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Communication: A Two-Way Street

If you’re reading this blog, you most likely recognize that strong communication skills are essential to a successful career. Learning to speak clearly and to communicate your thoughts and ideas in a confident, professional manner are certainly critical elements of business communication. However, all too often, people forget that there are two sides to the communication coin. In business communication, it is equally important to hone both your speaking and listening skills.

Although listening is a crucial part of communication, it is all too often overlooked when an individual seeks to improve their professional communication skills. Like any other skill set, effective listening must be learned and practiced. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Pay Attention: Keep your mind on the conversation at hand. This seems like it should go without saying, but many of us don’t give our conversation partner our full attention, either focusing on what we plan to say next or allowing our minds to wander completely. Your conversation partner is most likely more aware of how focused you are than you realize, and may be put off or insulted if they suspect they don’t have your full attention. Also, resist the urge to check your cell phone during any conversation. Even glancing at it signifies to your conversation partner that you’re only half listening, with part of your attention dedicated to other matters. If possible, keep your cell phone on silent to completely eliminate auditory distractions as well.

Ask Questions: While you don’t want to constantly interrupt to ask for clarification, knowing when to ask questions during a conversation can be very helpful. In addition to allowing you to better understand the other person’s point, posing the occasional question also signifies that you are invested in the conversation and value the other person’s thoughts and ideas.

Check in again next week for part two of our tips for effective listening.

If you want to sharpen your communication skills and polish your speech, you might benefit from the services of a corporate communications coach. Let our team of corporate speech-language pathologists help you reach your professional potential through strong communication. Give us a call at 212-308-7725 or visit us on the web at www.corporatespeechsolutions.com. Don’t live in NYC? No problem! Our services are Skype ready, so CSS can help you improve your communication from anywhere in the world.