9 Effective Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills
Communication is a universal skill that every human being requires to survive. It helps us pass information, learn new things, converse with others, build relations, influence people, negotiate agreements, argue cases and opinions, and the list is endless. However, it is important that good communication is effective and brings about real change.
Here are 9 tips that can help you become an effective communicator.
1. Use Non-Verbal Cues:
Did you know that over 80% of all communication happens non-verbally? Non-verbal communication includes cues such as body movement and postures, facial expressions, gestures, physical distance, eye contact, and much more.
These play a vital role in ensuring that what you wish to communicate is interpreted correctly by the person on the receiving end. Pay attention to how you stand, make confident eye contact, use facial expressions and voice modulation that reflects your emotions to ensure that your message is crystal clear.
2. Add Key Points at The Beginning and The End:
The beginning and the ending of a conversation are when people’s attention is completely on you. All of us tend to let our minds occasionally wander mid-conversation and find ourselves missing out on some of the things that were said. Thus, mentioning the most important points at the beginning and end to ensure that nothing essential is lost out in case of an inevitable distraction.
3. Know Your Audience:
Each of your audiences has unique needs that you need to cater to. The differences can range from age, culture, language, and more. Learning who your audience is will help you construct your message appropriately so that the information isn’t lost out, or oversimplified, and ensures that it is tailored to your listeners’ needs.
4. Be A Good Listener:
Every effective communicator is a good listener. Developing keen listening skills helps you pick up interesting things, understand what the other person is saying, ask relevant questions to gain more information, and give appropriate responses to their follow-ups. You can also pick up different styles of communicating through this by observing and learning from others.
5. Get Honest Feedback:
Feedback is a crucial tool for improvement. Honest, constructive feedback can help you know your strengths, weaknesses, and other areas of improvement. It is important to ask someone who can give you unbiased feedback. It could be a mentor, teacher, peer, or even a subordinate. Work on your areas of improvement and take feedback regularly so that you improve consistently. Cultivate a willingness to grow and improve.
6. Engage Your Listeners:
It’s important to ensure that your audience is engaged and actively listening. You can achieve this by making your interactions audience-centric. Involve them with general questions, a little humor, invite opinions, encourage questions from them, and again, ask them for feedback. Keeping your listeners involved ensures that they remain engaged.
7. Know What Not To Say:
Just like Claude Debussy explained,
“It's the silence between the notes that holds the key to all music,”
the key to effective communication is knowing what to filter and omit. Different things make appropriate conversations for different interpersonal settings.
For example, a corporate setting requires more formal exchanges, and informal language and conversations may be avoided. However, grabbing lunch with a friend is a more casual setting that allows you to skip the courteous small talk and enjoy a heartfelt and personal conversation.
8. Keep Your Message Crisp:
Clarity is essential when conveying a message. Too much embellishment or a lot of fancy words may deter you from getting your point across. Keep your message simple, clear, and concise.
The adage "practice makes perfect" should not be taken lightly. Practice communicating. Whether it's speaking in front of a mirror to observe how you appear to others or making casual small talk with the person sitting next to you on the subway, practice communicating more. This will help you boost your confidence and make you a better communicator on the whole.
While these methods aren't hard and fast rules and certainly aren't exhaustive, they're tried and tested methods that have proven time and again to be the most effective ways to become a better communicator. So now it's time to go put these tips to good use, and better yourself as a speaker and communicator!
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Surabhi Paraki is a Journalism and Communications student at Jain University. She is also an activist and a content writer at the International Youths Organization for Peace and Sustainability.
Inputs and Edits by Sovena Ngeth.