How To Improve Communication Skills

Communication is an essential part of society. It has been a skill used throughout human history in various ways from paintings to the languages we speak today. Nowadays effective communication is key to express your views and ideas as well as to improve both personal and professional relationships.

A mixture of both listening and expressing yourself clearly is a must for effective communication but we have to understand there is no one skill or technique to improve communication skills but rather a collection of skills. So in order to do well in interviews, meetings and in your personal life you have to improve on your communication skills. 

As you start to be more effective in your communication you will start to see a boost in your productivity and it will also make you less awkward as you will make less mistakes during conversations.

Here are the 5 best practices to improve your communication skills..

#01 Listening to Other Parties Involved 

The first thing you have to learn is to listen properly to what others are discussing. This is the first step to avoiding awkwardness in a conversation. 

Listening to what others have to say so that you can use that information to come up with your response but if you don’t listen to what is currently happening you will either zone out of the conversation or you will say something that is not even relevant to what is being currently talked about. 

Thus you will either feel humiliated or awkward which will quickly make you less interested in that conversation and that is exactly what we want to avoid here.

#02 Body Language

Body language is a very important aspect. This is purely a nonverbal aspect of good and effective communication. Good body language will leave an impression on the people that interact with you. They will remember you as the one with good charisma or outgoing personality just through your body language alone. Body language is a collective term including for example facial expressions, posture, gestures, eye contact and touch. 

The human face is very expressive and we are able to show many emotions without even uttering a single word. Someone will be able to see that you’re not paying attention to a conversation just by looking at your face so it is very important to be able to control your emotions so that you can give a positive message to others around you. Bad posture will not only leave a bad impression of you but it can also be a health problem. 

Maintaining good posture when sitting, walking and standing will make others feel comfortable talking to you and bad posture will leave them to think that you either don’t care about your health or that you’re not very mannered. If you are used to bad posture it is very hard to change as you will automatically do what you are  used to doing so the best way to change is to start little by little. 

You can just begin with sitting straight and once you are used to it try something new. One thing you have to definitely avoid is fidgeting as it will make you seem bored or nervous in a situation. The next important thing is the usage of gestures as it is an action we inherently do in our lives. 

Using gestures as you speak is useful to further emphasize a point but its usage should be limited. Here what you really need to understand is various hand gestures mean different things in different cultures so vary of these changes. 

If you mainly talk and interact with people of your own culture this is not a problem but If your job or studies require you to interact with others part of different cultures what I would advise is to do research. Next up is eye contact. People say that eyes are the window to the soul and to be honest it is pretty much true. Eye contact can easily show your emotions for everyone to see. 

Constant eye contact will make you look invested in a conversation and if you maintain eye contact as you speak people will automatically see you as an individual confident in his own opinions. But if you break eye contact when you speak it will make you seem as if you are lying or being dishonest with them. But of course you can observe this for yourself. 

If you look at their eyes you can determine whether they are lying to you or bored of talking with you thus helping you in ,making a profile of them in your head. Eye contact is something that works both ways it can help you as well as ruin you. And now finally we have touch. 

The first thing you have to practice here is a firm handshake. As you go for job interviews, meetings and social gatherings you will obviously introduce yourself with a handshake but if this handshake is weak people will perceive you as weak after that this is why a firm and strong handshake is necessary. 

A handshake is going to be your first impression to that person so it’s important that they see you as confident and strong as possible. This is an aspect that is important in a professional setting.

#03 Controlling Your Emotions

Controlling your emotions as you speak is important as using strong emotions to creep into your conversation can lead to poor communication as well as some cases of conflict. Learn to express yourself in a calm and collected manner even if the topic you are discussing is something you are very passionate about. 

Allowing strong emotions to seep in will make your thought process jumbled and you might even stutter when you speak due to the lack of control you have of your mind. If you feel like you are going to lose control, use a stress relief you are familiar with and know that will work. It can be as simple as taking a pause and taking a deep breath. 

Doing something like that will be less awkward then if you lose your cool in the middle of the conversation so always remember to take a pause when you feel it is necessary. 

#04 Using A Commanding Voice

Using an assertive as well as commanding voice when you speak will make people gravitate towards you. A person with a commanding voice will make people pay attention to you and they will see you as a confident individual who can speak in front of an audience while having the attention of everyone present. 

A commanding voice is also important for a leader as well. Try to speak naturally and avoid stuttering in the middle of sentences as that will make you look nervous. The point I talked about above is key to having an assertive and commanding voice. 

Controlling your emotions and being commanding and assertive go hand in hand. If you lose control you will obviously stutter thus making you look nervous or easily provoked which is exactly what we have to avoid. 

#05 Public Speaking

This last point may sound a little extreme but this truly helps. Public speaking organizations like Toastmasters aim to help people struggling with expressing themselves in front of an audience. Toastmasters is a global organization with branches all around the globe so you can find a branch near you and join. 

They have members who can help you throughout this journey but if this sounds too daunting you can ask a friend for help or you can also use the oldest trick in the book and practice in front of a mirror. Personally I have always prepared for speeches in front of the mirror and it has helped me a ton. Always remember practice makes perfect.

We are nearing the end and I would like to note that this is not something impossible. Constant practice is the key to improving your communication skills and another important thing you have to remember is not everyone gets it right in their first try. 

You have to be ready to endure a few awkward conversations but experience is always the best teacher. While you learn these tips remember to start with the small details and slowly progress so that you will be able to understand and adapt.