Communication skills are a vital part of any profession. It is important to be able to communicate effectively with the people around you. This can be done through many different methods, but the most effective way is through anecdotes and relatability. Ancillary communication skills are a set of skills that we use to communicate with people in ways that go beyond verbal and written language. These skills can be learned through observation and practice.
Think of how many people you communicate with in a day and for what reasons. You would realize that list of people would be divided into three categories, family & friends, subordinate workmen (staff at home or peers or subordinates at office) and functional individuals (housing society secretary, school principal or teacher of your child, taxi driver, ticket counter for your subway/ metro, commuters in the subway / metro and so on - these are not directly related to your daily lives but their functions are).
How do you communicate with the second and third group? You ought to be careful here with your communication. Communication is not just about the verbal and written word. It also includes nonverbal communication, such as gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice.
Let’s see what are the ancillary skills required to nail your communication!
Story-telling: Doesn't mean you start making stories or telling stories to people around you. Nope! It is a way to relate and connect with people and situations and build a bridge to communicate your ideas and opinions, so that the other person understands you.
An anecdote is a short story that can be used to illustrate a point. These stories are often personal, which makes them relatable and more effective than just giving facts or statistics. In order for an anecdote to work, it needs to have some kind of relevance or tie-in with the conversation at hand. This will make it more interesting and easier for the person listening to understand your point of view.
Relevance is key when trying to build rapport with someone else. If you want someone else to feel comfortable talking about themselves, then you need to understand what they are interested in and make them feel like they can open up without judgment from you. One way that this can be done is by asking questions about their hobbies or favorite leisure activities.
You can also share your areas of difficulties, uneasiness or awkwardness with the situations. Your peers or subordinates will find it comfortable to share theirs too. Similarly, you can speak about your on-going project, or new activity you are interested in, or an outing that you have planned, or how the conversation with your team went and so on. These are smaller yet important communication bridges that you can use that fall under the story-telling skill.
Visual Communication: Well, visual communication would certainly be easy to understand by its name, but we aren’t talking of mere presentations. We can’t carry a presenter app or device everywhere and keep demonstrating to anyone we meet. That would be insane!
Visual communication is a great way to convey information in an easy and understandable way. It can be used for everything from presentations to graphs and charts. However, this would be very specific to one’s job or a corporate culture.
There are various other tasks that don’t ask to be employed or be presenting information to a group of people or board members. Let’s take social media’s analytics page of any of the popular sites we use, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. It gives you a lot of information without writing long scripts, but by mere graphs of activities that took place on one’s page. Isn’t this visual communication?
There are fields of work and specific skills that revolve around visual communication, data analytics per say. Graphs are a great way to show the relationship between two or more variables. They can be used for anything from showing how fast something is changing, how much money someone has, or the effects of different types of pollution on the environment.
On the other hand, pictures are another great form of visual communication because they can help tell a story and make it easier for people to understand what you are trying to say. Sometimes they even tell stories better than words can! We see how content creation and instructional design go hand in hand. There are various industries that are using visual communication as a tool for education, in-house upskilling via the Learning Management Systems.
Well, so how can we visually communicate… We can use real pictures, create small doodles or illustrations, some real shapes and charts for presentations or illustrations if required for our official communication. However, gifs, memes, stickers are real examples of how we unknowingly are communicating visually with one another. The emotion and degree of feelings are well understood this way!
Humor and Quick Wittedness: Nobody expects you to be Jim Carry or Kapil Sharma. This clearly attributes to being capable of balancing stress or tenuous moments with your light conversations in a positive spirit.
Humor is a means of easing tension and lightening the mood. Humor is an important part of life, because it helps us to deal with difficult or distressing situations.
We use humor to make ourselves feel better and to help others feel better too. It can be used as a coping strategy, which we can turn to in times of stress or when we need to find some relief from our burdens.
Quick wittedness is the ability to quickly think of a witty response or joke. It is of great importance in a variety of situations, such as when you are trying to make new friends or acquaintances, when you are talking with someone who is in a bad mood, or when you need to defuse an awkward situation.
If you want to be able to come up with witty responses and jokes at the drop of a hat, it helps if you practice thinking on your feet. Practice coming up with quick responses by playing games like this one:
- You say "I'm feeling" and then your partner says "I'm feeling" and then you say "too".
- I'm feeling hungry too
We must know, we have just one life, we need to work through it well by balancing our mind, heart and soul and put the best of what we have. Humor can surely be a good friend if you know how and when to use it well.
Active Listening: Do we all speak more and listen less? Yes, most of us! It is truly said that one must listen and observe more than speak. It allows us to learn more about the situation, so as to deal with it better.
Active listening is the ability to focus on what's happening around you and to listen with understanding. It is a skill that we can use every day. Active listening is a skill that we use in order to understand what the other person is saying and how they are feeling. It’s about giving others a chance to speak and express themselves.
There are three steps in the active listening process:
Pay attention- Listen to what people say without interrupting them or jumping ahead of them in your head.
Understand- Take time to reflect on what they have said and think about why they might be saying it.
Respond- Share your thoughts with them in a way that respects their point of view.
Active listening can be used in many situations such as when people want to get feedback, when people want to understand the other person's opinion or perspective, when people want to show empathy, etc.
Communication is the process of exchanging information through a shared system of symbols and meanings, typically with the goal of influencing, informing, or entertaining.
Story-telling is an effective way to communicate a message to your audience. It grabs their attention and engages them in the narrative. Visual communication is also an important part of communicating your message. It's important to be able to tell a story in pictures as well as words because not everyone can read or write. Humor can also be used effectively in communications when it's appropriate for the situation and the audience. Active listening is crucial for understanding what people want or need from you and how you can help them achieve their goals.
Hope you found this article helpful. If you or your organization is interested to learn more about such attributes and behavioral skills at the workplace, feel free to get in touch with us at RGB Training Services!