We all know effective communication is a highly valued skill in today’s business world. What you may not realize is how much poor communication costs in the business world. The Holmes report estimates that this cost has hit an astounding $37 billion. A survey done on 400 corporations estimated that the average organization loses $62.4 million per year due to ineffective communication. The good news is, effective communication habits can be learned. Here are some best effective communication habits of highly successful individuals. 

Being Considerate
It’s not all about you. Part of being a considerate communicator is allowing others to speak. Don’t dominate the conversation; allow others to put forth ideas and ask questions. When other’s speak, ask thoughtful questions that show you’re interested in what the other person has to say. It can be easy to get so wrapped up in how you want to respond, that you lose track of what the other person is saying. Be aware of nonverbal cues as well as the tone of voice being used.  Don’t interrupt or cut others off. 

Actively Listen
Active listening means not simply hearing what the other person is saying, but processing it and responding thoughtfully. Your body language should demonstrate your interest in the conversation. Seek clarity and indicate your attention by paraphrasing what has been said. Make sure you maintain eye contact and make occasional gestures when appropriate. 

Be Clear & Get to the Point
Effective communicators state things in a way that they are sure their audience will comprehend. Try to break down complex ideas into more easily understood terms. Respect other people’s time and get to the point rather than beating around the bush. If the conversation gets off-track, politely refocus the conversation. Give the person you’re speaking to your undivided attention. Avoid multitasking while having a conversation. 

Use “I” Statements
Using “I” statements can help you to communicate more effectively. Rather than stating your opinions as facts, use statements like, “I am concerned that we won’t be able to finish the project on time” rather than “We’ll never get this project done!” Particularly in times of tension or conflict, “I” statements can help you avoid coming across as judgemental or putting others on the defensive. 

Use “And” instead of “But”
When you say “but” you are negating whatever came before. For example, if you tell someone “I love your hair today, but you’ve got this little piece hanging right here” the only thing that person is going to hear is the flaw or fault you’ve pointed out – not that you think their hair looks nice. In order to show respect for the other person, try using “yes, and…” even if you don’t agree with what the other person has said. “Yes, and…” allows you to build on the conversation rather than shutting it down.

Learning to be an effective communicator is not something that happens overnight. You have to continue to work at it and develop effective habits of communication. Once these tips become habits, you’ll find you have more successful and effective conversations both at work and in your personal life. 

Article originally published on LoriWeaver.net