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How to Improve Communication Skills

Effective Communication: 6 Ways to Improve Communication Skills.

how to develop communication skills

Communication skills are the most important quality of a leader. Learning effective communication skills is a straightforward process that allows you to express yourself and improve both your personal and professional relationships. Knowing how to listen well and communicate clearly will help you express yourself in job interviews, business meetings, and in your personal life as well.

What Is Effective Communication?


Being an effective communicator means being able to both actively listen and clearly express yourself to those around you. Unfortunately, no one skill or technique will make you a better communicator. Effective communication requires a diverse skill set that covers both verbal and nonverbal communication cues, as well as close listening.

Why Is Effective Communication Important?


Effective communication is vital both in and out of the workplace because it allows you to clearly translate your intentions and feelings into easily understandable messages. Effective communication makes you a more productive worker and cuts down on unintended consequences that arise as a result of miscommunication. Developing an effective communication process helps you understand what others are saying and makes you a better collaborator and team member.

4 Skills That Are Necessary for Effective Communication


Developing better communication habits requires several important skills that work in tandem with each other. Some of these skills involve speaking or holding your body, and others are more emotionally based interpersonal skills. Here are a few skills that good communicators possess:

Listening skills: Clear communication starts with active listening. If you’re just focused on how you are expressing yourself, chances are you are not listening or reacting to what others are bringing to the table. An effective communicator uses a variety of listening styles. They pay close attention to what’s being said and make others feel heard and considered.

Empathy: Being able to understand the feelings of those around you is an integral part of being an effective communicator. Empathizing means both understanding and relating to someone else’s feelings. Having high emotional intelligence and demonstrating an ability to empathize builds rapport between you and others and increases your ability to communicate.

Nonverbal communication skills: In addition to verbal messages, effective communication relies on nonverbal cues. Developing an awareness of your body language and tone of voice will improve your messaging and presentation skills.

Teamwork: The ability to actively engage in team-building and consistently collaborate with coworkers is an important part of building your business communication skills. The more you build strong relationships and rapport with others in the workplace, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate with them.

How to Improve Your Communication Skills


If you feel like you lack the basic skills required for good communication, there are several reliable ways to improve. Here are a few tips for developing your communication skills:

Practice active listening: Effective communicators are always good listeners. Active listening means engaging with what people say by giving affirmative replies and asking follow-up questions to show that you are paying attention.

Focus on nonverbal communication: Mastering nonverbal cues and nonverbal signals can help prevent miscommunication and signal interest to those around you. Pay attention to your facial expressions and body language when you are speaking with someone in a professional setting. Your nonverbal cues affect the first impression you make on someone. Maintaining eye contact, limiting hand gestures, and having good posture go a long way when meeting someone for the first time.

Manage your own emotions: For the sake of clear communication and your own personal wellbeing, it’s important to manage your emotions and express them appropriately in context. Allowing strong emotions to unnecessarily creep into a professional setting can lead to poor communication and conflict.

Ask for feedback: There’s no shame in asking for honest feedback on your communication skills from colleagues. Asking your peers or subordinates for their advice on improving your communication skills can help you better understand how you are coming across in your work environment. Cultivate a willingness to seek out other points of view and forge better relationships with your coworkers.

Practice public speaking: Public speaking may sound daunting, but there’s no better way to develop good communication skills than by seeking out public speaking opportunities. Great communicators can clearly articulate their feelings, whether they’re speaking to a large group or talking face-to-face to one other person. Regularly speaking in front of a group will magnify your strengths and weaknesses and force you to develop great communication habits.

Develop a filter: Effective communicators generally have highly developed social skills and can modulate how they express their thoughts and feelings to those around them. Know what’s appropriate to express in different interpersonal contexts. Developing a filter will help supplement other communication techniques and ensure that you maintain a certain level of decorum and avoid conflict in the workplace.

9 Tips for Improving Your Communications Skills

how to develop communication skills

Here’s a list of the most critical traits for a leader to possess, according to survey respondents:

Communication skills

71%

Hardworking

68%

Flexible

58%

Confident

58%

Patient

53%

Assertive

27%

Resilient

27%

Independent

18%

Authoritative

16%

Proud

14%


Communication skills are a key component of executive leadership as well as success at all organizational levels. If you’re looking to improve your executive presence, your ability to communicate will make you stand out in the crowd!

Here are the 9 Tips for Improving Your Communication Skills:


1. Simplify and stay on message.


Use simple, straightforward language. Remember that Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was 286 words, about two minutes long.

2. Engage your listeners or readers.


Draw your listeners and readers into the conversation. Ask questions and invite opinions. Solicit their feedback.

3. Take time to respond.


After you’ve listened (and understood) take time to “draft” in your head what you want to say.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Maintain eye contact.


Whether speaking to a crowd or one-on-one, maintaining eye contact builds credibility and demonstrates you care about your listeners.

8. 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.

9. Make communication a priority.


Take classes, read books, magazine articles or learn from successful communicators around you. Seek a mentor or executive coach.

With strong communication skills, you’ll master the art of having difficult conversations, make your ideas heard, negotiate a salary increase or promotion skillfully, and make a strong impression on everyone you meet.

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