What are the Keys for Effective Communication?

“First seek to understand, then to be understood”

- Stephen Covey (author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”)

Key to Effective Communication

Effective communication involves a lot more than just speaking clearly to your audience without nervously stuttering or writing an email without any spelling mistakes.

Read on to learn about the keys for effective communication:


Probably the mosListening for effective communicationt important thing you should learn from this article is that in order to be a “super communicator” you must be a super listener. Effective communication has more to do with listening than any other thing. By this we mean REALLY listening: paying attention and caring for the other person’s needs so that you make sure your message (which can be a simple “uh-huh, I see what you mean.”) is relevant and helpful for them.

Some scholars call this “active listening”, which entails more than just scanning what you’re hearing for something that relates to a story YOU want to tell. Active listening shows that you genuinely care about what the other person or audience feels or thinks, and you can prove this by doing things like:

  • Give reassuring sounds and phrases, like “I see”, “aha”, “hmm, I understand”
  • Ask questions to clarify the issue and show your interest, and
  • Restate the issue to make sure you understood correctly and show that this is important to you.

Body Language:Body Language for Effective Communication

If you’re trying to come across as an assertive speaker but your hands are shaking, your voice cracks and your eyes are bouncing from one place to another, you can pretty much kiss that image of yourself goodbye.

Also, if you’re trying to make something sound really serious but you look like you’re about to burst into laughter, while twirling your hair around your finger like a 7-year old, nobody is going to take you seriously either.

Make sure the rest of your body is delivering the same message that comes out of your mouth.

And when you’re the one listening and can see the person who is doing the talking, pay attention! That person is sending out clues that well help you uncover the whole truth behind the story!

Emotional awareness:

nervous_barrier to effective communicationIt’s important to be aware of the emotions and attitudes that one is displaying when in the presence of someone else, too. Are you feeling nervous? Did you just hear something that made you angry or sad? How is that affecting they way you are delivering your message?

This is not about having to have a “poker face” during your entire conversation. It is about being aware of your thoughts and feelings so that you’re certain they do not get in the way of the message you are trying to communicate.

It is OK if, say, a particular story makes you sad and a little teary-eyed but if you’re sobbing uncontrollably others might become more concerned with making you stop than with what you have to say. Don’t distract them from what you consider is the really important issue.

Common language:common language for effective communication

Trying to ask for directions to a farmer in Italy when you only speak English and the farmer only speaks Italian constitutes a problem, for sure. But sometimes both people can speak the same language and still not understand each other’s words.

Make sure you only use slang or professional jargon if you are 100% sure everyone that is listening (or reading) can understand your words. Also, if you have a heavy accent that is unfamiliar to those around you, try to speak just a little slower…and stop talking and ask what is wrong if you start getting any puzzled looks!

Show some respect!

Make your mother proud and show some good manners when you speak AND when you listen.

Try your best to not interrupt, insult, scream, burp, pick your nose or teeth, roll your eyes, or make fun of the other person (although best friends can sometimes put up with a little teasing!).

You would be surprised to know how many people do not find these suggestions so obvious.

Continue on to these helpful posts to keep learning about how to communicate effectively:

In the end, the key to effective communication really boils down to listening. Listening with your whole body. Listening to what others have to say, but also to the clues that give insight to their thoughts and emotions as expressed in their body language or tone of voice. Also, listening to your own self and to what you are experiencing while you are communicating.

By being an active listener you can reduce misunderstandings and improve the chances that when it is your chance to speak, your message is heard and understood…as you wanted it to be!



Wikipedia.com – Active Listening

5 Responses to “What are the Keys for Effective Communication?”

  1. Richard says:

    Nice job, it’s a great post. The info is good to know!

  2. Jamie Love says:

    I once worked for a company that employed independent contractors and we offered some basic sales training for them. One of the things we mentioned was rapport and how it was so important to at least have something in common with your prospect before jumping on them to purchase from you. One particular gentleman got very hung up on this and for the next 3 years kept mentioning how he was going to get some of that rapport. He thought it was an actual thing you could see and touch!

    Gave the office a good giggle for many years!

    • Melissa says:

      Lol! Too funny! Hey, if they ever start selling “rapport in a box”, we’ll let the poor chap know! ;)

      Kidding aside, you do make an important point there. We’re all selling something, at one point or another, even if it’s just an idea we are trying to “sell” and get others to agree with. It’s easier to get people to buy/agree if they feel some sort of “connection” -rapport- with you first.

  3. Nelly says:

    Body language is a great indicator. I choose to ignore it when I’m giving a presentation though. If I take those snoring peopl to mean I’m boring I’d be lost 1/2 way through! I work with men who usually stand up all day in a factory – I choose to believe it’s being cooped up in a presentation room that sends them right off to sleep…….

  4. Yolanda Greene says:

    In regards to body language, see, I have a really tough habit of standing with my arms and legs crossed. I know it makes me look bad, but it’s something I can’t help – I’m just cold and uncomfortable and don’t know how else to stand.

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