Are you poor or weak at communication? Then this communication guide is only for you! Read our top 10 tips to improve your communication skills now!
Do you know communication is taught as a subject in major management courses? Well, it includes all the aspects of communication from technical to mannerism. Thus, you can imagine how vital is it to be good at communication for a professional.
Well, the significance of communication skills are not restricted to just the professional life but also in all other dimensions as messages along with expressions are best conveyed through human languages with behaviour. Think of a scenario where you speak a thousand words but the listener doesn’t get the essence of your speech.
Communication doesn’t only involve words or sentences, a language with the grammar. It also involves gestures, expressions, feedback and responses. Do you remember your favourite teacher in your school? And do you remember the teacher who was least liked by all?
The major cause of the difference of liking between both of those faculties is the communication between the teachers and you. Your favourite always gave you space to speak up and encouraged you to share your thoughts. In this way, there are many essential tips which we have sorted for you to work upon.
Effective communication is one of the most important life skills a person can have. Whether you want to have better conversations in your personal or social life or get your ideas across better at work.
Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills
We have sorted top ten tips to improve your communication skills. Majorly communication skills comprise verbal skills, and it is assumed that you are good at language and grammar. Let us directly focus on some key things that you can do to help improve your communication skills.
Show Respect and Appreciation
Why would you like to talk to someone who is always abusive, dominant, argumentative and doesn’t allow you to speak?
It is a natural tendency of the human mind that it likes to talk to someone who is a good listener that is, people like to talk about themselves and their opinions. It doesn’t mean that you should change your mind and accept what is said to you.
Showing respect involves giving room to the second person to share her views with you. Appreciate what you find logical and good when they talk. Accept your mistakes when you make. Don’t raise your voice to prove that you’re right on an issue.
Be grateful that the second person has considered you appropriate to have a conversation. Build a conversation around both of you with the help of positive thoughts. Be polite and humble.
Appreciation and respect can go a long way. People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them in their ideas. Even simple actions, like using the person’s name (of course, with a soft tone) will make them feel appreciated. It’s also important to be respectful and considerate of other people’ time.
Listen actively and Intently
People want to know that they are being heard, instead of just focusing on formulating a response, really listen to what the other person is saying. The person speaking you should be the most important thing at that moment.
Also when you are talking to someone on the phone do not respond to an email or send a text at the same time, the person will know that they don’t have your undivided attention.
You assume that to improve your communication skills it’s really about your ability to speak, right? Well, yes but no, the critical thing about communication is that if you are able to listen intently to the other person. You are able to hear what they are really saying beyond the words that are coming out of their mouths.
You are going to be able to have more value added to the conversation because you are going to be able to say something that is beyond what it is that they are just talking about at a surface level .
Listening keenly doesn’t just mean using your ears and hearing what the person is saying. It is really being able to get a sense of what they are feeling. It’s being able to get a sense of what the other person is trying to express and also what they are not trying to convey.
Ask Questions and Paraphrase
Asking questions will not only help you understand what the other person is saying, but it also indicates that you are actually interested in what they are saying. This opens up the conversation and signals that you want to see them, hear them and understand them.
If you want to show that you really understand, then paraphrasing is a great tool. All you need to do is repeat back to someone what they just said before you comment yourself.
For example: Mike and Steve are conversing about their career,
Mike: “Are you finished with the school already?”
Steve: “No. I have one more semester, but it would be great to have a job lined up.”
Mike: “So one more semester to go!” (This is paraphrasing.)
How does paraphrasing help?
Sometimes you as a listener are not sure of the intention of the speaker. You are not aware of the perception of what is being said to you. Like in the example above, Steve just shared the information that he had one more semester of the school, and he prefers a job immediately after school. It doesn’t imply that he is unhappy with the school or he is too excited to get a job.
Thus questioning and paraphrasing helps in getting the mood of the conversation.
Make Eye Contact and Smile
It’s important that you connect with the person you are talking to, and eye contact is essential when having a meaningful conversation. Looking at the floor or out of the window signifies that you don’t care or bored or aren’t really listening to them.
By looking the other person in the eye, you are approving that you are interested in what they are saying. This also keeps you focused and less distracted. Remember, aggressively looking into the eyes of the second person and not looking at all, both are harmful.
Make eye contact for 3-4 seconds and look at either side of the person then again re-engage yourself. In this way, you’ll be able to make a balance.
While you smile often and exude a positive attitude, people will respond positively to you. Smile even when you are talking on the phone because your positive attitude will shine through, and the other person will know it.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Your verbal and non written cues often reveal more than you think.
Remember that you are constantly communicating even when you are not saying a word.
So, make sure that you have open body language when interacting with others. Face your conversational partner, pay close attention to your gestures and don’t cross your arms. Don’t act like you want to quit the talk in between.
Use your hands and facial muscles. Hand gestures are a great way of showing off self-belief. As mentioned, hand ‘gestures’ are good; unnecessary movements are not. Don’t be expressionless. Show how you feel with the flow of the information during the conversation.
Cut Conversation Fillers
‘Um’ and ‘Ah’ do little to improve your speech or conversations. Cut them out and be more persuasive, and to feel and appear more confident. You should start keeping track of when you say words like ‘’um’ or ‘like’.
When do you need such expressions while talking? When you are not sure of what to speak. There can be reasons behind it like lack of knowledge, lack of judgement, lack of vocabulary or unattentive brain. All these reasons don’t help you in becoming good at communicating.
You can also try merely relaxing and pausing before you speak. Trust me; those silences seem more awkward to you than they do to others. Not everyone’s brain works like a supercomputer. You can take time to process your thoughts and structure your sentences.
It’s better to take a pause and speak slowly than to rush. Work on the language if you are uncomfortable with it. Learn new words, improve your vocabulary. Find out the word for common things and phrases. It requires practice and patience. Keep working on it; you’ll improve with time.
Be Brief, But Specific
“Ram is my best friend, and he is a boy. My best friend’s name is Ram.”
If you are the type of person who writes like the sentence mentioned above only to occupy space, then you need to work hard on your writing skills too.
Communication is not limited to verbal skills; it also includes writing skills. You have a face to add expressions to your speech but an email doesn’t have it.
Be precise with what you want to say when you write as people don’t like to read a story during their busy schedule. Be specific with your details.
And if you’re responding to an email, make sure that you understand what is asked in the received email and what is required in the response.
With enough practice, you will learn not to ramble, or give away too much information. Having said that, you should take the time to edit your messages. If you send the sloppy, confusing email, letter or messages, the recipient will think you don’t care enough to think through your communication with them.
Put Away Devices
Somehow, most people just don’t get this one. But it’s quite rude to have your head buried in your phone while someone’s talking to you. So put down your devices and look at the person who is speaking to you.
Don’t answer calls, check texts or notice vibrations. Let it all pass. Stay focused on what the other person is telling you. Your body language, words and emotional tone will let them know that you are really taking in what they are sharing.
Live in the present. The person you are talking to over a phone doesn’t know about your physical surroundings, she has an option to leave a message, but the person who is in front of you is spending his time on you.
Acknowledge the presence of a person by giving her the top priority. Indirectly you are connected to hundreds of people through your phone that does not mean that you should pay your attention to all those.
Validate Others ‘Thoughts and Feelings’
When someone feels a certain way, they feel that way for a reason; and even if you wouldn’t react the same way, it’s important to acknowledge the emotions they are experiencing.
You don’t have to agree with the other person to validate them. You can make them feel important by simply letting them know that you hear what they are saying, and accept their perspective.
Every time when you have a clash of perception with the other person should not result in an argumentative conversation. Remember,
“Nothing is black or white; everything is a shade of grey.”
Just as you are right at your place, the other person feels right at her place. Accept her thoughts and feelings.
Never Talk Over People
By talking over someone, what you are basically saying is “I don’t care what you are saying and what I have to say is more important.” And this demonstrates a real lack of respect.
On the same note, refrain from finishing people’s sentences for them. By doing this, you are dis-empowering the other person, because you are taking control of the conversation. So, bite your tongue and watch your tone.
While it is sometimes necessary to be assertive in order to make your point, don’t be aggressive. There is a fine line between the two. Try not to cross it. A combative tone is not in any way productive. Be confident and direct, while maintaining a calm, cooperative tone.
Extra tip: Introspect: Talk to your friends and family members. Ask them to point out your flaws and things they don’t like when you communicate with them. They can help you with improving a lot. We don’t accept mistakes of our own.
Take help of your near ones and improve your communicating skills.
You can help yourself by practicing and implementing the above mentioned tips. You need to be little patient with all the procedure to become good at communicating. Happy learning.