Face to Face Communication Skills

Face to Face Communication Skills

Face-to-face communication is arguably the most important communication skill to develop. If you develop a proficiency in communicating with others in person, all other ways of communicating will become much easier to master. This is not simply "verbal' communication, it requires much more than that.

Many people, shy people in particular, become very anxious about face-to-face communication. Speaking to someone you do not know, or have only known briefly, can be especially hard. If you break down your fears and identify precisely why you are anxious, you can work through each area, one at a time. Developing your own set of strategies for overcoming shyness will also help you in working through these anxieties.

Some Elements of Face-to-Face Communication

  • Body language - This is perhaps the biggest thing that sets face-to-face communication apart from any other. This is not a concern when talking on the phone or emailing, making it a unique challenge for many. We express our emotions through body language and the immediacy of in-person communication means you might be taken by surprise by what the other person is saying, for better or worse.
  • Listening - To achieve any objective while communicating, you need to develop an understanding of the other person or people. This requires listening, unlike email where you can re-read the other person's message multiple times to understand before replying. With email, you can plan things out beforehand, because you have the luxury of time. This is not so when speaking to someone, because it is rude to ask someone to repeat what he or she had just said. In addition, details really do matter. Think of what might happen if an operator at a live phone support service missed important details from a customer call? What could happen if a doctor was not really listening to a patient describing his or her symptoms? Again, details matter.
  • Eye contact - Making eye contact with someone conveys a great deal about what we are communicating. Not making eye contact can be interpreted in many ways, which can diminish trust and lessen the effectiveness of your communication. Eye contact is very important in terms of first impressions.
  • Expressing interest - By asking the other person questions and showing a real desire to understand their opinions, needs, and points of view, you are expressing interest in communicating effectively with them. By expressing interest, you are showing a willingness to invest your time and energy in the give-and-take process of effective verbal communication.

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