14 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Communication Skills
Report Story The ability to communicate is one of the most important skills we can learn. It guides everything we do, whether we’re communicating at work to meet deadlines and complete tasks or interacting with friends, family, and partners to form meaningful bonds.
It’s no surprise that poor communication is at the root of so many problems. Effective communication skills are not taught in school; instead, we must learn them from the people around us. Unfortunately, we are prone to developing negative habits unless we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by exceptional communicators. So, let’s get started. The following are the most important, yet often overlooked, communication skills:
1. Spend some time alone thinking.
Isn’t it strange that the first step toward improving your workplace communication skills is to stop talking? Nothing can be improved unless it is thoroughly examined. So go somewhere alone and reflect on what you’re doing. How are things going at work?
How could you improve your communication skills in various situations?
You were graded based on how well you performed in school, and that grade served as a baseline. Assess your own communication skills to see what you do well and where you can improve. We should all check in with ourselves on a regular basis, regardless of how good our communication skills are, because we can all improve. However, don’t forget to congratulate yourself when you succeed. No one can grow unless they are encouraged! Spend some time alone thinking about what you do well and what you could improve at work to improve your communication skills.
2. Understand the fundamentals of nonverbal communication.
In one study, nonverbal communication was found to account for 55% of how an audience perceived a presentation. That is, the majority of what you say is communicated through physical cues rather than words.
As a result, it is self-evident that nonverbal communication should be prioritized. Nonverbal cues and signals, if mastered, can help you avoid miscommunication and signal interest to those around you. Pay attention to your facial expressions and body language when conversing with someone in a business setting.
Your nonverbal cues have an impact on the first impression you make on someone. Maintaining eye contact, limiting hand motions, and maintaining good posture are all important when meeting someone for the first time. You should also adopt an appropriate posture in order to communicate effectively and convincingly.
Slouching, folding your arms, and making yourself appear smaller than you actually are are all bad habits to avoid. Instead, fill the space you’re given, maintain eye contact, and (if appropriate) employ old-fashioned mannerisms. I know it appears archaic, but trust me when I say it works.
3. Excessive communication
We frequently deceive ourselves into thinking we are communicating clearly when we are not. In a Stanford University study, half of the participants were asked to tap the rhythm or melody of a hundred and twenty well-known songs. In the second half, participants were asked to guess which famous song the quote-on-quote “tappers” were tapping.
On average, the tappers expected half (50%) of the songs they tapped to be correctly guessed. Surprisingly, only 3% of the 118 songs were correctly identified.
This study taught us an important lesson: sometimes what we thought we were saying clearly wasn’t. But how are we going to get there? This is where storytelling, hand gestures, and other visual cues come into play. There are many ways to communicate more clearly, but the best way is to provide multiple perspectives on the same issue on a regular basis so that others can see it from all sides.
4. Do not rely on visual aids.
Steve Jobs made it a rule at Apple that no PowerPoint presentations were permitted. Similarly, Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook, has prohibited the use of PowerPoint. Both leaders discovered that PowerPoint presentations are more likely to obstruct rather than facilitate communication. Prepare to use words, compelling narrative, and nonverbal cues to communicate your message to the audience. Use visual aids only when absolutely necessary.
5. Initiate a discussion with the audience.
Regardless of how engaging the speaker is, all audiences have a limited amount of time to pay attention. To improve your communication skills, make presentations and discussions more interactive. In order to pique the audience’s interest, pose a question to the audience, encourage people to share their ideas during a brainstorming session, or at the very least, pose hypothetical questions.
6. Include key points at the beginning and end of each paragraph.
Consider the previously mentioned “tappers and listeners” study. The importance of effective communication cannot be overstated. Reiterate key points at the start and end of a presentation to ensure that the audience understands the main points. This can also be accomplished by providing participants with a one-pager containing key ideas for them to consider throughout the presentation.
7. Learn the art of timing.
While some of their jokes may be offensive in the workplace, standup comedians are excellent communicators. Comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle are able to produce riveting 90-minute comedy shows because they have mastered the art of timing.
Good comedians, like any good communicator, can read their audience to know when to move on to a new topic or when to repeat a thought. 8. Share your revised ideas. Inform someone if you believe they are incorrect. If you believe someone is correct or has done a good job, praise them. If you believe you have more to offer, please share it. It is beneficial to actually communicate and to do so on a regular basis in order to become a better communicator. Say what you’re thinking and feeling, but only what you’ve already considered.
Why would you reveal your innermost feelings to those (presumably) most important to your success? You wouldn’t send the first draught of an essay to a publisher, so why would you speak your raw thoughts to those (likely) most important to your success?
Why, on the other hand, wouldn’t you share your thoughts with those closest to you, the ones who have the most influence over your success? Wait to speak, but be deliberate when you do. To improve your workplace communication skills, constructively express your opinions and ideas to those around you.
9. Your body language is just as important as what you say.
Body language is mostly automatic, and it communicates how we are emotionally at any given time. Body language, on the other hand, communicates how you’re feeling to others, sometimes revealing feelings we don’t want to show, such as a lack of confidence. The good news is that you can control your body language by sitting up straight rather than hunching, spreading your shoulders rather than slouching, or striking a “power pose” akin to your favourite superhero behind closed doors before an important meeting.
You’ll not only improve your communication skills, but you’ll also gain confidence in adopting a stronger physical position. Maintaining an open stance (i.e., not crossing your arms and facing your chest towards the person you’re conversing with) and maintaining eye contact are also important criteria for effective body language when communicating.
10. Plan out what you’re going to say before you say it.
We build better discussions when we take the time to let our thoughts fully process, just as we do when we wait for concrete to cure. You are forced to slow down when you write your thoughts down by hand. It aids understanding of what you’re attempting to communicate. It also allows you to see what you have been thinking about. Writing helps you think more clearly because it teaches you to think more clearly. You’ll naturally spend more time thinking about what you’re going to say, and your words will almost certainly be more thoroughly edited before anyone hears them.
Because you’ve already practised, you’ll be able to communicate your ideas more effectively when you share them with your coworkers and colleagues. To improve your communication skills, write down your thoughts before sharing them at work.
11. Master Talking on the Phone
Phones are no longer primarily used to make phone calls, and Millennials prefer texting to chatting. Even so, demonstrating that you can successfully handle phone conversations is an important aspect of communication. Because the person on the other end of the line can’t see your face or read an emoji, your tone of voice is critical. When conversing with a customer or coworker, your tone of voice should be respectful and decency. You can get a lot of phone calls, but you really need to know how to handle an unexpected call when someone is calling about a bad situation.
You must be able to keep your cool while conveying to the caller that you are paying attention and that you care. Callers, for example, want to be able to relate their storey to those working in customer service or public relations, and it is up to those listening on the other end to understand their situation and take appropriate action. In a world where customers can share their negative customer service experiences on social media, having a strategy in place to respond when someone is dissatisfied is an important part of communicating brand defence.
12. Practice speaking on the spur of the moment.
When a lawyer presents a case to a judge, he or she frequently speaks on the spot. That is, the lawyers make a list of topics they want to cover but do not memorise everything they will say. This type of communication allows lawyers presenting a case to cover all of the important issues while also adjusting their communication style in response to audience reactions or inquiries. Business communicators should consider extemporaneous speaking. It takes practise, but it will allow you to communicate more naturally and engage your audience.
13. Master the art of listening (really listen, not just stay quiet)
Listening attentively is one of the most important components of communication, if not the most important. Because communication entails engaging with others and sending messages, focusing solely on being a good talker will only get you so far.
To some extent, listening is a skill that develops naturally as a person refines their communication skills, as it becomes clear that understanding what the other person is saying and experiencing is necessary in order to communicate effectively.
It must, however, be a conscious effort. When conversing with another person, pay attention not only to what they say, but also to their body language and emotions. When communicating, you can pick up on nonverbal cues that tell you how the other person is feeling and reacting to your words.
Communication is one of the most important skills, so investing in improving your communication skills will pay dividends. Use these simple strategies to improve your communication skills and reap the benefits of being a better communicator in your personal and professional life.
14. Know exactly who you’re talking to.
Last but not least, be aware of who you are speaking with. The tone and approach you take to connect with your audience can be influenced by their profile. Speaking to a group of medical professionals sounds different than speaking to a group of creative writing students.
Before you begin your speech, take some time to assess your audience. This will help you perfect your speech and build a strong momentum that will keep your audience’s attention.
Communication with others necessitates knowledge and confidence, both of which can be gained through practise. Sharpen your skills as soon as possible in order to land your dream job! To summarise, one of the most valuable skills you can develop as a corporate leader, or in any position, is the ability to communicate effectively.
When communicating, remember to use both nonverbal and vocal cues. Pay attention to what others have to say and overcommunicate in unique ways to ensure that the material of the conversation resonates with the audience.