This is the second session of Ask The Coach. The main aim of this weekly session is to ask you, the reader, to ask a question to the coach by posting a comment on this post and each week myself and Ayo Olaniyan will attempt to help you by answering your question.
So lets get started with the this session.
Question from jonathanfigaro Answered by coach Ayo Olaniyan
Question: How can I improve my communication skills?
Thanks for posting your question on "˜Ask The Coach'.
It's very important we develop our communication skills daily because we can't avoid exchanging or sharing information with various people each day.
There are several reasons we need to improve our communication skills:
- To provide clarity on issues or topics.
- To avoid being misunderstood each time we relay any information.
- To enable us express ourselves in a clear and concise manner.
- To ensure we are effective in delivering information.
Communication doesn't involve words only; it encompasses our behavior, appearance, gestures etc.
The benefits of communicating effectively will increase your level of productivity in your personal and professional life as well as help you develop positive relationships or networks.
For proper communication to be established there must be a sender and a receiver.
I am still working hard at improving my communication skills but I believe the following tips would be of help:
Speak clearly, at the right pace and be consistent:
Learn to speak clearly and be consistent in what you say. Avoid rushing through lines because it could be interpreted as being nervous or unsure of the subject for discussion. If you talk fast, try practicing speaking slowly being conscious of the thought you ant to be understood clearly in your speech.
Use an appropriate tone or pitch:
It's important you know when to raise your voice and when to speak softly, when to speak with authority and when to speak with compassion. There is an appropriate tone of voice required for each setting. If you find yourself speaking in large groups there may be a need to raise your voice and speak with confidence but when it involves one person or a small group of people, it's important you don't become overbearing with the tone of your voice.
The Right Words:
The words used should be easily understood. Avoid using words that people will struggle to understand. Although there is a clause; you must endeavor to learn new words as often as you can. Using the right words is also important in expressing yourself in emails or articles for easy understanding.
It's important to make eye-contact with the person you are talking to. In business meetings, people who don't look at other people eye to eye are considered to be incompetent or unsure of themselves.
Body language represents the aspect of non verbal communication. Never underestimate the power of body language. This is the non-verbal aspect of communication. It's important to make your whole body talk using gestures. Use your body to effectively communicate and carry your message across. Just like the volume of your voice, smaller gestures are used when talking to an individual or a small group and gestures should be larger when you are addressing a bigger group.
Don't send out mixed messages:
Never attempt to send out mixed messages "“ your words, body language, pitch, facial expressions should be in tune with each other. This would enable you send out clear messages to people. It's also important to speak firmly when speaking your mind.
Learn the art of listening. The ability to listen is a foundation to effective communication. Try listening without any judgment.
Focus on the major highlights or key points of what is exactly is being said to you.
Stop trying to assume things. If you've got questions, its best to clarify them by asking.
Remember that communication is a two-way street. You cannot effectively communicate if you keep on interrupting the person who is talking to you. Know when the best time for you to talk is. Respect is one of the most important factors in communication. When you show respect, you are able to communicate to the person that you are open to what he is saying and you understand the situation he is in. Never attempt to interrupt even if you don't agree to what he is saying. He has all the right to say it and you can chose to agree or disagree with what he is saying with an open mind.
Ayo Olaniyan is a certified Unitiveâ„¢ Life Coach and Counsellor. He is a member of the European Mentoring and Coaching Council, an accredited professional counsellor with the Counselling Society and the author of Expanding Your Horizons. If you would like to enquire about personal and professional one-to-one coaching sessions, please visit www.discoveringpurpose.co.uk or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, it's about creating a purpose driven life through personal development.
Question from Macky99 answered by coach Steven Aitchison
Question: I feel that its a whole lot easier to know the right things but the difficult part is implementing them.
Thanks for posting your question on "˜Ask The Coach'.
If I read your question right you are asking how to implement change?
If we are honest most of us know the rights things we have to do in order to produce change in our lives. The thing is, sometimes it can feel overwhelming as there really are so many things that we know we should be doing;
- Giving up smoking
- Eating more healthily
- Stop procrastinating
- Being more productive
- Breaking bad habits
- Getting fitter
- Spend more time with the family
- Get debts cleared
- Do the garden
And that's only a few of things we know we could be doing. If you look at it like that it is far too overwhelming and we are apt not to do anything, our minds are literally paralyzed and we mentally seize up and don't do anything.
Break it up
We need to break everything we need to do up into little pieces. Once we have done this you should have a mental list or even a written list of everything you would like to change about yourself and everything you feel that is right for you. Once you have a list it's time to take the next step.
What's the most important thing that you feel is right to do for you at this particular moment time in your life? Everybody will be different so this is about you. If you have bills to pay and debts to clear and have a family then possibly this is the most important thing as it doesn't just involve you. However if we are talking about personal change then look at it from your side and nobody else's for the moment, I'll tell you why later.
Now that you have picked the most important item on the list it's time to put an action plan together on how you are going to do the right thing and get this done. Again you can break it up into smaller more manageable pieces. For example if you are in $10,000 worth of debt you don't start working on the whole $10,000 you break it up into all the debtors and concentrate on the debtor who is charging you most interest, possibly store cards, once they are cleared then focus on credit cards and so on.
Sometimes being selfish can benefit others
A lot of people see self help treatments as a little selfish. Your partner might see you spending time on yourself too much and not enough time with them. The thing is if there is something that you feel is right and you need to change it about yourself and you a really committed, the change in you will benefit both of you. You will feel happier within yourself and this will manifest itself in your behavior, relationships, focus and attitude. Obviously it depends on what the change is and you being committed enough. If I spent 5 hours a day reading self help books for the next 10 years and neglected my wife I am pretty sure i would not have a wife at the end of the 10 years. So the key is being committed to what you want to change.
I hope this answers your question Macky
If you have a question for Ayo and Steve please