Imagine you didn’t have words to communicate with others. What would life look like if there was no way to express what you wanted to say?
Communication is considered one of the most important interpersonal skills. Being able to exchange ideas and messages smoothly is vital in both your personal and professional life.
If you want to polish your communication skills, here are a few things you can do:
1. Be an Active Listener
This means you are involved and engaged in what the other person is saying. Ask the speaker open-ended questions, paraphrase what they said and repeat it back to them, make eye contact, and request clarification on anything you didn’t fully understand. Pay attention to both the words they are saying and the underlying message. Intentionally listen to what the other person is saying, rather than thinking about what you are going to say next.
2. Expand Your Vocabulary
Knowing more words can help you choose the right word to get your message across without confusion or opposition. Reading books is a good way to build your vocabulary and articulate your thoughts more clearly. Expanding your vocabulary not only helps in verbal communication but in written communication as well.
3. Be Brief and Clear
Unless you are storytelling and providing entertainment, it’s best to get to the main points of your message quickly using clear and concise language. This ensures your message is not lost in long sentences and confusing words. Being brief and concise is especially important in professional settings where people need to ensure their time is spent efficiently.
4. Be Aware of Non-Verbal Communication
Your verbal communication is influenced by more than just the words you say. Pay attention to the volume of your voice, how fast you speak, and the tone you speak in. Making eye contact helps you communicate more effectively and connect with the other person. It’s also important to maintain good posture, and avoid fidgeting, looking around, or crossing your arms. These cues demonstrate the message that you are not interested in the conversation.
5. Improve Your Written Communication
Writing improves with practice. Start writing every day. When you start to write, think about the message you want to convey. Organize your thoughts beforehand to make it easier to start writing. If you find it challenging to get into the flow of writing, jot down bullet points that you can transform into concise sentences. Edit what you write for grammar and spelling, and read it aloud to see if the message is conveyed clearly.
6. Communicate with Respect
No one likes communicating with someone who doesn’t treat them with respect. Whenever you are communicating with someone, whether you are talking, listening, or writing, treat the other person with respect, dignity, and seriousness.
Communication is the basis of our society. If you want to improve your communication skills, practice communicating with others in different situations, such as in person, on the phone, or in writing. Start conversations wherever you can, like in the grocery store, rather than scrolling on your phone. By doing these things, you will become a better communicator overall.