Has this ever happened to you that you are in a large crowd where you do not know anyone, and you are supposed to make friends with them? All of those people all around you and you ready to talk to you, but you feel a little bit alienated just because you don’t know how or what to speak to them?
Or you have been in a business meeting with everything ready from strategy to planning, but you weren’t able to convince your client just because you couldn’t communicate your perfect idea correctly to them?
Well, you are not alone. A lot of people suffer due to a lack of miscommunication, and no one is born with it. Improving communication skills is about exposure and practice, and once you start growing slowly, you will recognize the difference in people and the way they communicate around you.
A lot of us lack confidence and think that this isn’t for us, but remember, anyone can acquire excellent communication skills, and when I say anyone, I mean it. So below are some ways I am going to tell you about to make sure that you do not freeze while you have got a big and foremost thing to communicate.
Why is Communication Skills Important?
Be it in the workplace, business, or even in personal life and relationships, having communication skills is essential and can make or break things for every one of us.
In different aspects of our lives, communication skills play different and very significant roles. Below are some of the examples where communication skills alone can sail your sinking ship. You can improve your personality if you have good communication skills.
In respect to career:
- When you apply for a job interview, to secure the interview, you must communicate everything crisply and clearly in your application so that it gets considered.
- While you are in an interview for a job, it is essential to selling yourself. To make them believe what you can do for their company. And this requires excellent communication skills to make sure that they are convinced that you are the best choice for their company.
- When you are working in a business or a company, you always work with a team of people. And there are still some disagreements with the people you have to work with.
It is essential to discuss and debate things with these people with proper ways so that you can continue to work with them peacefully. Communication skills help you precisely with this.
- To advance in your career, you need to be able to communicate your views and thoughts on things which are essential, because that is the only way to show people that you are a valuable part of the institution and you are not replaceable.
In respect of Personal Life and Relationships:
Everyone has issues in their personal lives and relationships, but many of us do not understand how just communicating with people around us can solve more than half of our problems.
We usually hesitate to talk openly, but once we start talking properly and discuss each and everything with our friends, family, and partners, things always get more comfortable.
What happens once you start communicating?
- Your decision making and problem- solving powers will increase. Because you won’t be working with a single brain anymore.
- When people are working together with full communication between one another and no misunderstanding, there will be an upturn to productivity.
- Convincing and compelling corporate materials are going to become an easy task for you.
- The workflow is more precise and more streamlined once the communication flow is clearer.
- Who doesn’t like a person who can communicate and knows what he or she is talking about? Due to your improved communication skills, your professional image gets enhanced.
- You get to have healthy business relationships.
- And last but not least, you get to have long and healthy friendships and relationships in your personal life.
Identify where You Lack
Not everyone is born with this amazing skill. Most of us lack in the field of communication for different reasons.
Some lack confidence; others just don’t know what to say when. This is not a thing to be ashamed of, and this is just something to work. And to know exactly where you need to work on is always a positive point for your improvement.
- Ask people around you for advice: Talk to your friends, family, and partner. Ask them for their advice and help with your journey to self- improvement. Inquire what they think you should start doing, continue doing, and stop doing.
- Use Self-Assessment tools: There are many Interpersonal self- assessment tools available on the internet, which can help you identify your weak and strong points.
5 Tips for Improving Your Communication Skills
There are four main ways through which you can improve your overall communication skills in every aspect of your life.
1. Learn to Listen
This is the most important thing to do, and most people lack it here. We usually only concentrate on talking our minds out. Whatever comes in our minds, we just speak it out, and that’s it.
We forget that communication is a two- way process, and we forget to listen to responses given to us. We only prepare and think about what we need to answer next.
Skills are the most crucial aspect of improving our communication skills. Listening is not about just hearing. It is about paying attention to the words being spoken to you and how they are being spoken. Listening is about paying complete attention to the non- verbal cues and listening to what’s not being said as well.
Listeners always use the techniques of clarification and reflection to make sure what they have heard is correct. And as it is said that good listeners are good speakers, when you know exactly what’s being said to you with precision, it automatically becomes more natural to respond appropriately and effectively.
2. Studying and Understanding Non- Verbal Communication
Have you ever thought why there are more misunderstandings when you try and communicate over texts or calls than when talking face to face?
is because non- verbal communication makes 80% of the whole communication process. And on texts and calls, it is either reduced or completely absent, which makes it easy for miscommunication.
Verbal communication includes body movement, tone, and pitch of the voice, eye contact, posture, facial expression, and physiological aspects such as sweating. And when you pay attention to all these aspects while communicating, it is always easier to understand better. And if you use non- verbal ways to communicate, it will ensure that your message is being conveyed clearly and consistently.
3. Emotional Awareness and Managing them
Today’s generation is all about being practical and logical and not letting emotion at bay. Emotions eventually get involved, and what we can do is be aware of it and know how to handle and manage it.
Be it positive emotions or negative ones, knowing about them and managing them can be very useful for your way of achieving excellent communication skills.
Your own and others’ emotions are called Emotional Intelligence. It is said that having emotional intelligence is way more important to achieve success in the world than having intellectual information. Understanding and mastering your own emotions is crucial to be able to work well with others.
There are 2 types of skills include personal skills and social skills. Personal skills are self- awareness, self- control and regulation, and motivation. On the other- hand, social skills are empathy.
Self- Awareness: Knowing what you feel and why you feel it so that it becomes easier for you to manage them. Self- awareness includes emotional awareness, accurate self- assessment and self- confidence.
Empathy is about feeling what others feel. It is about feeling with others, understanding, and developing them. Having political awareness and understanding and valuing diversity also gets included in empathy.
4. Questioning Skills
Asking questions is a very crucial skill to have while communicating, and a lot of people usually lack it. Questioning the person you want to talk with establishes a straightforward path for communication and makes the person comfortable. Questioning can be very useful for starting conversations, keeping them going on, and getting new information.
Good questioning skills are considered good listeners because they attentively listen to other people for information rather than speaking themselves.
5. Ways to Send Messages Effectively
The four essential aspects of improving communication skills discussed above are mainly about how to be at the receiving end of a communication channel. But transmitting your message effectively is also essential. Communicating what you exactly mean also needs skills. There are a few basic things to keep in mind while you are trying to communicate your part of the deal:
- Decide what do you want to say and how do you want to say it first. Do not say what instantly comes to your mind because saying the wrong thing can lead to you being misunderstood.
- Knowing and understanding what exactly you want to communicate is very important. That is the only way you can deliver precisely what you wish to, neither confusing yourself nor others. This will avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
- Pay attention to differences in culture, past experiences, and attitudes and consider them while delivering your message. Considering others’ emotions and state is very important while communicating. And do not forget to use simple language as much as possible.
A few things to consider to improve your skills:
- Add Humour: Humour is the best way to establish early connections with your audience. To make them feel comfortable and connected with you is a crucial thing you can do before communicating with them because a person who is relaxed with you will much more easily communicate back with you. Use your humor to break the ice, but make sure that your humor is appropriate according to the situation.
- Know your audience and treat them equally: Each audience is different in terms of cultural norms and attitude. Knowing them before you communicate them can lead to successful negotiations and results.
- and treating your audience equally is also a crucial part. Always consider them as your equals and do not patronize or develop favorites. This will lead to trust and respect between you and your audience.
- Attempt to Resolve Conflict: Always try to resolve conflicts when they arise without being judgemental. Effective communicators always know how to play the role of negotiator effectively and resolving issues smartly.
- Positive attitude and smile: Always stay positive and friendly. Even when you are upset, first calm down before you talk because the way you talk is going to affect the impression you have on your audience. Always stay optimistic, even if the situation does not seem so. Always try and talk with a smile because people still tend to be with people who seem approachable and friendly. They never go with people who seem rude and miserable. And remember, your enthusiasm is always going to affect others’ moods as well, so make sure yours is cheerful.
- Overcommunicate: If you think that you have communicated clearly and the audience has listened and retained all the information, think again. According to research, when we expect that 50% of our audience is listening and communicating effectively, only less than 3% of the audience does that.
- Overcommunicating so that you can captivate your audience and make them listen and understand is essential. Give a different perspective to a single story so that your audience gets to see a different side of the same story. Make them understand so that it is clear to them what is going on, and they do not lose interest.
- Use simple words: If you want to communicate effectively, it is necessary to think about what language and words you are going to use. No audience will listen to you if they don’t understand a word you are saying. Always try and use simple words and sentences which can be followed by all the members of your audience and try and avoid using complex words whose meanings might not be known by some.
- I will make sure that your message is entirely received with full understanding. Do not try and confuse people with big words.
- Reduce Stress: And last but not least, always try to stay calm. Usually, at workplaces, communication scenarios can be very stressful, leading to messy and awful results. Each party should remain calm and focused and always try not to lose their temper to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts/
Always remember that gaining proper communication skills is not a one- day job but a lifelong journey. And remember that there is no perfection here. No one is ever perfect, and once you start learning, there is no end of learning and gaining this skill.
But this is something you can do to improve not just your career but your relationships both at home and work. And once you have this vital skill in your pocket, you should know the little fact that everybody gets impressed with an excellent communicator. To improve yourself and you will surely enjoy the results eventually.
How can I improve my communication skills?
Make communication a priority. Take classes, read books, magazine articles or learn from successful communicators around you. Seek a mentor or coach.
Simplify and stay on message. Use simple, straightforward language. Remember that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was 286 words, about two minutes long.
Engage your listeners or readers. Draw your listeners and readers into the conversation. Ask questions and invite opinions. Solicit their feedback.
Take time to respond. After you’ve listened (and understood) take time to “draft” in your head what you want to say.
Make sure you are understood. Don’t blame the other person for not understanding. Instead, look for ways to clarify or rephrase what you are trying to say so it can be understood.
Develop your listening skills, too. The best communicators are almost always the best listeners. Listen without judgment and don’t be distracted by thinking about what you want to say next. Then, respond, not react.
Body language is important. Studies show that 65% of all communication is non-verbal. Watch for visual signs that your listener understands, agrees or disagrees with your message. And be aware that your body is sending signals, too.
Maintain eye contact. Whether speaking to a crowd or one-on-one, maintaining eye contact builds credibility and demonstrates you care about your listeners.
Respect your audience. Recognize your message is not just about you or what you want. You should sincerely care about the needs and the unique perspectives of those to whom you are communicating. One of the best ways to show your respect is simply by paying attention to what they say.