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Communication Skills: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:04 What Are Communication Skills?
  • 0:34 General Communication Skills
  • 4:24 Communication in Disagreements
  • 5:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

In this lesson you will learn the definition of communication skills and types of communication skills with examples. Following the lesson will be a brief quiz.

What Are Communication Skills?

If someone has superb communication skills, he or she probably has an aptitude for clearly and collectedly conveying and receiving messages to and from others both verbally and through body language, including facial expressions, eye contact, arm movement, and posture. General communication skills are important for everyday communication in all situations when you are exchanging conversation with someone else. They are helpful from small talk to deep conversation.

General Communication Skills

Olivia met Lucy at a party. Both women engaged in a conversation about their husbands and Olivia's children. Olivia left the conversation with a great impression of Lucy. 'What was it about Lucy that made her such an attractive person?' Olivia wondered. After all, Lucy didn't say anything particularly extraordinary during the exchange. Little did Olivia know, it was Lucy's wonderful communication skills that made her such a charming and likable person.

We'll be using Olivia and Lucy in some of the following examples. It doesn't matter if communication involves small talk or a deeper conversation; whatever the situation, the following communication skills can assist you in creating a great impression and establishing amazing relationships in your life.

Remember names: Pay attention when someone introduces themselves. Use their name at least twice in your conversation with them, but be careful not to overdo it.

Use eye contact: When speaking with someone, look at them in the eyes so that they know you are both trustworthy and engrossed in the conversation, but avert your eyes at times to ensure the eye contact is not overwhelming.

Ask open-ended questions: People love to talk about themselves and have a tendency to rattle off their opinions, experiences and stories to others. In your next conversation, ask open-ended questions (questions that don't yield a simple 'yes' or 'no' response) to allow the other person to talk about themselves. Remember to share just enough about yourself to keep the person to whom you are speaking interested. Lucy asked Olivia questions such as, 'What is your favorite thing about having children?' and 'How do you balance your career with being a caring mother?'

Match mood, body language, and voice tone: Try to adapt your mood, body language, and voice tone to match the person with whom you are speaking. Lucy sensed Olivia's enthusiasm and passion for her children and reciprocated that enthusiasm right back to her using a high-pitched voice and exaggerated hand movements.

Attentively listen: Avoid looking at your phone or watch, and don't interrupt the speaker. Additionally, refrain from thinking about what you want to say next. Follow-up questions and comments will flow naturally if you truly listen. Lucy was truly listening to Olivia when she told the story of how her first daughter was born on Valentine's Day. Since their conversation took place in January, Lucy naturally followed-up with a question inquiring what Olivia was planning to do for her daughter's upcoming birthday.

Use friendly body language: Smile, uncross your arms, and relax your shoulders, arms, and legs. Stand in an open stance. Olivia felt comfortable speaking with Lucy because she was exhibiting open and inviting body language.

Give compliments: Some might find this uncomfortable, but everyone loves hearing what others admire about them! Lucy told Olivia how impressed she was that Olivia was able to juggle her successful career with being a caring mother. Olivia didn't hear that very often and instantly liked Lucy for noticing her hard work, sacrifice, and dedication.

Be clear and concise: Avoid using filler or superfluous words. Instead, use as little wording as possible when conveying a message. Also, be clear about what you want if you are requesting something. Get to the point!

Great communication skills are conductive to creating more social connections and friendships. Some have the hardest time with communication when emotions are heated during a disagreement. In fact, some people resort to name-calling, profanity, yelling, and even violence when they don't know how to properly communicate. That is why we have included an entire section about communication skills during disagreements.

Communication Skills in Disagreements

Ben and Jen are married and completely in love, but also disagree about a few things. One thing that they argue about is how late Ben works on most nights. Ben is very dedicated to his job and wants to create a better financial situation for himself and Jen, but Jen feels lonely and isolated.

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