What are the types of interpersonal communication skills?
Soft skills for truck drivers, such as interpersonal skills in the form of verbal communication and nonverbal communication, can come in a variety of types. From body language to written messages, it is important to work towards understanding them all in order to excel as a professional truck driver.
Verbal communication can include both what you are saying and how you’re saying it. Consider tone of voice, volume, and rate of breath when determining the message you'd like to convey.
Improving your verbal communication skills can include maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly and concisely, refraining from using jargon terms, and focusing on your tone of voice to ensure your message stays professional and productive. Simply thinking about what you are going to say before you speak can be a helpful way to improve your communication skills as a truck driver.
Nonverbal communication in the form of body language can include gestures, movements, and facial expressions. This is one of the most important types of communication to consider when interacting with internal and external contacts, in person or remotely. Know that you could be misunderstood if you are not intentional with your body language.
It has been found that a majority of all communication is nonverbal communication, where only a small portion of meaning in communication comes from words themselves. This means in some cases, it may be more critical to consider your nonverbal cues over what you’re choosing to say.
Improving your body language starts with being self-aware of how you’re communicating with others without speaking. Things like crossing your arms, not facing the person you’re speaking with, or fidgeting can give off an unprofessional or unwelcoming impression that you may not be aware of.
Practicing active listening involves ensuring that those you are communicating with know that you are engaged in the conversation, without interrupting or becoming distracted.
A simple way to improve active listening skills is to put your phone away when communicating with others, asking follow up questions to show that you understand, and keeping an open mind surrounding what they are saying to you to create productive dialogue.
Written communication is related to the content and context of any handwritten or typed messages shared with others. These can include emails, text messages, posts on social media, and more.
In the age of the internet and smart phones, it's important to consider how our written word can be perceived. To prevent misunderstandings, opt for straightforward language and avoid vague messages that require additional context.
To improve written communication skills and increase professionalism, always ask yourself if you have used proper punctuation, have communicated clearly, professionally, and as productively as possible before hitting send.
If you’re interested in mastering your interpersonal communication skills, try this free online course from UC San Diego.
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