Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn’t communicate with someone and the result was bad? If so, what happened? What did you learn from this experience?
Communication is the way we talk to other people, it’s how we share information. Therefore communication skills are important because a lack of skills can lead to misunderstandings and incorrect conclusions about what the other person is thinking or planning to do.
If you are having trouble in communication, here are 9 ways can improve your communication skills.
Table of Contents
1. Be an Effective Listener
Make sure you pay attention when someone is speaking to you. Making eye contact and listening to what the person says shows them that you respect their opinion, even if it’s different than yours.
When communicating in conversation or public speaking, show the speaker that you are listening by summarizing the main points of what they have said. Show interest by asking them questions about what they are telling you and encouraging them to talk more by asking follow-up questions.
2. Maintain a Positive Attitude and Smile
It is important to maintain a positive attitude and smile when communicating with someone. If you approach the conversation with a negative attitude, it will create tension and your words may not come across as clearly as you want them to. If you communicate by smiling, this can also help ease the flow of communication and the other person will understand what you mean more easily.
3. Be Receptive to Feedback
When communicating, it’s important to be open to hearing other people’s opinions and thoughts. If you are open to their ideas it shows that you respect them and value their input. It also gives the person listening to the opportunity to ask questions so that they can learn more about what you have said.
Taking time to understand the other person’s ideas and opinions also makes for a more productive conversation.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what they are saying, or even disagree with them politely if you feel the need. Don’t worry about asking for clarification if you don’t understand something. If you do this, then both people will get their points across clearly, which will lead to more productive communication.
4. Don’t be Judgmental
When speaking, don’t judge the person you are talking to or their ideas. This can be a problem because it often leads people who disagree with you to get defensive and close themselves off from what you’re saying. Don’t label things by calling them “dumb” or “crazy.” And avoid using phrases like “you always,” which can make people feel as though they are being attacked.
5. Know Your Audience
Pay attention to the language you will use when communicating with different people. If you are talking with your boss, you may want to use more formal language. However, if you’re talking with your friends, you might want to speak in a less formal manner. The same holds true for the tone of voice that you choose. If you are talking with someone who has higher authority than you, it’s best to refrain from using casual language or slang words.
6. Think Before Speak
Before you speak, it’s important to think about what you are going to say. Have clear goals in mind before speaking to others. Think of specific things that you want to communicate and stick with those goals.
When communicating with people, avoid interrupting them or talking over them. Instead, wait until they have finished speaking before responding. Notice when they are finished talking and then respond with your thoughts.
7. Be Brief, but Specific
When we communicate we often give too much information at one time, and the result is confusion and miscommunication. When communicating, it’s important to be precise in what you are trying to say. Try not to give too much information at once.
Instead, choose the most essential points you want to make and communicate them one at a time. Avoid using vague language because this can leave room for interpretation. When possible, show examples of what you are talking about to make your point clearer.
8. Using Body Language
Body language can make yourself easily understood by your listeners. This can be especially useful if you are communicating with a person whose English is not good or the things you’re saying are complex.
9. Record yourself communicating
Try recording yourself communicating with someone. You can do this by using your phone. Play the recording back and forth and pay attention to what you say. You might notice some areas where you could improve your communication skills by saying something differently the next time.
If you follow these communication skills, you’ll find that it is easier to get your point across, and others will more likely to communicate with you.