9 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

 “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” – Winnie-the-Pooh

What exactly is communication? The simplest definition: Communication is each act of transmitting information. Information in the broadest sense of the word: including thoughts, ideas, feelings, and emotions. As social animals, we communicate in day to day life with spoken words, non-verbal gesture, signs, and symbols. We express our feelings, thoughts by communications. The ability to communicate effectively with others is essential. Communication skills are the fundamental skills needed to succeed in the workplace and career.

Improve Your Communication Skills:

Effective communication is one of the most important life skills we can learn. There are some tools down below that can be practiced to build on or develop your communication skills.

1. Listen

In most conversation, people forget to listen. You are not a good communicator if you don’t listen to others attentively. Nobody will show interest in you if you continue to do that. So, listen actively.

Some ways to actively listen include: listen twice as much as you speak, listen with your whole body, be alert and interested in another person, refrain from interrupting and reflecting back what you have heard.

“Listen More Than You Talk” – Richard Branson

2. Body Language

While having a conversation, it is very important to show open body language. People can read mind by observing body languages. Show open body language.

Don’t cross your arms while talking. Crossing your arms is the visual clue that you are turned-off by what is going on around you. Practice hanging your arms comfortably at your side or bringing your hands together in your lap to show others that you are open to what they are communicating.

Keep your head up and look the person who you are having a conversation within the eyes both when they are talking to you and when you are talking to them. Good eye contact lets others know that you are interested in the conversation.

Do not tap; it is simple. Tapping your fingers, feet, or even a pen indicates stress or impatience.

People know when you are faking a smile so do not even bother trying.  A true smile comes from more than just your mouth.  It can be seen in your entire face including your eyes.

Looking at the ground. This tells people that you are shy or disinterested.

The handshake is one of the most important nonverbal communication clues because it can set the mood for the entire conversation. A firm handshake will give you instant credibility while a weak handshake will make you appear fragile.

You can show empathy with some simple actions of agreement like nodding your head or smiling.  These actions let people know that you are on their side and that you can identify with their plight.  You can even use laughter when appropriate.

Keeping your body straight – to project confidence and energy.

Nail biting is a type of habit that can demonstrate stress, nervousness, or insecurity. Oftentimes people bite their nails without even realizing it.

3. Be Efficient with Your Speaking

Effective conversation is all about quality. Try to remove all types of filler words like, “Uhm, Like, I Guess, Well, Ah, You know” These words bring no value to the conversation and they literally mean nothing. If someone asks you, “What did you do in summer?” Then your answer might be like this, “I HAD A GOOD TIME THIS BREAK. UH… I WENT TO STOLE MANGOES WITH MY BUDDIES FOR THE FIRST TIME …AND UHM. WELL, IT’S ACTUALLY RISKY THAN IT LOOKED YOU KNOW. UH… THAT’S ABOUT IT. I GUESS I HAD FUN.”

Now compare it to this kind of answer, “I AND MY FRIENDS STOLE MANGOES. IT WAS ACTUALLY MY FIRST TIME AND IT WAS RISKY THAN IT LOOKED.”

Notice how the second version is much shorter, but the information being conveyed is the exact same. However, it sounds more confident and even more sophisticated.

4. Pause

The one key to becoming a great conversationalist is to pause before replying. A short pause of three to five seconds after a person stops talking is a classy thing to do in a conversation. When you pause you accomplish three goals simultaneously.

First, you avoid running the risk of interrupting if another person is just catching his or her breath before continuing.

Second, you show the other person that you are giving careful consideration to his or her words by not jumping in with your own comments at the earliest opportunity.

Third, you will actually hear the other person better. His or her words will soak into a deeper level of your mind and you will understand what he or she is really saying with greater clarity.

5. Question for Clarification

Never assume that you understand what the other person is saying or trying to say. Instead, if you have any doubt at all ask, “What do you mean exactly?” and then just pause and wait.

6. Slow Down

When you speak more slowly, your voice has more power and authority. Your listeners have an opportunity to absorb and reflect on what you are saying. You exude confidence. You lend your words greater importance. All powerful people speak slowly, enunciate clearly and express themselves with confidence.

7. Storytelling

Everybody loves stories. Stories are powerful because they activate our brains. When we tell stories to others it helps us to make grow interested in others and shape our thinking and way of life. Talking with another guy by storytelling is effective. People will show interest.

8. Think Before You Speak

Often when you talk to your friends or family, you make a mistake. What kind of mistake? You hurt others feeling. Your speech made your friends getting angry or pissed off. So, at first think, what you are going to say and what would happen then. Prevent yourself to hurt anybody by your speech.

9. Put Away the Distraction

While talking to your audience, using the phone or doing other things is annoying. Speaker should give audience full attention. Otherwise, the audience loses interest in you.

You will not be able to develop this skill in one day. Have to give some time to it & practice again & again.


 

Contributor

Studying at Mawlana Bhashani Science & Technology University, Bangladesh.

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