10 characteristics of a great communicator

The importance of learning the art of communication
Dialogue is essential for bridging communication gaps. This is why we must constantly develop our communication skills. In this article, we present you with some points that will help improve and develop your communication skills.

The art of communication is defined as a method of dialogue between people and the process of transferring information to produce greater understanding. Being able to clearly express yourself is a skill of great importance for everyday life. Understanding others, and being well understood, whether it’s with friends, family, or colleagues, is crucial for establishing healthy relationships.

Communication skills are one of the most important life skills to learn and is developed with time and through experience. It takes various forms from vocal, written, visual, to non-verbal. All of these are essential soft skills that are vital for a successful career and smooth relationships in your personal life. 

What makes a competent communicator?

A competent communicator is characterized by many skills. Here are 10 points that are essential to being a great communicator. 

  • Respect

Respect is one of the most important things to learn, and can be as simple as paying attention to others and not being distracted in a conversation. Whether you’re communicating with strangers, friends, family or colleagues, respecting a person's opinions, values and culture is vital in maintaining a good dialogue. 

Having respect at all times also helps you deal with dissenting opinions appropriately and tactfully so that the dialogue remains positive and fruitful for both parties. 

  • Listening

Listening is an art, not just a skill. Listening doesn’t only mean giving other parties the opportunity to talk and express themselves and their opinions. It also means allowing yourself to absorb and understand everything that is being said. Through active listening, you’ll be able to pay attention to what others are saying and ask questions when needed, to clear up any ambiguity so that the information is properly understood.

  • Being Concise

Being able to be concise in your communication helps others to connect the topics in a clear sequence, allowing you to flow from one idea to another. When a person speaks excessively and uses a lot of filler words, a listener may just tune out. 

To be able to convey your message in as few words as possible, it’s worth writing it down first. Prioritize your thoughts and make sure they’re as succinct as possible. 

  • Adapting to situations

Adapting your communication style to a situation is key, but it’s also important to find the right method and the right tone. For example, how you approach a work meeting would be different from how you’d converse with friends, and if you need to resign from a job you’ll likely do it in person rather than via email.

Language, tone, and terminology also greatly affect the understanding and receptiveness of your listener. Get to the point, shift your tone to the situation, and emphasize the essential points to ensure a clear understanding. 

  • Mastering and reading body language

Body language is a type of communication that refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to express or convey information. 

According to experts, these nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication, with suggestions it accounts for between 60 to 65% of all communication. 

From our facial expressions to our body movements, the things we don’t say still convey a volume of information. So it’s important to be able to portray the intended message as reflected by your body language, whilst also being receptive and understanding the expressions and emotions of others. 

Al Jazeera Media Center offers an online training course, titled Body Language in Media, that discusses the importance of body language and non-verbal communications in media. 

  • Choose the right time for feedback

In any situation, it's crucial to be able to gauge the appropriate time to provide feedback, express your opinions, and give comments. 

Pick the right moment so the other person will be more receptive to your ideas, taking the necessary time to filter your responses.

If you have feedback, make it constructive rather than negative, so the dialogue doesn’t deviate from the intended purpose and topic.  

  • The skill of posing questions

Questions are essential to any effective and useful dialogue. By asking questions, ambiguities are explained and an open exchange of opinions and personal experiences can take place. 

But, it is important to choose the right time to ask questions. Try not to interrupt a speaker, and actively listen or understand what’s being communicated, sometimes with a little patience, questions are answered in time. 

  • Flexibility and open-mindedness

In life, there are countless situations where you will disagree with someone. It’s important to understand, deal with, and accommodate different points of view rather than simply trying to get your message across. Being open-minded can help the dialogue flow and proceed if the course of the conversation diverges.

  • Persuasion

Persuasiveness is an art of communication, and a great skill to have. In order to be persuasive, you must be well-versed in the subject you’re discussing and present an argument in order to influence a person's attitude, motivation or behaviors. 

There are a number of techniques to improve your persuasion skills, from being able to establish trust and develop credibility to considering your tone of voice and paying attention to body language. 

  • Balanced emotions

When conversing with people, whether it’s through email or verbally, there are times when miscommunication happens and frustrations appear. In these instances, it’s important to keep your emotions balanced, controlling your behavior to ensure an appropriate response to the situation. 


The essence of communication is being able to understand the opinions of others and seek the answers we’re looking for. 

When we engage in dialogue with the aim of informing and learning, we will reap a multitude of benefits that will reflect on our minds, actions, and understanding as a society as well.

Being an effective communicator will help broaden your perspectives, advance your career and create healthy relationships in your personal life. If this article has piqued your interest, the Essentials of Dialogue, by the Tony Blair Foundation For Global Change, is a useful resource for building skills of dialogue and critical thinking amongst young people.


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