10 Ways To Improve Your English Communication Skills
Updated 7 November 2022
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Having good English communication skills is necessary across many industries and job roles. The ability to express yourself clearly and confidently can help you on a personal and professional front. Regardless of your existing skills, you are required to work on your English communication to advance in your career. In this article, we discuss the importance of improving your communication skills in English, explore the basic and top 10 communication skills and outline some strategies for how to improve your English communication.
Related: How To Improve Speaking Skills In English (With Tips)
What Is The Importance Of English Communication Skills?
English communication skills are important because they can impact almost every facet of your life. Your proficiency in the language determines how successful you are in your personal and professional interactions. Here are a few reasons why this skill set is important:
Helps in the workplace: Being able to communicate in English is an essential skill for most workplaces. As you interact with customers, team members and other business stakeholders, employers prefer candidates with strong command over English.
Improves career prospect: Being able to communicate and write in English is essential for getting a job and advancing in your career. From writing a resume to answering questions during the job interview, this skill set can make you the best-fit candidate for a job.
Helps learn new skills: Effective communication in English influences your ability to learn and acquire new skills. Being able to communicate effectively helps you interact with your colleagues, managers and stakeholders, and you can learn new skills. For example, if you are good at writing blogs, you can quickly learn how to write effective emails to your colleagues or managers.
Increases employment prospects: Employers prefer hiring candidates with good communication skills in English because such candidates can easily convey their thoughts and ideas to their team members.
Related: 12 Communication Benefits For The Workplace (Plus Tips)
What Are The Basic Communication Skills?
Basic communication skills are necessary for effective communication in any environment, especially in your workplace. It includes the following skills:
Reading is the ability to interpret and comprehend written communication. It involves the ability to recognise words and extract the exact meaning from them. In the workplace, reading involves comprehending complex business reports and work-related documents. It is less about skimming words and more about understanding the intent of the writer or author.
This involves your written communication skills. In your job, you may be required to write daily. This includes writing memos, reports, minutes of the meeting or emails. Developing your writing skills would help you write concisely and communicate your ideas to your readers.
Listening is the ability to comprehend someone else's verbal communication. Listening includes understanding what the words they say mean. To communicate effectively, give others time and space to convey their thoughts. Listening is much more than hearing conversations. It is about offering complete attention, carefully processing information and responding emphatically.
This is the ability to share ideas clearly and effectively through your words, voice, tone and pitch. For example, when speaking to colleagues, you would have a polite tone, but you might use a different tone when asking questions. Speaking clearly reduces the instance of miscommunication, as you can convey your meaning and intention.
Related: Top Communication Skills For A Resume (With Examples)
What Are The Top 10 Communication Skills?
The top 10 communication skills are:
Ability to use different communication methods
Understanding non-verbal cues
Giving and receiving feedback
Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples
How To Improve Your English Communication Skills?
Taking time to improve your English communication can be extremely rewarding. If you are struggling to express yourself, focus on these strategies to improve your skills:
1. Reduce your speaking speed
You may be an articulate speaker in your mother tongue, but maintaining the same fluency and proficiency when communicating with others in English can be challenging. To overcome this difficulty, it is essential to slow down or reduce your speaking speed. This way, you can send the right message to your listeners and communicate effectively. Also, with good speaking speed, you can keep yourself focused, giving you enough time to think about what you want to say.
2. Practice with a conversation partner
If possible, practice your verbal communication skills with someone who has high proficiency level or someone who is a native speaker of English. If you do not find anyone in your immediate network, you can always look for online conversation partners or visit language exchange sites. Practicing with such a partner can help you identify words you say incorrectly and improve your vocabulary. This can also help improve your written communications skills.
3. Record the conversations
When trying to improve your speaking abilities, you are likely to make mistakes. One way to overcome this is by recording your conversations. This allows you to listen to the recorded conversations and understand what mistakes you made while speaking. This also helps you track your progress and understand areas where you require to improve. You can even keep a record of your written communication, like emails and messages, to discover where you can improve.
4. Practice with videos and music
You can choose to listen to music or watch movies in English to relax your mind while improving your English-speaking skills. To further enhance your skills, watch movies in your mother tongue with English subtitles that you can read.
Related: Verbal Communication Examples in the Workplace (With Tips)
5. Read aloud
If you prefer reading over speaking, try to read a newspaper or book aloud. That way, you understand how you pronounce words and can identify proper grammar and sentence structure. Also, reading aloud improves your information processing skills, comprehension and vocabulary. It can also help you improve your ability to interpret written words.
6. Focus on pronunciation
Using digital tools and online dictionaries, you can pick up the right pronunciation of words. For example, words like "aisle" and "island" are pronounced with the "s" silent. These online dictionaries and tools use technology that speaks words aloud for you to pick up the right pronunciation. Knowing the pronunciation helps you send the right message and ensures that your audience understands you.
7. Learn sentences instead of words
When learning a new word, take some time to memorise two to three sentences that contain the new word. This is important because you may know the meaning of the word but struggle to use it appropriately in a sentence when conversing with others. Understanding the context of every word is key to becoming an effective English communicator. Also, when you learn a new sentence, you get the confidence to use it without worrying about what word it goes with.
8. Improve your listening skills
A crucial part of any communication is listening. Always remember that communication is not synonymous with talking or speaking. Listening is as important as talking. When you start a conversation in English with your team members, you are required to be capable of listening and responding thoughtfully. So, improve your active listening skills to understand the words and sentence structure your team member is using.
Related: Active Listening Skills: Definition and Examples
9. Enroll in an online English course
To build your vocabulary and improve your speaking and writing skills, enroll in an online self-study course. Such courses give you access to unlimited course materials and activities that can sharpen your skills. Also, with self-study courses, you can study at your own pace and improve your English proficiency. Many classroom courses can improve your proficiency. Based on your convenience, choose a course that provides the best return on investment.
10. Improve your body language
As a beginner, you may not feel confident when communicating in English. This affects your body language. Your body language is an excellent tool for building the mood of a conversation or presentation. So, use non-verbal communication cues like eye contact and facial expressions. It can help you speak confidently and ensures that your audience accepts your message.
Related: How To Improve Communication Skills
Tips For Effective Communication In English
Here are three tips to help you communicate in English:
Count your filler words. Overusing filler words like "um", "err", "you know" or "like" can make your communication less effective. So, have a mental count of your filler words and, if possible, replace them with a pause.
Write down your mistakes. When you make mistakes, either while writing or speaking, write them down. Revisit these mistakes to understand your progress.
Learn a new word each day. To expand your vocabulary and become an effective communicator, try to learn a new word daily and use it in a sentence.
Related: 5 Communication Skills Interview Questions And Answers
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