By Paul Barton

Want more effective communication skills? Here are five effective communication skills tips to remember:

(1) Apply ALL the tools of communication -- not just the words. Your image and the way you are seen by others, your attitude, posture and tone of voice all combine to communicate for you. Some studies show these factors convey more real meaning than the actual words you use. Effective communication skills require using these tools.


(2) Understand the critical role that "human needs" play in the effectiveness of your communication. Your success will depend, in large part, on the degree to which your communication agrees with or threatens those needs -- things like the "basics" of food, shelter and clothing, as well as safety, belonging, ego-status and self-actualization -- all terms many of us learned in Psychology 101, but might have long forgotten. Failing to take them into account can severely hamper effective communication skills.

(3) Plan your communication. It doesn't matter whether you're talking to 1 person or 100. If your communication is important, then it is worth thinking it through and doing it right. Consider both what you want to accomplish and the needs and interests of the others.


(4) Send your message in a way that leverages your verbal and non-verbal resources -- such as clear enunciation, message-punctuating hand gestures and facial expressions. Again, these additional communication tools can add real meaning to and understanding of what you are saying. One of the most effective tools for effective communication is repetition. The "three tells" approach is a powerful way to accomplish this: (1) Tell them what you're going to tell them. (2) Tell them. (3) Tell them what you told them. Don't try to make one communication do too much. One major "take away" message and two or three support points is a good rule of thumb.

(5) Explain and encourage in order to persuade. If you are seeking action or an attitude change on the part of the other person, be sure to explain and back up what you are saying. Think of ways to make it easy for the other person to agree to do what you want.

Effective communication skills: These five tips will help you put them to work for you.

Author's Bio: 

Paul Barton, former Director of Corporate Advertising Programs at IBM and author of several books and articles about communication, is a consultant and coach of effective communication skills.