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Communication Skills 101

So, what exactly is communication? Communication is the transfer of information or signals from one party to another. Communication can make or break an interview, presentation, pitch, or even affect the timeline of a project.

Messages occasionally get lost in translation, and with training, minimising this is essential.

If we can cut down on messages lost, your team's efficiency will skyrocket. Communication has a lot of elements we don't realise sometimes and we’ll work through those.

Communication Mistakes

We all make mistakes. Communication mistakes are something many of us can relate to daily.

Fix some common communication elements by:

• Editing your work – Be sure to read every email or instant message that you you intend to send.

◦ Did you catch the ironic error?

• Avoid interrupting – If comments are interrupted you may not understand what the person is saying.

• Giving your full attention – Don’t check your text messages when someone asks you a question.

• Let people finish their thoughts – Along the same lines of interrupting, let people finish their sentences.

Listening Skills

Listen Up! Listening is an often overlooked skill in communication, but it is equally as important as speaking. Let’s go over some listening tips to ensure active listening.

• Maintain eye contact – Eye contact signals a sense of belief and respect.

• Stay relaxed – Don't stare at the person, that's too intense, stay attentive but be cool.

• Listen without jumping to conclusions – Let the person finish before you become alarmed

• Wait for a pause to ask questions – Your question might be answered in the next sentence

• Do ask questions – Asking questions ensures you understood everything and have listened actively

• Run it back – Rephrase what they said just to make sure you understood

The Importance of Non-Verbal Communication

Like listening, we often overlook nonverbal communication.

When having face-to-face conversations, it’s important to take in and use non-verbal communication to fully understand or communicate what the person or yourself is feeling and emphasising. Use these tips to better understand non-verbal communication:

• Consider context – If you are in a business meeting, you don’t need to pretend it’s a monologue for a Broadway play

• Keep your gestures sharp to communicate firmness – For example, when talking about hard rules or deadlines

• Where there is freedom, keep your gestures loose – For example, when allowing a member of the team to use their imagination on a project

• Don't rely strictly on non-verbal – Body language can be misinterpreted or misconstrued very easily so just use it as emphasis if it matches.

All Mediums Were Not Created Equal

Spending so much time in our inboxes can leave us interchanging mediums of communication at any time.

It’s important to take the time to realise that all mediums do not carry the same weight and should be used for different things.

Let's take a closer look at how we can use these different mediums:

• Email – Great for simple tasks, clarification, or basic information exchanges

• Instant message – Great for even simpler tasks even faster

• Phone – Perfect for clarification of something discussed prior or a back-n-forth dialogue

• Face-to-face – Best for anything serious and everything

Obviously face-to-face is not often the most practical medium, but when it is available without hassle, use it. It is the best way to ensure tone or meaning is not getting lost in the message.

In Conclusion

Communication Mistakes

• Don't interrupt

• Edit your work

• Give your full attention Listening

• Maintain eye contact but don't stare

• Listen without jumping to conclusions

• Wait for a pause to ask questions

• Do ask questions

• Rephrase and repeat what they said back to them


• Scale your hand motions, keep it calm

• Keep your gestures sharp to communicate firmness

• Where there is freedom, keep your gestures loose

• Don't rely strictly on non-verbal Mediums

• Face-to-face is always preferred, but be aware of how tone may come across in other mediums

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