Every living being around us communicates, it an essential part of our lives! Cats meow, birds sing and primates use hand gestures and noises akin to speech. Effective communication is needed in all areas of life.

The first step to effective communication is the ability to actively listen. Too many times people are already coming up with a response to the questions that my be asked but aren’t actively listening. By doing this, you lose focus on the conversation and may find out…in embarrassment…that your response is completely off base. When you aren’t giving the person your full attention you create a one-sided conversation.

Checking emails, texting or surfing Instagram while in a conversation is rude. One-on-one conversations are becoming a lost art because of the ease of technology.  Stop texting and eliminate the distractions and hone your listening skills.

It does not matter who you are communicating with, what does matter is your ability to be specific when you speak with them. By creating a clear message and conversation you will ensure that you are understood. If giving instructions, provide details in order to avoid confusion.  When setting up appointments, be specific about your availability.  Frustration occurs when specific details are not shared so do not let details fall between the cracks!

Lastly, don’t forget to ask questions!  Great communicators ask questions, specific questions. Knowledge gained through great interactions can help you further yourself in your personal and professional life. Remember, there is no such thing as a “stupid question”!

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