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7: Using Effective Communication Skills

  • Page ID
    24268
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    In our daily contact with other people and the mass media, we are exposed to hundreds of messages. Yet there are numerous obstacles to receiving those messages accurately. For one thing, only a small percentage of communication is verbal. We also send messages with our bodies and with the tone of our voices. Throw in a few other factors, such as a hot room or background noise, and it’s a wonder we can communicate at all.

    We often send and receive messages using emotions. Your emotional intelligence skills will serve you in school and in the workplace, especially when you collaborate on project teams. In his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman (1995) defines emotional intelligence as a cluster of traits: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and skill in relationships.

    Written communication adds a whole other set of variables. When you speak, you supplement the meaning of your words with the power of body language and voice inflection. When you write, those nonverbal elements are absent. Instead, you depend on your skills at word choice, sentence construction, and punctuation to get your message across.

    When you are engaged in a conversation or delivering a presentation, how you listen and how you choose your words will make the difference in the effectiveness of that communication. The choices that you make in these areas can aid—or hinder—communication.

    Reference

    Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. New York: Bantam, 1995.

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