How to Improve Your Communication Skills?
Improvement in Communication Skills is one of the most sought after question, especially among youths. It is also debatable to some extent considering the explosion on the internet with all kinds of articles, videos trying to answer this with no congruency among them at all. It is easy to get confused as what is actually required to improve the communication skill.
To make things more clear let’s begin by defining “communication skills” and organizing it into its individual components.
“Communication is simply a way to exchange information and thoughts. So all such attributes that facilitate sharing of knowledge and thoughts effectively comes under communication skills”
Essential attributes for effective communication:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that listening skill is the most important skill in order to be a good communicator. Being a good listener helps you comprehend what the other person is trying to say. Nobody likes talking to people who only care about putting forth their own point of view. A person who listens patiently and actively tries to get other’s point of view is automatically liked by people and is considered more social.
This is especially important if you are preparing for interviews or public speaking. As humans, we convey a lot more with our body language and gestures than we ever could by words and speech. The tone of voice, eye-contact (not the creepy stare), hand gestures and body language are all very important. Having open stance and relaxed and friendly tone makes you more approachable. Also, it helps others form a basic level of trust with you.
Paying attention to non-verbal signals of the other person is also something you should look out for while you are talking as it tells you how they are feeling.
Example: If the other person is not maintaining eye-contact, he/she might be feeling uncomfortable.
When it comes to communication, clarity is important. Always try to put forth your point in a clear and concise manner. Saying too much or too little will most likely confuse the listener and reduce their attentiveness. This is true whether you are having a one-on-one conversation or via telephone or even email. This is especially important for public speakers.
This is a very important skill in general and even more so when it comes to communication. You should actually believe in what you are saying in order to make an impact on the listener. The confidence is reflected not only in your tone of voice but also in your body language and gestures and people pick it up instantly. Developing confidence is a prerequisite for anyone in general and even more so for leaders, managers and public speakers.
Another upside of having confidence is it helps enhance your non-verbal communication skills.
Being strong in the medium of communication and having knowledge about the subject of discussion will help you put your perspective with more confidence. Know that confidence is a skill and like any other skill, it can be developed.
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Empathy and respect:
It is necessary to be empathetic and respectful towards other people. In fact, it is so important that it dictates the kind of interaction you have with your subordinates, peers and your superiors and yet it is often ignored. Being polite yet assertive is a powerful combination. It makes you a better leader. Being open-minded and seeing things from different perspectives helps you connect with your audience better.
Above mentioned are essential skills that if practiced, will help you drastically improve your communication skills. However, it is important that all the above-mentioned skills go hand-in-hand meaning they work best when you practice all of them together. Being good at any one or two of these is not sufficient to improve your communication and interpersonal skills.