The ability to communicate clearly is essential in your professional and personal life. Without clear communication, misunderstandings occur. If you want to get ahead in life, then use the 10 tips below to improve your communication skills.
- Keep It Simple:
Whether you are communicating verbally or in writing the key is to keep what you are trying to communicate plain, simple and easy to understand. You don’t need to overwhelm your audience with fancy language or technical jargon unless you are giving an academic talk and it is totally necessary.
- Make Notes:
Creating notes will help you plan what you want to say. You’ll be able to ensure that you include all the points you want to make but that you eliminate anything that is totally unnecessary. When giving a speech your notes will keep you on point throughout and avoid you going blank.
- Engaged Listening:
Surprisingly being an engaged listener is an important communication skill. It ensures that the speaker knows that you are both listening and interested in what they are saying. Additionally, it will help you to give an informed response as you will be able to demonstrate that you have listened and understood what was said.
- Body Language:
Your body can say things that your voice isn’t; including the exact opposite! If you want to ensure that you are giving the right impression and message, then you need to make sure that you stand upright with your head high and shoulders back. Don’t cross your arms as this will put a block between you and the person you are talking to.
- Be Confident:
Confidence is a state of mind and it is something that you can create. There are many ways you can increase your self-confidence. Consider using affirmations and visualization on a daily basis or use hypnosis, coaching or neuro-linguistic programming.
- Small Talk:
If you find yourself struggling to communicate effectively during social situations, you can use the FORD technique to help you get a meaningful conversation started. FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams. Using this technique, you’ll no longer have to feel tongue-tied when you meet strangers.
- Use Eye Contact:
Using eye contact correctly can really improve your communication. Your audience will feel a greater connection with you and so listen more intently. Holding attention is a key skill of a great communicator. Remember to be natural and not to stare as that will have a negative impact.
Before you start talking or reply, take a breath and pause. This gives you time to think about how you want to respond, calm your emotions and manage your tone of voice. By using a pause, you can make sure that you respond in the way you mean to, instead of saying the wrong thing.
- Ask Questions:
This will show that you are listening to the other person and that you are paying close attention to what they are saying. You will also increase the sense of rapport between you. By asking questions you ensure that you understand what is said and can respond appropriately. If necessary, don’t be afraid to repeat back what the speaker has said to increase your understanding.
- ‘Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say’
That old saying contains very sage advice. By ensuring that you follow it you will avoid misunderstandings and your message will be relayed with clarity. Of course, you’ll find on occasion that you need to be assertive and prepared to stick to your guns. However, the upside is you will gain the other person’s respect if you are honest and tactful.