When you were in school, you were taught proper grammar and other communication basics. However, once you venture into the real world, it is likely that you no longer think about ways to improve your communication skills.
You may not be aware of it but the importance of having impeccable communication skills cannot be overstated. Knowing how to effectively get your message across will not only make a massive difference in your interpersonal relationships, it can also greatly affect other areas of your life.
Your ability to communicate effectively can provide big payoffs over time. Undoubtedly, polishing your communication skills will entail both time and effort but the rewards are well worth it.
Dramatically improve your communication skills by keeping in mind the following basics:
Put devices away. While this may come across as a given, many still commit this seemingly harmless communication blunder. However, if you want to communicate effectively, you need to give the person you are talking to your undivided attention.
In other words, you don’t check pings, notice vibrations, or answer calls. Let it all pass and focus your attention on the other party talking. Keep in mind that your words, emotional tone, and body language can be picked up by the other person. It will help them gauge if you are really taking in whatever it is that they are sharing.
Read. Reading can give you a crystal clear insight into how others write, how they articulate their ideas, and how they present information. Try to read anything you can get your hands on.
There’s no shortage of reading materials you can learn from (magazines, blogs, novels, newspapers, sales brochures, to name a few). The more you read, the more you will understand effective communication.
Make eye contact when talking. Some people are not really comfortable making eye contact with others. However, making eye contact is crucial if you want to have a meaningful communication.
Making eye contact will not only help you effectively connect with the other person, it will also help build rapport. Without eye contact, you will give the other party the impression that you are bored, not interested, or you don’t care.
Don’t shy away from asking questions. Asking questions will not only let the other person know you are listening; it will also help you understand better what the other person is saying.
Asking questions also indicates respect. It means you were paying attention and you want to completely understand the message they want to convey.
Record yourself. Recording a conversation would be a good way to gauge your communication skills. Do you talk too fast or too slow? Do you use a lot of conversation fillers? Do you stutter? Do you use the same words over and over again?
Recording a conversation can help you see clearly areas you need to improve on. Once you have made the necessary adjustments, record your conversation again and check if you are making progress.
Practice. If you are going to have a serious or difficult conversation with someone, it would help if you practice first. Role-playing can help you prepare for challenging and emotionally-charged discussions or conversations. Practicing ahead can also help build your confidence so you are able to handle the real one better.
Look for someone you can trust and practice carrying out that difficult conversation with them. You can try 4 to 5 times or until you feel more confident. You can also ask for feedback so you will know what to work on.