7 Effective Strategies to Communicate Better

7 Effective Strategies to Communicate Better

Communication skills are the backbone of everything you do. Most of us think we communicate by talking. While this is true, we communicate in different ways, from sending emails to nonverbal cues like crossing our arms or avoiding eye contact. The rise in remote working and our digital world means that hitting the right tone has never been more important. Communicating in a workplace means you must be as clear and concise as possible to be understood.

Over 50% of communication is nonverbal with almost 40% of it being how you speak. You can practice and improve your communication skills by thinking meaningfully about how you engage with your audience, whether it’s your colleagues at work or a client.

We’re sharing tips to help you practice your language and nonverbal communication skills to become a more effective communicator. 

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Contents

What is effective communication?

Effective communication is defined as being able to exchange thoughts, opinions, and ideas in a way that is easy for the information to be understood by someone else. It’s vital you know how to be open when communicating with others as it helps build trust and avoids confusion.

Most communication happens face-to-face, it can take many forms, including nonverbal methods, such as writing and body language.

You need to know how to effectively engage with others across different mediums, whether you’re talking on the phone or acting as a guest speaker at a conference. As a rule of thumb, effective communication should follow the 5 Cs: correct, concise, clear, complete, and compassionate. The tips below will give you actionable advice on how to improve any conversation, virtual or in-person, by ticking each of these factors.

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Why is effective communication important?

Being an effective communicator is crucial to being a successful travel agent and a well-rounded individual. While it’s important for your personal development, it can help you improve your relationships with people throughout your life. 

Taking active steps to enhance your communication skills can allow you to become a more confident public speaker and build long-lasting relationships with clients and colleagues.

Communicating with others is required to:

  • Establish trust and form working relationships.
  • Leave both you and the other feeling satisfied.
  • Avoid misunderstanding and confusion.
  • Become a better leader and team player.

Types of workplace communication

If you need to get better at your communication skills, you need to consider how we engage with others. There are four main forms of communicating with different audiences when you’re at work.

Nonverbal communication

Do you ever look at someone’s body language and know they’re not comfortable? It might not be something they say, but rather how they’re acting. There’s a lot you can tell about an individual by how they behave. If you fold your arms, you look defensive. If you’re scrolling your phone, you’ll look distracted. By comparison, maintaining eye contact makes you appear more confident and self-assured. 

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Oral communication

Information is shared through speaking, either directly to another colleague or through a presentation. The way your voice behaves dictates how the information is perceived and understood. If your voice is very low, you’ll be difficult to understand and hear. If your tone is sharp, you might come across as annoyed. Using filler words and having long pauses can cause your audience to feel less confident about what they’re hearing.

Written communication

You can engage with another individual through written platforms, whether it’s signs, emails, or a document. Unlike oral communication, it’s harder to read tone in writing.

Stay away from anything that can be easily misunderstood, and always consider the context and audience when writing.

Active listening

The fourth method of communication is one of the most overlooked. Active listening is how you communicate with others, either orally or in writing. You can become a better listener by asking appropriate questions or offering feedback.

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7 tips to communicate better with clients and colleagues

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about improving your communication skills – but it’s easier than you think. It’s all about taking active steps to become more effective at listening, speaking, and using your body language to speak with others. Clarity is crucial to being understood when you ask a question or start a conversation.

We’re sharing 7 ways to deliver information more clearly and build better connections with others, either in a group setting or individually. Practice these tips below to develop more effective communication skills.

1. Define your audience

Context is everything. Defining who your audience is helps you communicate more efficiently. The way we speak and act to others depends on the context. You’re not going to speak to a business colleague the same way you talk to a family member. Similarly, you won’t speak to an older client the same way you might speak to a younger one. 

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Knowing your audience will help you decide the best way to communicate with them. Younger people prefer to talk through email, while older demographics appreciate you going the extra mile and picking up the phone. Thinking about who the other individual is will help you choose the best communication methods.

2. Show empathy and emotional intelligence

Healthy communication relies on emotional intelligence. When you’re communicating with someone else, consider both your own feelings and theirs. It’ll make it easier to control your own body language and avoid potentially sensitive topics that the other party might not be comfortable discussing.

Empathy is crucial and can make a difficult conservation easier to navigate. If you’re giving bad news to someone, showing empathy by actively listening can make them open up and avoid any feeling of defensiveness. Follow up with a message to continue your dialogue. 

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3. Active listening

Communication is a two-way street. There are always at least two people involved, which means one of them is always listening. One of the hardest communication skills to develop is listening. Between distractions and losing focus, most of us only process about half of what we hear.

You can become a better listener by:

  • Removing distractions, including looking at your phone or message notifications.
  • Giving the other person your full attention.
  • Avoid making unnecessary interruptions. 
  • Presenting open body language, including eye contact.
  • Paraphrase when you ask questions.
  • Interrupt when it’s appropriate to do so.

How to politely interrupt a conversation:

Listening doesn’t mean you have to be quiet the whole time. Knowing when it’s appropriate to jump into a conversation and stop the speaker is an important thing to practice. If you have something valuable to contribute or need to clarify a point, don’t be afraid to politely interrupt. Most people won’t be offended and will take it as a sign of interest.

You can show this by:

  • Using a polite tone when you interrupt them, so it doesn’t sound like you’re correcting the person when you say your response. 
  • Validating what they’ve been saying or thanking them for their point of view.
  • Finding something you have in common, such as taking part in a training program.

4. Nonverbal communication

Talk is cheap. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Don’t get caught up with your words. Your body language is what will do most of the talking and has more impact on how people engage with you than the words you’re saying. 

Certain cues tell someone you’re not interested or listening, such as fidgeting, yawning, or avoiding eye contact. While these things usually happen when we lose concentration, another person might consider them rude and assume you’re not interested.

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You may be doing many of these without realizing it. Crossing your arms might be something you do to feel comfortable, but another person might read it as a confrontational form of nonverbal communication. Being conscious of your movements will make you more aware of how others might perceive you, especially in a professional setting.

Always think of the big picture and consider the way you move to be just as crucial as what you’re saying. Your actions speak volumes and can make you look more confident. If you’re speaking with a client, you should try to maintain eye contact as much as possible to present a welcoming feeling and help the other person feel more comfortable.

5. Always come prepared

Some people can think on their feet, but most of us aren’t that lucky. Whether you’re going to a meeting or giving a presentation, you’ll always communicate better when you come prepared. Having a plan of what you’re going to say makes it easier to use the right communication skills and give you time to practice.

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Thinking ahead of time allows you to process your thoughts and give more concise information. This tip works for both written and verbal communication. Don’t just focus on what you plan on saying. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine what questions you might get asked. You’ll be less likely to get caught out or become stressed as a result.

If you’re meeting a client for the first time, prepare responses to common questions and think of how you can introduce them to your service. You’ll need to have specific examples to use without feeling as if you’re reading from a script.

Brainstorming ideas ahead of time helps you feel more confident and likely to deliver your message more concisely.

6. Clear and open communication

The most important thing to remember when working on your communication skills are the 5 Cs: clear, correct, complete, concise, and compassionate. Every time you engage with someone, you should be ticking these boxes, for example, with your nonverbal communication and body language. Consider them your guidelines for creating more meaningful relationships and establishing open communication with other parties. Before you say something, think of the 5 Cs.

While most of these tips are designed for face-to-face interactions, you can apply them to the digital world. It’s just as crucial to develop synergy through a screen as it is in person. Find ways to help improve your concentration and focus, including keeping interactions and written content as short as possible, while getting across all necessary points. 

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7. Stay calm

Feeling stressed or anxious can make it more difficult to gather your thoughts and engage effectively. Whether you’re meeting a client for the first time or negotiating a contract, you want to stay as calm as possible. 

When you start feeling stressed, you’re likely to be defensive and begin stumbling over your words. For example, your nonverbal communication could start to appear hostile. Being anxious can make it harder for other people to understand you and your body language might be read as being distracted or uninterested in what’s happening. Most of us become quiet when we start to feel stressed.

There are different ways you can manage your emotions and stress:

  • Stop and breathe: Take a second to gather your thoughts, instead of rushing out a response. Your brain might need a second to think, and breathing exercises can help you feel more comfortable.
  • Ask questions: If you feel under pressure, don’t be afraid to ask the other person to repeat what they said or ask a question to clarify something. For example, you can repeat back to the person what they said to show you were paying attention, but that you need further clarity. 
  • Use examples: You’re less likely to be anxious about what you’re saying. If you feel confident in it. Using examples will keep the other person interested and prove your point.
  • Speak clearly: Communication starts with how you speak. You can create an anxious situation by getting caught up in what you’re saying. Take a deep breath, keep eye contact, and use a steady tone as you speak. 
  • Get comfortable with silence: After you finish speaking, it’s not uncommon to be met by silence. It’s natural to want to start filling the silence, especially if you’re anxious about your communication skills. Instead, you want to avoid rambling and stop after you summarize your points and reach your conclusion. Don’t feel pressurized by the silence to keep talking. 

How to communicate effectively as a travel agent

Communicating is crucial when you’re a travel agent, including nonverbal communication. You need to ensure you understand exactly what your client needs, and you want to avoid them misinterpreting what you’re saying. Effective communication skills require organization and focus. 

Photo: Dragana Gordic/ Shutterstock.com

You can work on how you communicate as a travel agent by minimizing distractions and embracing active dialogue. When you feel stressed, take a breath, and don’t forget about your body language. Communication is a two-way street, and you should avoid overloading your client with information. Listen to what they tell you, and don’t be afraid to say something or message them as a follow-up.

Build your travel portfolio with RateHawk

RateHawk gives you access to more than 2.5 million hotels internationally from over 230 suppliers to suit every budget. This all-in-one platform has everything you need to book nay trips, including airline tickets, transport, and hotels.

You can see the communication tips above to establish connections with your clients and become their go-to super travel agent.


RateHawk is an unrivaled booking tool for travel professionals, giving you access to exclusive rates, multilingual 24/7 support, and other opportunities. Get started with RateHawk to expand your portfolio as a super travel agent. 

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