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How to Develop Communication Skills? How to Develop Communication Skills?

Skills For Life

How to develop your communication skills?

With the rise of social media networking and texting, communication has become more casual, even in situations where more formal ways of communicating are preferred. This means that people from the younger generation, may not know or even understand the importance of effective communication skills in the workplace. If we take a look at the greatest leaders, one of the traits these leaders possess, is the ability to communicate effectively, which underscores the real importance of communication skills in the business world.

Your good communication skills can help you with presentations in class, during job interviews or handling arguments in different  situations.  Learn these tricks to improve your communication skills so that next time you can come across as more confident and friendly. We will start with understanding the basics of communication skills. Three common basics are present in every communication skills, these are;

PART-I

1. Knowing what communication really is: Communication normally means the process of transferring signals/messages between a sender and a receiver through various methods. It can be written words, nonverbal cues or spoken words. It is also the mechanism we use to establish and modify relationships to people.

2. Having the courage to say what you think: You have to be confident & believe that you can make worthwhile contributions to the conversation. Just take sometime time each day to be aware of your opinions and feelings, so you can adequately convey them to others. Individuals who are hesitant to speak because they do not feel their input would be worthwhile need, not fear. What is important or worthwhile to one person may not be to another and maybe more so to someone else.

3. Practice & Practice: Developing advanced communication skills begins with simple interactions. Communication skills can be practiced every day in settings that range from the social to the professional. New skills take time to refine, but each time you use your communication skills, you open yourself to opportunities and future partnerships.

PART-II

Your communication skill depends on how well you can engage your audience, to do that you need to be careful about following issues.

1. Making eye contact: Whether you are speaking or listening, looking into the eyes of the person with whom you are conversing can make the interaction more successful. Eye contact conveys interest and encourages your partner to be interested in you in return.

-One technique to help with this is to consciously look into one of the listener’s eyes and then move to the other eye. Going back and forth between the two makes your eyes appear to sparkle.

-Another trick is to imagine a letter “T” on the listener’s face ,with the crossbar being an imaginary line across the eyebrows and the vertical line coming down the center of the nose. Keep your eyes scanning that “T” zone.

2. Using gestures: These include gestures with your hands and face. You have to make your whole body talk. Use smaller gestures for individuals and small groups & the gestures should get larger as the group that one is addressing increases in size.

3. Don’t send mixed messages: Make your words, gestures, facial expressions and tone match the purpose of your messages. For example, disciplining someone while smiling sends a mixed message and is therefore ineffective. If you have to deliver a negative message, make your words, facial expressions, and tone match the message.

4. Be aware of what your body is saying: Body language can say so much more than a mouthful of words. An open stance with arms relaxed at your sides tells anyone around you that you are approachable and open to hearing what they have to say.

-Arms crossed and shoulders hunched, on the other hand, suggest disinterest in conversation or unwillingness to communicate. Often, communication can be stopped before it starts by body language that tells people you don’t want to talk.

-Appropriate posture and an approachable stance can make even difficult conversations flow more smoothly.

5. Manifest constructive attitudes and beliefs: The attitudes you bring to communication will have a huge impact on the way you compose yourself and interact with others. You must choose to be honest, patient, optimistic, sincere, respectful, and accepting of others. Being sensitive to other people’s feelings, and believe in others’ competence takes your communication skill to another level.

6. Developing effective listening skills: Everyone loves a good listener. One must listen to the other person’s words and engage in communication on what the other person is speaking about. Always avoid the impulse to listen only for the end of their sentence so that you can blurt out the ideas or memories your mind while the other person is speaking.

PART-III

In communicating, you must choose your words wisely. Cause your words can either ruin or win someone’s heart. Practice these followings,

1. Enunciate your words: Speak clearly and don’t mumble. If people are always asking you to repeat yourself, try to do a better job of articulating yourself in a better manner.

2. Pronounce your words correctly: People will judge your competency through your vocabulary. If you aren’t sure of how to say a word, don’t use it. Improve your vocabulary by reading new words in daily routine. Look in the dictionary to help you learn how to pronounce a new word.

3. Use the right words: If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. Grab a dictionary and start a daily habit of learning one new word per day. Use it sometime in your conversations during the day.

4. Slow your speech down: People will perceive you as nervous and unsure of yourself if you talk fast. However, be careful not to slow down to the point where people begin to finish your sentences just to help you finish.

5. Develop your voice: A high or whiny voice is not perceived to be one of authority. In fact, a high and soft voice can make you sound like prey to an aggressive co-worker or make others not take you seriously. Begin doing exercises to lower the pitch of your voice. Try singing, but do it an octave lower on all your favorite songs. Practice this and, after a period of time, your voice will begin to lower.

6. Animate your voice: Avoid a monotone and use dynamics. Your pitch should raise and lower periodically. Radio DJ’s are usually a good example of this.

7. Use appropriate volume: Use a volume that is appropriate for the setting. Speak more softly when you are alone and close. Speak louder when you are speaking to larger groups or across larger spaces.

There are some tips to make your communication more effective,

a) Use appropriate volume for your conversation setting.

b) Get feedback from your receiver to ensure you were properly understood during your conversation.

c) Have confidence when talking, it doesn’t matter what other people think.

d) Make sure you’re using proper grammar.

e) Don’t over-praise yourself in front of your audience.

f) Avoid thinking that whatever you say is always correct.

g) Try to speak fluently and try to make sure people can hear you when you speak.

h) A good speaker is a good listener.

i) Do not interrupt or talk over the other person–it breaks the flow of conversation. Timing is important.

j) Make eye contact when speaking and listening.

k) If you want good communication skills, first be confident and do not stammer in front of people. Try socializing more with people. This will give you the idea how to talk with different people.

l) Practice makes your communication get better and better.

m) To improve your body language, practice what you’re going to say in front of a mirror.

n) Practice speaking in public places.

o) Be practical and be socially strong.

Source: wikihow & right


 Contributor: Maymuna Ela | Studying at Mawlana Bhashani Science & Technology University, Bangladesh.

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Skills For Life

Top 12 Productivity Apps to Get More Done

In this very competitive and busy world, just hard working doesn’t always bring a fruitful result for us. Fact is we need to work smarter, not just harder. And ultimately be more and more productive for staying top on every task. Productivity is a measure of efficiency or simply how efficiently you can complete your task. It’s actually getting desired results with less time and effort.

Today, every successful person, institute or company is obsessed with productivity. The exciting technologies of present time always try to give very easy and effective solutions to almost all of our problems, small to big ones. As a result, there’s an excellent range of productivity apps available for making our day-to-day tasks easier and more effective. These apps can help you to complete your professional and personal tasks in a lot more efficient way. You can have many of these apps for free or go for the premium ones to get more featured functions.

Here are 12 popular and widely-used productivity apps that can immensely boost your productivity:

Todoist (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari, Firefox)

Source: Todoist

  • To-Do lists
  • Task Management

Free, Premium: $3/Month

Todoist is one of the top-ranked productivity apps that helps millions of people organize work and life. It keeps track of all the tasks, projects, and goals of the user in one  simple place. It also syncs across devices and integrates with necessary apps. The free version allows collaboration with five people per project and managing 80 projects at a time. Upgrading to premium provides options like reminders, labels, filters, templates, activity log, add tasks via email, comments & file uploads, calendar feeds, themes and automatic backups.

Evernote (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac)

Source: Evernote

  • Notepad
  • Organizer & Planner App

Free, Premium: $7.99/Month, Business: $14.99/User/Month

When it comes to organizing thoughts and ideas, Evernote will probably be at the top. Evernote is one of most widely used note taking app with a variety of features. Users can take & store text, audio, drawings, pictures, PDFs, web contents and other attachments as notes. It also gives reminders, email alerts, multi-device syncing and sharing options. The premium version has powerful organizer and planner functionalities. Its business plan allows collaboration and team projects.

Any.do (Web, Android, iOS)

Source: Any.do

  • Task Management
  • To-Do lists, Calendar, Reminders, Daily Planner

Free, Premium: $5.99/Month

Any.do is a great option for organizing our busy life. This is the all in one app featuring calendar, lists, planner, reminders, virtual assistant, voice-entry feature and more. It provides cross-platform syncing among phone, laptop, computer, web and even smart-watch. Any.do premium version comes with prioritized tasks, location based reminders, unlimited attachments, unlimited collaboration and some other options.

Asana (Android, iOS, Web)

Source: Asana

  • Project & Task Management
  • Collaboration & Integrations Tool

Free, Premium: $13.49/User/Month

Beyond from to-do lists, Asana is one of the very first workplace apps for collaboration, integration and communication within teams. It’s a highly featured project management tool. Users can create to-do lists, projects, assign tasks to team members, keep track of ongoing works, set reminders & deadlines, send requests, make comments and much more. It’s a great option for remote work and team management. The basic/free version of Asana allows collaborating with up to 15 teammates. Upgrading to premium increases this capacity and unblocks more features. Asana also gives business and enterprise (custom) plans. Companies like TED, Pinterest, Uber, Deloitte, Voxmedia, Comcast — use this app for productive communications.

Trello (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web)

Source: Trello

  • Work/Task Management
  • Collaboration & Integrations Tool

Free, Premium: $12.50/User/Month

Another popular and very efficient workplace collaboration tool is Trello. It’s a highly customizable and flexible task management app. Users can create, share, manage or organize anything from simple to-do lists or tasks to complex projects very easily. The app works in Kanban style, a visual layout originates from Japan. Here tasks are added as cards with deadlines, attachments, assigned members and with “to-do,” “going” and “done” statuses. These  cards are grouped into boards, called Trello boards. So teams can visualize their workflow and keep track of work progress easily. Trello ensures instant messaging within teammates, multi-device syncing and integration of many third-party services. Its free version is limited with 10 team boards, although the business plan (premium) gives unlimited boards.

Slack (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Web)

Source: Slack

  • Team Communication & Collaboration
  • Remote Working

Free, Premium: $8/User/Month (Standard), $15/User/Month (Plus)

Slack is a channel-based group messaging platform, specially designed for remote workers. This widely used business communication tool offers IRC-style features like persistent chat rooms organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. Users can have group discussions, 1 to 1 conversations, audio calls or video calls. In Slack, teamwork and conversations are organized into dedicated channels. A channel is a single place for teammates to share messages, files or other attachments. Slack ensures real-time messaging by syncing across devices and also integrates with some third-party services. Along with the free version, Slack offers ‘Standard plan’ for small and medium-sized businesses and ‘Plus plan’ for larger businesses.

TeamViewer (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, BlackBerry OS)

Source: TeamViewer

  • Remote Administration
  • Collaboration Tool

Free, Premium: starts from $49/Month

TeamViewer is a remote access, remote control and remote support tool that works with almost every desktop and mobile platform. It’s a very powerful software for working closely with remote team members. By using TeamViewer, you can have access to devices located anywhere and control them remotely. For businesses, it enables users to connect with multiple workstations remotely and they can share any files or tools, collaborate with a number of people. Service providers can provide remote supports with it. Although the free version is available only for personal users and non-commercial uses, TeamViewer has business/premium plans for more featured options.

Toggl (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Web)

Source: Toggl

  • Time Tracking
  • Timesheet Management

Free, Premium: $9/User/Month

Toggl is a simple but powerful time tracker for hassle-free time tracking, that helps to identify how much your time is worth. With its timer, reminders and idle detection, users can keep track of how much time they spend on different tasks. Again its detailed reporting can help anyone to be more productive. It’s a very flexible and customizable app with a lot of functions like automatic timer, timesheet management, reminders, email reporting, bulk editing, pomodoro timer, project dashboard, PDF & CSV file imports, multi-device synchronization, third-party apps integrations, etc. However, the free version of Toggl offers five-person team limits along with some limited options. Its premium plan unblocks all the features.

IFTTT (Android, iOS, Web)

Source: IFTTT

  • Task Automation
  • Conditional Statement Creator

Free, Premium: starts from $5 or $15 /User/Month

“If This, Then That” or simply known as IFTTT, is an interesting and very interactive productivity tool. It allows users to create any conditional statement that commands a particular app to do certain things at a certain time. For example, you want all your gmail attachments uploaded to the cloud drive. So you can make a sequence like, “If any of my gmail contains attachments, then upload those fills to Google drive” and IFTTT does the rest. By automating the tasks in this way, anyone can save more time and increase productivity. In IFTTT, a chain of conditional sequences is called ‘Applets’. There exist a number of pre-built applets in the app and users can create more custom sequences to automate their tasks. Also it has 300+ apps integration.

Zapier (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Web)

Source: Zapier

  • Apps Integration
  • Automation Tool

Free, Premium: $24.99/Month (Starter), $61.25/Month (Professional), $373.75/Month (Team), $748.75/Month (Company)

Another powerful integration and automation tool is Zapier. This one is more focused on business and other productivity apps, though you can integrate with over 1500 apps and services to share data and automate any task between them. Moreover, making autonomous workflows  is very easy in Zapier — point, click & automate. Here an automated workflow between the apps is called ‘Zap’. For example you can have a zap that saves your email attachments to a Dropbox folder and gives a Slack notification every time. In the free version of Zapier, you can have 5 zaps and 100 tasks/month. Users of Starter plan and Professional plan can have 750 and 2,000 tasks per month respectively. Team and Company plan allow creating 50,000 and 100,000 tasks per month respectively.

Microsoft Office 365 (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)

Source: Office 365

  • Office Productivity Suites

Premium: Personal – $6.99/Month (1 user), Family – $9.99/Month (6 users), Business – $15.00/Month

Whenever we think of any office software suite, the first thing that came up in our mind is Microsoft Office. Still it’s the world’s most widely-used office suite which is now increasing its popularity with the latest full featured incarnation – Office 365.

Microsoft Office 365 is a line of productivity apps encompassing Microsoft’s all office software suite along with the premium ones and cloud support. You can get all the premium and rich features of Microsoft’s productivity apps including Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, OneDrive, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, SharePoint and more in one place. And you can easily sync all of this with any of your devices.

G Suite

Source: G suite

  • Online Office Suite

Premium: $6/User/Month (Basic), $12/User/Month (Business), $25/User/Month (Enterprise)

Google’s office productivity suite (Docs,, Sheets, Slides, Drive) has earned much popularity in a very short time. Specially, these productivity apps are widely used in mobile devices. It’s also very reputed for its cloud supports. G suite is the business-grade version of Google’s office suite. It’s a cloud-based productivity, collaboration and communication tools series that includes Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, Forms, Sites, Drive, Calendar, Gmail, Hangouts, Currents, Meet and Jamboard. So it can provide you a comprehensive productive service in just one place. G Suite also gives additional supports depending on the package (business/enterprise). Again, Google offers a free Education plan of G suite available only for educational institutions.

Apart from the apps listed here, you can find a lot of other apps with various options for increasing productivity. All these apps will help you in many ways in your struggle for being productive every day. One thing is sure, more productivity means more time and more money. So, why not be more organized and get more done?

Written By

Anaet Ullah Biswas
Student | Department of Business Administration
Mawlana Bhashani Science & Technology University.

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Skills For Life

5 Shocking Effect Of Stress in the Workplace/Life

Shocking Fact About Stress

Our lives are surrounded by people, places & work! There is no escape from it. We start our work, get used to it, make our comfort zone, develop through professional set up & then there is a change! It comes either from the work pattern or from the target group of people or from the surrounding forces in the macro-environment. People are generally reluctant to accept changes & this non-adaptive tendency brings stress for them. Then, with the passage of time, work-loads increase, responsibility doubles both in the workplace & in the family. Life is a balancing act; we came to know but sometimes this balancing act is a difficult one & people start to worry. Sometimes many learned & experienced employees can’t accept any deviation in their planned life & so they become vulnerable psychologically & here are some examples of how this stress makes someone a low performer.

Most Common Sources of StressPercentage
Future of our nation63%
Money62%
Work61%
Political climate57%
Violence/crime51%
Source: American Psychological Association

1. Destroys confidence

When a person is in stress, it makes him or her naive which diminishes self-confidence. A person without self-confidence is not something welcomed at all. He or she becomes an object of mockery & in that state of mind it is not possible to work productively. So, the trepidation of facing uncertainty does take a toll. This stress can come from any source, be it personal or professional, can be potential or result of hyper-thinking about something.

2. Makes you afraid of all

Prolonged stress at the workplace at first destroys the confidence of an employee & then creates a sense of fear deep in the mind. If there is a change in the authority for example & the new boss gives a threatening vibe to some employees, especially to the senior ones, it can create a tension regarding job security which will just grow with time & while many will cope with this by applying their self-defense mechanisms, some will be there who will just get afraid of the whole thing in the workplace becoming a weak person.

3. You become sick frequently

Sometimes, this feeling of stress is so deeply etched in the psyche of a person that the hormonal balance is hampered & the stressed person falls sick quite often. As we know, psyche influences physical condition, holding stress or stress over some issues for a long time results in physical discomfort which hinders the working process. It has been found that fatigue, quick exhaustion, insomnia become regular that slow down the work spirit of the person.

4. Failure to see the bright side

When a person is in chronic stress, life seems black & the light of hope seems missing. The true fact is life has all the lights & darkness at the same time. If there is a tension or stress about rejection for a post, life does not end here, it rather has a motivating power to identify the probable shortcomings within the candidate & become a better candidate by rectifying those mistakes. But many people after facing rejection for a post whether it is a new job or a promotion fall into depression & view things as the only black. They just fail to see any hope & positive side effect & thus lose energy to work hard.

5. Skills take a backseat

The worried person forgets that he or she had remarkable skills for which there used to be genuine appreciation from every corner in the office. When there is too much worrying over an issue in the workplace, the desire to show supremacy is lost. Stressing at first does not help to acquire anything productive & then it takes away the zeal & skill of a person.

So these are some ways through which a previously productive person can lose it to the dark state of stress. It has to be remembered that things will not always be favorable in the workplace, there will be a tough time, and certain people will be arrogant, disrespecting towards your ideology, still, there should be stronghold over yourself not to let these things put you into stress. You just have to keep in mind that, things will not go according to my will always & it is absolutely fine to learn to work & be happy in a situation that is not in my favor because that is how we grow.

Author:  Abu Md. Abdullah 
Assistant Professor 
Faculty of Business Administration 
Eastern University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Email: abdullah@easternuni.edu.bd

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