The 10 basic communication skills
The communication skills that we possess determine the success of our interpersonal relationships, and therefore it is necessary to communicate well at work, with our friends, our family, and in general with all the people around us. Knowing and mastering basic communication skills brings many benefits, such as helping to resolve differences or promoting trust and mutual respect.
For example, it is essential to have good communication skills when we are facing a job interview or if we live in a couple, as living together is a constant negotiation. Although communicating seems simple, much of what we communicate is misunderstood or misinterpreted. Of course, this can cause conflict in both our professional and personal relationships.
Communication skills and their relationship to emotional balance
Learning to communicate effectively is a skill that should be part of the school curriculum. Being a competent communicator can make a difference in personal relationships, in the success of your professional career, and also in your self-esteem and self-confidence, because it is part of the basic social skills.
The relationship between emotional balance and communication skills has been demonstrated in a lot of research, and, in fact, its training is a therapeutic technique used in psychologists’ offices because it provides benefits for the patient’s well-being.
The 10 basic communication skills
If something characterizes the happiest people is that they have communication skills that help them to deal more satisfactorily with different situations that arise in their daily lives. Do not be discouraged if you have difficulties in communicating because nobody is born an expert . Communication, like other skills, can be learned and practiced.
So read on to find out what the basic communication skills are.
1. Active listening
Listening is a basic communication skill, but, although it seems simple, not everyone has this skill . Many times we only hear instead of listening, and other times we listen to ourselves instead of listening to the other with a correct attitude. Active listening , as its name suggests, means to listen actively, that is, with full attention. In other words, one must pay attention with the five senses. Active listening refers to paying attention not only to what the person says, but also to the feelings, ideas or thoughts that the individual expresses.
If you want to go deeper into this topic, you can take a look at our article: “Active listening: the key to communicating with others”
In effective communication, empathy is important for putting yourself in the other’s shoes. In fact, empathy is one of the most important social skills, because it is necessary for living with others. Even if you do not fully agree with a colleague, an employee or a friend, it is necessary to understand their point of view, because it also has their needs . Moreover, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes helps you to send a clearer and more effective message.
3. Emotional validation
But in addition to the two previous points, emotional validation, i.e. acceptance and feedback must be taken into account to communicate better. Because when we have others in front of us, it is necessary to listen without judging and it is an indispensable requirement to communicate to the other person that he or she has been understood.
Emotional validation improves communication since the other partner feels recognised and understood , and thus increases the verbalisation of what he thinks. Emotional validation has a positive effect as it creates an atmosphere of trust. Telling the other person that you have understood him/her, showing him/her that you have been listening to him/her and making it clear that you respect his/her opinion are enough to create a favourable communicative environment.
4. Non-verbal language
Body posture, eye contact or gestures, i.e. non-verbal language (or non-verbal communication) also communicate. Being relaxed and conveying what we are trying to say can maximize the message we want to send to others. A study carried out by Albert Mehrabian states that in a face-to-face conversation, the verbal component is 35% and more than 65% is non-verbal communication . According to Mehrabian’s own words: “The verbal component is used to communicate information and the non-verbal component to communicate personal states and attitudes”.
5. Conflict resolution and negotiation
Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, and learning to manage it and negotiate is a healthy and essential way to make relationships work . Some individuals prefer not to deal with conflict in order to avoid the discomfort it can generate. This only leads to resentment and misunderstanding.
The ability to resolve conflicts efficiently requires calm, non-defensive and respectful action. When one controls one’s emotions, it is possible to communicate one’s opinions without threatening or attacking others.
6. Verbal language
One of the basic elements of a good communicator is how it sounds in front of others. Speaking too softly or loudly, slurring words, or using too many filler terms such as “ah”, “eh” or “um”, can cause the message and connection to the caller to be lost.
Therefore, it is necessary to be clear, to use concrete examples, to have a good capacity of improvisation, to vocalize correctly, to consider the tenses , and in short to express correctly what we have in mind to connect with our interlocutor.
7. Reading and writing
Reading and writing are important for communication . Reading enables intellectual development and, as a cognitive function, allows access to technological, scientific and information advances. Therefore, it helps to better understand reality, and being regular readers gives us the necessary tools to be able to dialogue critically.
With regard to writing, we do not always have to communicate orally, but it is important to have a good command of written communication. Today, the new information and communication technologies (ICT) have burst into our lives. Writing a cover letter to seduce a recruiter if we want a job or sending an email to a company to complain about their service requires this skill.
People are more open to communicate if we show respect for them and their ideas . Simple actions such as using your name or calling you by your first name, having eye contact that indicates sincerity, and reflecting active listening makes the other person feel respected and taken into consideration. In a relationship, for example, a nice gesture or sign of affection can almost instantly stop a tense and negative situation and put the relationship back on a good track for positive and affective communication.
Persuasion is a key communication tool, especially in the business world, because it transforms ideas, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, and attempts to meet the needs of both parties. It often has a bad reputation, because, in the wrong way, it can be confused with manipulation (doing something against your interests). Persuasion is the basis of any successful negotiation .
If we think about the previous point, it is impossible to persuade an audience if we do not demonstrate credibility and authority . Credibility generates trust, and, as with respect, trust is a great ally of communication. People are more receptive when there is trust. Therefore, it is necessary to be consistent with what you say and what you do. For example, there must be harmony between your verbal and non-verbal communication.