From writing, creativity and leadership skills, effective communication is one of the most important life skills you can learn. Usually, not a lot of effort is put into improving communication skills as many think it’s not important. Whether you want to have better conversations in your social life or in the workplace, learning how to communicate effectively will help.
Communication comes in different forms, it may be vocal, written, visual or non-verbal. You must have the ability to communicate information clearly and accurately. It’s a vital life skill and something you can’t just overlook. It’s never too late to improve this skill as you’ll be needing it for the rest of your life.
It sounds so simple to say what you mean but too often information gets lost in the translation despite your best intentions. For instance, if you say one thing, the other person might hear something else and it’ll end up leading to misunderstandings and conflict. Therefore, it’s always best to have this skill in order to communicate effectively. And when learning it, don’t rush things as it’ll take time to adapt.
Here are four ways on how to improve or learn communication skills.
Become a good listener
People usually focus on what they should say instead of focusing on what the other person has to say. Effective communication is less about talking and more about listening. However, listening well doesn’t just mean you understand the words or information being shared but also understanding the emotions behind the conversation. Always try to show the other person you’re listening by repeating some of the words or phrases they’re saying. Listening also reduces stress and supports the physical and emotional wellbeing. For instance, if the other person is at ease you’ll also be relaxed. Always try to listen in an attentive way by making the other person feel understood. By adapting this communication skill, you’ll soon learn how listening can help you engage with the other person.
Presenting at work or yourself
Many businesses require employees to take on bigger and more diverse areas of responsibility, including attending big meetings, seminars or presenting in front of an audience. Presenting is something many people are afraid of as it can be nerve-wracking at times. Learning the communication skill can help you gain the necessary confidence to speak openly about specific matters. It’ll teach you how to overcome or handle nervous situations and how to speak clearly and openly. Communication is also a way in which you can present yourself. Your attitude and the way you come across will be determined by your way of communication. So, if you want to be seen as an outspoken and hardworking individual, then improving your communication skill is the way to go.
Make communication a priority
It’s vital that those lines of communication are always open as it’s what keep any relationship alive. Make it an effort to keep the conversation going, even when it becomes uncomfortable or awkward. Try to make it a priority by taking a corporate communication course or learning from successful communicators around you. You can even go as far as to choose a mentor or coach to help you if needed. Try to figure out what efficient communication means to you and take it from there. Communicating to someone else isn’t always easy and sometimes it can become really hard. Making it a priority and habit can make the process a lot more efficient.
Watch your body language
The difference between the words being said and the understanding of it comes from your body language. By knowing and getting to know the tricks of body language, you’ll easily understand what other people are saying and can then communicate effectively. It doesn’t matter whether you make use of your hands, nodding your head or facial expressions. You can’t have a conversation with someone with your arms crossed or looking the other way. Always try to make eye contact with the other person as it’ll indicate your interest in the conversation. Remember, you’re constantly communicating even if you’re not saying a word. Try to read the other person’s body language in order to respond accordingly. Also, noting who you’re talking to matters because you won’t use the same body language for your friend and boss. There has to be a balance between the types of conversations and effective communicators target their message based on who they’re speaking to.
Focus on having a positive attitude and mindset. This is an early and easy step to improve your communication skills. Having good communication is key if you want to progress in your life and career. You’ll be able to land your dream job, handle difficult situations, overcome obstacles and gain respect and trust from people you know.
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