Practical communication is essential in everyday life. Although there are special guidelines for each specific case, there are general guidelines applicable in most situations. They include the following:
- Always be polite. Politeness will always be appreciated by people you communicate with. You may not be able to use the right form, but your listeners can discern if you are being polite.
- Seek clarification for anything you do not completely understand. Clarifying what you know may save you some embarrassment or inconvenience produced by miscommunication. Also, clearly understanding others will enable you to provide exactly what they need and will also enable them to answer you properly.
- Listen attentively to what others are saying. It is very tempting to assume that you already know what others will say, but learning to listen will help you actually understand what they truly mean. You also need to listen to what people will say because what they will say may actually be different from what you expect. Listening attentively to others creates a sympathetic attitude in you. One mark of a truly caring person is someone who takes the time to understand others.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues. The advantage of practical communication is the presence of nonverbal cues that provide a rich context for understanding. Paying attention to nonverbal cues can help you understand any part of a person’s utterance that you may have misunderstood. However, make sure that you give the correct interpretation of nonverbal cues. This is especially true in cross-cultural communication.
- Use communication strategies. You should master using communication strategies in order to communicate well. In addition to the strategies mentioned, you may employ other strategies that you know or read from additional resources. Using communication strategies can help you overcome possible communication breakdown.