What is communication?
Communication is the sending and receiving of information. It can be one to one or between groups of people which can be face-to-face or through some sort of communication device. In order to communicate with someone it requires a sender, this is the person who initiates communication in order to transfer their thoughts or to encode a message. The message is then sent to the receiver who, will decode or interpret the message. This all sounds very simple, but it is more complicated than this.
We can communicate many ways when we are delivering our training; verbally through the words that we use, which requires a shared language and understanding of common concepts. Part of what we say is how we say it, we call this paraverbal communication, this is reliant on our tone volume and cadence. It is also important to understand that the receiver may interpret what is being communicated differently dependant on their language or culture.
What we do as trainers nonverbally is a huge part of communication this is shown through our facial expressions, body language, eye contact or gestures. If we are having an off day this may be shown through how our body language is displayed. We can also pick up on behaviours of others through the way they communicate which helps us as staff to respond appropriately with our approach which in return may give us a positive impact on situations.
BSL or British Sign Language also falls into the category of nonverbal communication as well as it being a visual language it requires facial expressions, hand movements, gestures and body language in order to communicate. We can also communicate through written, active listening, flash cards or symbols.
As trainers we can work with people from all sorts of backgrounds, cultures, countries and with people whom English may not be their first language so by being mindful of how we may change our thoughts into words signs, symbols or gestures that can be understood is important to aid us in the delivery of our message.
How do we become better as trainers at communication?
We can listen. By paying attention and truly listening to someone underpins good communication. Be aware of your body language or the way you position yourself when you communicate with someone. Having a good supportive stance may prove to be very helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask for clarification and do some self-reflection.
As trainers there can be lots of situations or precipitating factors that may alter our communication or there maybe situations where we have to alter the way we communicate whilst delivering programmes. Challenging people or people turning up late, rare unforeseen circumstances where the service user may be present during a training programme, hence the reasons why we must rationally detach ourselves so that we are prepared for the day ahead.
If we don’t have good clear and effective communication there may be a breakdown as a result, therefore effective communication familiarity, choosing the right channel for communication is also important by not doing so it may undermine the message.
Tips to become a better at communication
- Be an engaged listener
- Pay attention to nonverbal signs and be aware of your own
- Control your emotions
- Think before you speak
- Be clear and concise
- Vary your vocal tone and think about the perspective of your audience