How To Improve Communication Skills
Updated 12 July 2023
Possessing good communication skills is crucial on both personal and professional front. The ability to express yourself with confidence and clarity can benefit you in many ways. You will be able to build stronger relationships and be better placed to achieve your goals. You will find it easier to cope with your role in your organisation and also deal with many other situations that you might encounter in your life.
In this article, we will find out how to improve communication skills and why they are important.
Improve Communication Skills
You can improve your communication skills by doing an honest self-assessment, noting the areas in which you lack and taking proactive steps to improve your shortcomings. You will need to work on your personal communication skills along with your professional ones. Let us examine how you can do better in both aspects.
Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Tips)
How to improve your personal communication skills
Following are the ways that may benefit to improve your personal communication skills:
Understand your emotional quotient. To communicate well, first understand yourself and how you react to things. By cultivating honest self-awareness, you will be able to develop better self-control and self-discipline. You will be able to become more emotionally stable and that can be useful for improving your interactions with other people and, thereby, your communication skills.
Develop the ability to observe and listen. Good communication is about mutual interaction and you should learn to let the other person speak and listen to what they are saying. They may not always express what they think, but you can get an idea from their tone, expression and body language. By observing how people act, react and speak, and understanding their non-verbal cues, you will be able to respond in a better way to them, establish trust and practice more meaningful conversations.
Make eye contact. Looking at the other person in the eye from time to time will reassure them that you are paying attention to them and listening to what they are saying. It will also encourage them to reciprocate and convince them of the seriousness of what you are expressing to them.
Be clear in your speech. For the sake of establishing good communication, take care that there is no ambiguity in your speech. Speak slowly, if you must, and enunciate every word. Ask the other person if they understand what you are saying. Clarify anything that they do not understand.
Be tactful. Being tactful is also an essential aspect of being a good communicator. People will be open to hearing even unpleasant facts if you can phrase them with tact. Good communicators can sense how someone will react and can tailor their speech to get their point across.
Be positive and cooperative in attitude. People will be more willing to listen to you or tell you what you want to know if they like your attitude. By being positive, cooperative and respectful in your attitude towards other people, you will be able to make them feel more comfortable around you. They will then be more likely to open up to you.
Watch your body language. Since people will take cues from your body language, you need to be careful about how you present yourself when you are communicating with someone in person or on video. It is a good idea to record yourself and observe how other people might perceive you. Watch how you stand or sit, how you move your arms and hands and how you orient your body. Note your facial expressions and head movements. You will need to align your body language with your spoken one to improve your communication skills.
Talk without distractions. Mute or switch off your phone when you are conversing. It is respectful to the other person to keep your phone put away so you can focus while they are talking to you. If you are talking to them, avoid distractions so you can get your point across well.
Participate in social events. Attending various social events will provide you with ample opportunities to meet and interact with different types of people. You will be able to observe and study their behaviour and learn from them. You will also learn how to use varied communication techniques to get the most out of your interactions.
Related: Types of Barriers in Communication
How to improve your professional communication skills
To improve your professional communication skills, you can do the following:
Know your audience. Depending on who the audience is and what the occasion is, you can use different communication approaches. For instance, if you are speaking with your colleagues in the office, you should use a different method than if you are discussing a project with them during a meeting. Ideally, present yourself more formally with seniors, managers and clients.
Use examples or stories to make your point. Generate more interest in what you are saying if you use examples or stories to make your point. They can be factual, serious or humorous. They will enable people to understand you better. Additionally, your listeners will be more likely to remember what you said.
Repeat key points. Note down the key points of a subject you want to discuss in a meeting or in a speech you are giving. To make sure that your listeners get the gist of your talk, you can repeat the key points at the start and also at the end. Explain the importance of these points and why the audience should take them seriously.
Follow up on a discussion. If you are expecting an outcome after a discussion, it is a good idea to follow up with an email, message, note or phone call. Repeat the points you discussed to remind the other person of what was said. Ask them if they are willing to respond.
Remain calm and collected. People will be more likely to listen to you and respond to you if you come across as calm and collected, especially during a difficult conversation. If you need to gather your thoughts or emotions, it will be better to step away and continue the discussion at a later point.
Stay on topic. Be mindful of your and other people's time and avoid digressing during a work-related conversation. Stay on topic and ask your colleagues to do so as well. Be well-prepared for a meeting and ask the right questions to get the relevant answers. Take notes or record the proceedings to avoid forgetting any details that you might need later.
Use different communication approaches. Using different communication approaches can improve workplace discussions. You can address your team one-on-one or in a group, in person or online and send an email, phone or video message. You can organise slide and video presentations. You can conduct a survey on which approach people prefer and use more of that to communicate with them.
Why Are Communication Skills Important?
Communication skills are important as they can impact almost every facet of your life. We are social beings, and we need to get along with other people to live well. The level of your communication skills will determine how successful you will be in your personal and professional interactions. And that, in turn, will determine the quality of life you will have.
Here are some reasons to develop your communication skills:
They are necessary for the workplace. Employers are more likely to hire people with good communication skills, as those are vital for work interactions. You may be required to speak with clients about their projects or collaborate with your colleagues on on-going projects. Both involve exchanging information and participating in discussions, and good communication skills make a good impression and get the work done.
They can improve your career prospects. People will look up to you and be ready to listen to you if you can communicate well. That will make you a good candidate for positions that require more responsibilities. You will be able to advance in your career and receive a higher salary.
They can help you to acquire new skills. Being able to communicate well will enable you to interact with people who know more than you. They can give you professional ideas and tips, inform you about career opportunities and also direct you to study programs that can improve your career prospects.
They can enhance your relationships. To progress in your career, you need to be able to build and maintain strong relationships with your clients, colleagues, seniors and other professionals in your field. With good communication skills, you will be able to make a better impression on everyone you meet.
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