How To Improve Communication Skills
Basic communication skills
How one can improve Communication Skills, let’s have a look at some basic communication skills that are required in daily life,
The key to effective communication lies in good observation skills. Look at the person you are talking to and observe his/her tone and body language. This will give you a better understanding as in how to start a communication and lead it through.
Practice active listening. This means not just hearing the words of the other person, but also understanding what he or she is trying to convey. Try to listen to the conversation attentively and open-mindedly. Even if there is something you need to say, let the speaker finish before putting your thoughts across. Furthermore, do not forget to maintain polite eye contact during your conversations.
3. Understand the non-verbal cues
Non-verbal communication is communicating through everything but words. This includes facial expressions, body language, the tone of voice and gestures. The subtle ways in which a person behaves can guide you to communicate effectively by mirroring his or her behavior. For example, if the other person is nodding his head, this could mean he/she is actively listening to the conversation. However, a shrug or lack of eye contact may imply a lack of interest.
4. Think before you speak
Before starting a conversation, take a moment to think. Use the pause to articulate your thoughts. Consider a few things like:
- Do I have something meaningful to say?
- Whatever I am saying, is it appropriate for the listener?
- How can I convey the message clearly and in a crisp manner?
Once you have answers to these questions, make sure that you put them across confidently.
5. Speak clearly
Be brief and specific during your conversations. The idea is to convey the essence of your thoughts without giving away too much information or unnecessary information. Do not rush to finish the sentence. Rather, speak slowly and use an occasional pause to make your speech more effective. Also, ensure that you maintain a pleasant tone when speaking.
6. Right attitude
Your attitude determines how people perceive you. Good communicators have a positive attitude and an open mind. This helps them think about a subject from the other person’s perspective and reply accordingly. Speak in a calm and cooperative manner that shows your respect for the listener.
7. Watch your body language
A subset of non-verbal communication, body language includes postures, facial expressions, and hand gestures. Avoid using closed postures such as slouching and crossing your hands during conversations. Try to appear calm and maintain eye contact with the other person. The same gesture can have different meaning depending upon the setting – formal or informal. Hence, adapt your body language accordingly.
8. Avoid distractions
Distractions serve as a barrier to effective communication. It may occur due to external factors such as cell phone or TV. Alternatively, it can be an internal distraction, taking place due to inner conflicts and unwanted thoughts. To converse effectively, it is better to concentrate on one task at a time.
The more you interact with new people, the more you learn about different ways of communicating with others. So, go and get yourself out there. Actively participate in social events that will help you meet like-minded people. For example, you can explore platforms like Meetup, Eventbrite, and Group Spaces. It is an excellent way to increase your connections and meet new people.
The more you read, the more knowledge you gain and the better you become at understanding different topics. Reading also helps in expanding your vocabulary and exposing you to the various sentence structures. A good reader knows how to engage people in conversations and always has something valuable to add to it. You can read books or web content on various different topics of your interest.
11. Be confident
Make sure that you appear confident in your workplace, even when you don’t feel it. There are multiple ways to do it. Speak slowly and evenly during your conversations. Avoid rambling and keep your words as concise as possible. Maintain a calm and relaxed posture. Remember, confidence is an attribute that can be cultivated through practice. So, keep practicing!
12. Ask relevant questions
Workplace communication becomes very easy when you know how the pose the right questions. However, it can be a tough task. Thus, asses a few things before you ask a question: Is your question relevant to the topic? Are you phrasing the question properly? Is it okay to ask the question in a meeting or is it better to ask it in person? etc. Also, know when not to ask a question.
13. Ask for feedback
It is a good idea to ask for feedback from your peers and managers after every meeting or presentation. Honest feedback on your performance can help you realize your shortcomings and work upon them. If you regularly solicit feedback, it will show your employer that you are enthusiastic about learning and will help you create a good impression.
14. Treat everyone equally and Respect everyone
No matter who you are talking to, be respectful and polite in your conversations. Get in the habit of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ whenever needed. Show interest in what is being said. Your occasional nods and little affirmations will not only encourage the other person but will also help you communicate better.
15. End the conversation properly
Give your conversations a proper end. Make sure that the other person has understood what you have been trying to convey. If you are communicating with a large group, summarize the entire conversation and highlight the key points before ending the talk.
16. Build rapport
The best way to build a positive rapport with your audience is to have an honest conversation with them. Keep a smile on your face, use words like ‘I’ and ‘we’, and make eye contact while speaking. It is when you show them that you have their best interest at heart, that your audience actively starts responding to you.