Communicating with others clearly and effectively is one of the most important life skills anyone can master. Yet despite this, it’s something we rarely put a lot of time into developing. Whether you want to get more out of the conversations you have with your friends or get your points across to your coworkers more easily at work, here are six tips to help you improve communication skills.
6 tips to improve communication skills
1. Monitor your body language
It’s not just your mouth that does the talking – your body has a lot to say, too. For example, if you have your arms firmly crossed, you’re implying that you’re stubborn and not open to negotiation. And chatting while scrolling through your phone, suggests you’re not really paying attention. Your body is constantly communicating, even when your mouth isn’t.
To improve communication skills with body language:
- maintain a reasonable amount of eye contact
- smile and nod to show you understand
- think carefully about your posture
- use hand gestures to enhance your point
2. Avoid filler words
We all occasionally say “umm…”, “ahh…” or “like…” to fill the silence while we’re thinking of what to say. But these words only make us come across as less confident and they make our point less persuasive. Instead of using filler words, improve communication skills by slowing down your speech and being mindful about the words you use.
3. Be confident
You can’t expect others to believe in what you say if you don’t believe it yourself. So be strong, be confident and never undermine your own points. Just like Ayomi, you’ve got to believe in yourself 100% – even if others don’t.
4. Listen to the other person
The best way to improve communication skills is to first learn how to really listen. Start by paying close attention to what the other person is saying and letting them talk without interrupting. It’s important to focus on the other person’s body language, too (Do they look confused? Are they fidgeting, suggesting boredom? Have they folded their arms, suggesting disagreement?) and adjust your speaking accordingly.
5. Consider your tone
You know the famous phrase: “It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it”? This phrase is so well-known because it’s true. The way you say something can give it a completely different meaning. So always consider the idea behind the words you’re saying and make sure it’s conveyed not just in the words, but in the tone, too.
6. See it from the other person’s point of view
Even if at first you don’t agree, always consider other people’s points of view. They’ve got just as much right to their opinion as you do. When considering their side, look for opportunities to build upon what they’re saying and flesh out their points. You’ll be building the confidence of the person talking and they’ll be more inclined to see things from your point of view. Like Akhil says, it’s important to really think about something before you make a decision or judgement.
Do you have any tips on how to honing communication skills? Share them below and help others trying to communicate more effectively.