Whether it’s at work or in the company of friends, effectively communicating is imperative. It may not seem like something you need to practice. Yet, perfecting your communication skills will take you far in life.
So how can you improve your communication skills?
By listening well and thinking before you speak are two things to keep in mind.
It’s okay if you don’t consider yourself a master of communication. You can still practice and become an excellent communicator!
Having strong communication skills brings excellent benefits, so carve out some time to perfect them.
Here are nine ways to enhance your communication!
1. Brush Up on Your Listening Skills
It can be hard to listen, especially when you don’t want your current thought to escape. As you’re listening to the speaker, you may have a lot on your mind. It can indeed be hard to process what they’re saying and still be in tune with your thoughts at the same time.
Listen first, and you’re more likely to react appropriately.
The simple act of listening is powerful. It’s something that’ll make everyone’s life better in the long run.
2. Maintain Eye Contact
There’s more that goes into listening than paying attention. As you listen to a person as they speak, maintain eye contact.
This will convey that your attention isn’t waning.
Even the experts who suggest interview tips state that, if you don’t look at them while they’re speaking, it may appear that you’re disinterested in what they’re saying.
Don’t maintain eye contact to the point where you make someone uncomfortable. But paying attention to them will reveal that you’re in tune with what they’re telling you.
3. Be Aware of Your Body Language
Like maintaining eye contact, you should also be aware of your body language. Ask yourself what your body language reveals to each person you’re talking to. It should show the other person you care about what they’re saying.
A few things you shouldn’t do are slouching or yawning. Doing both of these things comes off rude and makes you appear as if you don’t care.
Instead, sit up straight and stay alert.
Following these techniques will show the person you’re listening to them.
4. Think Before You Speak
Sometimes, it’s hard to gather your thoughts when you’re in the middle of the conversation. Even so, it’d help if you think before you speak.
Taking the time to respond is a better strategy than blurting out the first answer that comes to mind. That can get you into trouble, especially if it’s work-related!
Whereas having a well-thought-out response will impress the person you’re communicating with.
5. Don’t Talk Non-Stop
Do you or a friend have a habit of getting into long, drawn-out conversations?
For someone who likes to chatter, it can get challenging to conquer specific tasks. You’re too busy talking to get back to the project at hand!
Minimizing a conversation will make it a lot easier to get to work.
Say you’re taking directions or are trying to understand instructions from someone. If the conversation goes longer than it should, by the end, you may find yourself confused. And if you’re confused, you’ll have to start back at square one!
In summary, stick to the topic at hand and don’t deviate. Otherwise, the conversation won’t be very productive.
6. Focus on Learning
Communication isn’t always straightforward.
It takes practice.
As you communicate your thoughts, you’re always learning, and so is the person you’re talking to.
Be aware that people communicate differently. There’s an essential rule of communication. The rule is that you should consider there are different communication styles.
The four different types of communication skills are passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. People may not always communicate how you want them to. It’s up to you to do your best to communicate with the other person successfully.
If you want to strengthen your communication skills, apply the seven Cs of communication. They are clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.
The more you learn, the better communicator you will become!
7. Be Selective With Which Acronyms You Use
It’s normal to use acronyms such as “hey” when you’re chatting with a friend.
When it comes to someone important, such as a boss, keep things formal unless you have a more laid-back relationship with them.
If that’s the case, make sure you have boundaries and know when it’s alright to communicate more casually. There’s a balance between being friends and them being your superior.
Whomever you speak to, keep in mind that you should talk appropriately.
Be respectful and communicate well. Part of that means being aware of which acronyms and slang terms you’re using.
8. Read Over a Message Before Sending
Communication pertains to texting and emails as well.
If you’re the type of person who quickly writes a text or email, you may want to think about proofing it before sending it.
Sure, when texting a friend, it may not matter. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to proofread what you write, though.
Before tapping send on a text or email, re-read it. Having misspelled words and using incorrect grammar won’t make a good impression. If there are loads of grammatical errors, a professor or boss will likely notice!
Also, make sure your thoughts are clear and not confusing. Whether it’s a text or email, it’s always wise to look everything over before pushing the send button.
9. Make Communicating Top on Your List
To become better at communication, learn from the pros.
If you’re in school, you may take a few communication courses. Learn from your professors and pay attention in class.
If you’re a working professional, focus on how your manager communicates. Anyone who’s been in a field for a while knows how to communicate effectively. There’s a lot you can learn from them!
A few other ways to learn are by taking classes and hiring a communication coach. Apply these tips, and you’ll undoubtedly become the best communicator there is!
There’s no shortcut in communication. Even if you think you have it down, there’s always room for improvement.
If you’re eager to boost your communication skills, you can always role play with a friend. Having them provide feedback on your communication style can tell you what works. And, it can tell you what you should work on when you practice next.
Communication skills are something you’ll need for the rest of your life. There’s no time wasted when you invest in communication that will secure you a bright future!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with The Arch Denton to help them with their online marketing.