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Developing Effective Communication Skills

Abderrahmane Babni
Sijilmassa High School, Errachidia. Morocco
Abstract
Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information; it's also about
understanding the emotion behind the information. Effective communication skills are fundamental
to success in many aspects of life. Many jobs require strong communication skills since people with
good communication skills usually enjoy better interpersonal relationships with friends and family.
Learning how to communicate effectively is, then, one of the most important key interpersonal
skills in this era marked by the prevalence of a huge number of information and communication
tools and media. In this paper, an attempt will be made to shed some light on effective
communication with special focus on its definition, benefits, and the skills it involves. It will
conclude by listing some practical tips on how to develop effective communication skills.
Key words : effective communication, effective communication skills

1. Introduction
The ability to communicate effectively with others is of paramount importance to our
psychological and social well-being. Communication allows human beings to convey their needs
and feelings to others, and to respond to and respect the needs of others. For this reason, effective
communication skills have become fundamental to success in all aspects of life.
2. What is effective communication
In this era characterised by the prevalence of a huge number of information and
communication tools, we have to send, receive, and process a big number of messages every day.
This means that we need to use our communication skills to be able to handle those messages in an
effective way. Effective communication is more than the exchange of information. Rather, it refers
to the ability to understand the emotion behind the information. According to Brown (2014),
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effective communication extends the concept to require that the transmitted content has to be
received and understood by someone in the way it was intended. This involves not only
understanding the message, but also being able to understand the emotion behind it.
3. The Benefits of effective communication
According to Robinson and Segal (2015), effective communication has the following
benefits:
a) it helps us better understand a person or situation,
b) it enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect,
c) it improves and sustains relationships at home, work, and in social situations by
deepening ones connections to others,
d) it improves team work, decision making and poblem solving, and
e) it enables us to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict
or destroying trust.
Effective communication is more than the exchange of information. Rather, it refers to the
ability to understand the emotion behind the information. According to Brown (2014), effective
communication extends the concept to require that transmitted content is received and understood
by someone in the way it was intended. This involves not only understanding the message, but also
being able to understand the emtion behind it.
4. Effective communication skills
Effective communication requires having a set of skills.
4.1. Listening
It is so obvious that listening is one of the most important aspects of effective
communication. Successful listening means not only understanding the words or the piece (s) of
information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they are

communicating. Effective listening can make the speaker feel heard and understood, create an
environment where everyone feels safe, save time, and relieve negative emotions.
4.2. Non-verbal communication
When we communicate things we care about, we do so using non-verbal signals such as
gestures, facial expressions, body movement, eye contact, posture, the tone of the voice and even
the muscle tension and breathing. The way one looks, listens, moves, and reacts to another person
tells them more about how he/she is feeling than the words alone. One way to enhance effective
communication is by using open body language
4.3. Managing stress
A small dose of stress is sometimes positive since it can help one perform under pressure.
Yet, when it becomes constant and overwhelming, it hampers effective communication by
disrupting ones ability to think clearly and creatively, and act appropriately. Effective
communication involves being able to recognise and deal with stress at the moment.
4.4. Emotional awareness
Emotions play a crucial role in the way one communicates at home and work. The way one
reacts to emotionally driven, nonverbal cues has a clear impact on both how one understands other
people and how they understand him/her. Emotional awareness refers to the ability to understand
and recognise ones emotions as well as those of the person one is communicating with. This means
that emotional awareness is a skill which requires both thinking and feeling. Gagnon (2014: 1),
provides the following figure which better explains the three distinct yet inter-related skills one
needs to develop to communicate effectively.
a) Assertiveness means speaking with a normal tone, respecting personal distance, stating
ones opinions, needs or wants; respecting how others express themselves, giving and receiving
respect; saying both yes and no.

b) Nonverbal communication involves paying enough attention to where we look, the tone
of ones voice and even ones body posture.
c) Conversational skills involves knowing when to speak and when to listen, and being
equipped with a number of communication strategies in case one gets stuck.
5. Some tips for improving effective communication skills
Robinson and Segal (2015) suggest the following tips that could help us improve our
effective communication skills:
a) Tips for effective listening: this requires from the listener to:
- focus fully on the speaker,
- avoid interrupting,
- avoid seeming judgmental, and
- show ones interest.
b) Tips for improving how to read non-verbal communication: this involves:
- practising observing people,
- being aware of individual differences, and
- looking at nonverbal communication signals as a group.
c) Tips for improving how to deliver nonverbal communication: this includes:
- using nonverbal signals that match up with ones words,
- adjusting ones nonverbal signals according to the context, and
- using body language to convey positive feelings.
d) Tips for handling stress: this involves:
- recognising when one is becoming stressed,
- taking a moment to calm down,
- bringing ones senses to the rescue,
- looking for humour in the situation,

- being willing to compromise, and


- agreeing to disagree.
e) Tips for improving emotional awareness: this includes:
- understanding and empathising with what is really troubling other people,
- understanding oneself,
- staying motivated,
- communicating clearly and effectively, and
- building strong, trusting, and rewarding relationships.
6. Conclusion
Good communication skills will, in fact, enhance ones life in every way. In the workplace,
effective business communication skills are fundamental in establishing a professional career.
Effective communication skills also play an important role in ones social and personal life,
enabling one to develop close relationships with others.
Its high time teachers, educators and parents trained their students and children on how to
learn and enhance effective communication skills to be able to handle everyday tasks.
7. References
Brown, B. (2014). What is effective communication? Retrieved April 08th, 2015 from:
www.livestrong.com/article/69309-effective-communication/
Gagnon, D. (2014). Developing effctive communication skills. Retrieved April, 08th, 2015
from:www.montrealcbtspychologist.com/userfiles/373150/file/Developing_Effective_Communicati
on_Skills.pdf
Robinson, L, and Segal, Jeanne and Robert. (2015). Effective communication. Retrieved
April 08th, 2015 from: www.helpguide.org/articles/rlationships/effective communication.htm
www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/improvingcommunication.htm