that you’re in sync with that sentiment and understand their standpoint and then communicate what you want to communicate.
  4. Don’t give your opinions when they’re not asked for. Be a little mysterious! People should want to ask you a question to get to know you. Till then, don’t open your mouth. Unnecessarily, don’t keep saying I like this and I don’t like this. My god, who asked you? If most of your conversations go like that, people will not want to communicate with you.
  5. If someone wants to come and share something with you, be a good listener. While they are speaking, don’t counter them, saying, “I too had that experience,” and start your stories. They should not feel – oh my god, I wanted to share and now s/he is talking about her-/himself. A speaker comes to you and subtly makes you a listener; instead, you turn things around and them a listener – this is bad communication. A speaker has a deep desire to say something to you, so let them complete and then you respond.
  6. Make the person with whom you want to communicate feel comfortable with you. You don’t need to make any extra effort – if you are a good listener and you are fully present in the moment, it’s done!
  7. Being a little hollow and empty helps a lot! Many of you may have experienced this. When you’re a little hollow and empty, you communicate better, you have more patience, and you understand the other person better.
  8. Now suppose someone goes on and on and on, and you have no time; you want to cut them off and make them listen to what you want to say – you have to do it very skillfully. With a sense of belongingness, you can say, “Hey, come on, I know about this; let’s talk about…” To change the topic, you need skill.
  9. When communicating, it is important to connect on an emotional level, at the level of your heart – then communicating is easy. But if you’re connecting only through the head, then even when you say nice things, it may appear hurtful or derogatory. So, you need to be a little playful, a little skillful, and have a pinch of belongingness and a sense of caring whenever you communicate. The other person should feel the caring in your voice or your body language.
  10. Avoid showing artificial care for others. Don’t try to be nice to people. Know that you have this quality (of caring and belongingness) inside you by default. Knowing that, you simply have to bring it into expression.

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The Author Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a renowned spiritual leader and multi-faceted humanitarian whose mission of uniting the world into a violence-free family has inspired millions of people worldwide. The icon of non-violence and universal human values, Sri Sri seeks global peace through service and dialogue. He believes that “Basic human values need to be encouraged in the classroom. A child is born with these values and a teacher needs to uncover them. What are these human values? Compassion, Co-operation, friendliness, smiles, laughter, lightness, wanting to help, a sense of belonging and caring for each other."  

Through his initiatives and addresses, Sri Sri has consistently emphasized the need for reinforcing human values and recognizing humanity as our highest identity beyond nation, faith and gender. Fostering interfaith harmony, bridging communal divides and calling for a multi-cultural education as the remedy for fanaticism are a significant part of his efforts to achieve sustainable peace on our planet. Each of our institute is based on this philosophy and is imparting education to thousands, so as to create a better society.

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