You may be aware that effective communication skills are key to success in virtually every aspect of one’s life. When it comes to finding work, studies have shown that personal and professional relationships are often the determining factor in whether someone is hired or not. Communicating with others and forming strong bonds will help you carry yourself with poise and confidence when attending job interviews, conferences, seminars, negotiations, or during tense personal conversations.
For this reason, improving your communication skills is essential if you truly want to get ahead in life. Below are eight ways to become a more effective communicator and enjoy greater success.
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1. Learn to Listen
To be a good conversation partner, you must be actively engaged in listening closely whenever someone is speaking. Just because they are talking doesn’t mean they can read your mind. However, many people do not know how to listen to others properly. Many people have the common complaint that their conversational partners never seem to listen to them.
It’s not that people don’t want to listen, but it’s easy for one’s mind to wander when someone is talking. Distractions like a ringing phone or being lost in thought about work can easily break your focus.
2. Build Emotional Intelligence
Communication is more effective when you have emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the ability to read, understand, and handle others. The best way to improve your emotional intelligence is to become a good listener and practice the 3Rs: rethink, regulate, and respond.
3. Seek Expert Help
If you’ve never taken a communication class before, it’s probably a good idea to contact some local community colleges and ask what communication courses they offer. Most colleges will provide these courses at a reasonable cost. If you are more advanced in your communication skills, you may want to pursue an online master’s program in communication, which you can take at home at your own pace. Communication coaching is also a great way to improve your skills and can be done in person or over the phone. The purpose of coaching is to provide individuals with an opportunity to resolve their communication struggles and realize their potential for success in that area.
4. Master Your Body Language
Your body language is like an unspoken language interpreted loudly by others. When a person smiles, it conveys confidence, good feelings, and even happiness. When someone blinks, it indicates they may be nervous or worried. Conversely, when they tilt their head to the side slightly, chances are they are thinking about something else.
5. Always Watch Your Tone of Voice
A lot of information is conveyed whether you speak in a soft, loud, fast-paced, or slow-paced tone. A soft voice may indicate that a person is trying to keep a secret or may be shy. A loud voice says the opposite. Speaking quickly can indicate anger or nervousness as well as excitement about something. Speaking slowly can convey thoughtfulness and emotional intelligence. It is important to listen to the tone of voice someone uses when addressing you so that you can respond more effectively.
6. Be Brief and Clear
In most cases, a person should aim to be as brief as possible and to the point. Most people will be inclined to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions even though these may not be directly related to the topic. Don’t fall into this trap. When you feel like you are being interrupted in the middle of your sentence, take a moment to think about what you are going to say next before resuming your thought process.
7. Adopt the Right Posture
To communicate effectively with other people, you need to have a firm posture that exudes confidence. Your mind is also affected by your posture. It will be harder for others to listen and focus on your words if you are slouched over or slumped down. Also, if you cross your legs or move your arms often, it distracts the person you’re telling about something important.
8. Practice, Practice, Practice
Communication skills are best when they are done over and over again. If you regularly practice, you can never say the wrong thing or speak too many words. You might say a word incorrectly once, but if you repeat it again and again, you will realize it. You also must remember that nothing can replace practice when it comes to getting better at any particular task or skill.
As you can see, improving your communication skills can be done in several ways. If you are an advanced communicator, you may benefit from working with a more experienced coach with more expertise than you. With that in mind, learning more about yourself as a person and a business owner can also help strengthen your communication skills for the future.