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Good communication skills are important for most jobs and are essential for those in management positions. A few people are fortunate enough to have acquired effective communication skills at an early age, but the majority of good communicators have learned by example and consciously practice their communication skills. Not surprisingly, most people with strong communication skills tend to share certain personality traits and intellectual qualities.
Good communicators are almost invariably good listeners. They really pay attention to what their conversational partners are saying and how they are saying it. They often reflect the gist of the communication back at the interlocutor or request a clarification to demonstrate they are fully engaged in the conversation. Good listening also involves empathizing with your interlocutors and listening for ideas, not words.
Aware of Nonverbal Communication
Most good communicators are attuned to nonverbal cues. They can sense when they are losing the interest of their interlocutors just by their posture or eye contact. By the same token, a good communicator also knows how to use nonverbal communication to engage interlocutors or to reinforce the point she is trying to make.
Truly effective communicators typically have a good memory. They can remember names and faces and they tend to be knowledgeable about most subjects they speak on. Having a good memory also generally leads to a large vocabulary, and being able to come up with the perfect word or turn of phrase makes for effective conversations and memorable speeches.
Positive and Empathetic
Nobody can be positive all the time, and good communicators understand how to avoid seeming like a Pollyanna, but remaining relentlessly positive in their outlook and their conversational outlook. Empathy can be described as emotional awareness, and those who can put themselves in their interlocutors' shoes can anticipate and guide a conversation to a successful conclusion. It is human nature to trust someone who is both positive and empathetic, and good communicators use these qualities to build trust with their interlocutors.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
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