We spend a lot of our time talking to other people; sharing our thoughts and anything else going on in our lives. Even though we spend so much time talking, our communication skills determine if the other person actually gets the message we’re trying to convey. How many times have you spent hours talking to someone on the phone or given a long presentation only to have your audience not understand a word you were trying to say? Frustrating isn’t it? What if I could teach you how to improve your communication skills so your words can have the impact you want them to? That’d be awesome right? Well in this post I give the 5 tips and tricks I’ve learned from experts over the years to help you communicate clearly and precisely.
“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” Anne Morrow Lindberg
How To Improve Your Communication Skills
UNDERSTAND HOW YOU COMMUNICATE
If you want to have good communication skills you need to understand how you communicate.
Some people are really good at face to face conversations. They know how to express themselves clearly and their human skills are phenomenal.
Others have a much better chance of communicating via email or text message because it’s easier to think each message through before clicking “send”. There are also people who exclusively communicate online.
Knowing exactly how you communicate helps you to identify the areas that need a lot of work while embracing those things you’re already good at.
I had to understand my style of communication so I could know exactly what I needed to improve upon.
Being a writer, it’s so much easier for me to whip up an amazing email than it is to speak in public. Once I realized that I had a fear of public speaking, I could get to work.
Every day I’d stand before my mirror and practice my posture and expressions. I’d also ask my family to be my audience and give them short speeches until it no longer felt like this huge burden.
This is such an important step. I cannot emphasize it enough.
Effective communication skills start with understanding what you’re doing wrong in the first place so you can go ahead and fix it.
Mean what you say when you say what you mean. Click To Tweet
SKIP THE FLUFF & BE HONEST
A great way to develop strong communication skills is to skip the fluff and get right to the point. It also helps to be honest when you speak.
As human beings, we tend to ramble on in situations where we feel uncomfortable or unsure of our abilities. This normally happens in meetings or when we’re suddenly confronted.
When you cut the fluff from the conversation you show that you mean business and you also exercise great people skills.
No-one wants to listen to someone who’s always long-winded and talking about their aunt’s great-niece when all you asked them was how their day was. Train yourself to stay on topic no matter what. Be specific about what you say and ensure you cover all of the important points.
In the same way, having to listen to someone who is never honest about the things they say is absolute torture. Mean what you say when you say what you mean. It really is that simple. Be authentic.
Put yourself in the shoes of the other person listening and ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I being honest in what I say?
- Does it provide genuine value to the other person listening?
- Is there any untruth or unnecessary/ incorrect information I can leave out of the conversation?
Your genuineness to provide value to your listeners and your honesty also help to build strong relationships. People will respect you more when they know they can trust what you’re saying.
If you're as careful about the things you say as you are with the selfies you post online then life would be so much better. Click To Tweet
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
This has probably happened to you at least once or twice. Someone did something to you or you had an incident at work, and before you knew it you were spewing out some of the most colourful language you know.
Afterwards, you’re left wondering what you could have done differently and how could you have changed the outcome of the situation and not get into even more trouble?
When you think before you speak you decrease the chances of saying the wrong things while making space for the right things to come out.
It also prevents the emotional rambling that happens when we’re too caught up in a situation.
One of my favourite Millennial women, Kayla Bright, once told me that if you are as careful about the things you say as you are with the selfies you post online then your life would be so much better.
As funny as this sounds she is absolutely right. Understand that your words have an impact. Make every effort to craft what you say in such a way that the person you’re saying it to will have no choice but to understand.
When you have the ability to really organize your thoughts and words, you’ll begin to understand what great communication really is.
LEARN HOW TO ACTIVELY LISTEN
I’ve found that many of the people I speak to nowadays don’t really listen to hear what I have to say, they listen so they can respond.
This is such a big problem in the millennial community. Too many of us are inactive listeners.
I used to be so guilty of this. Whenever my friends spoke to me, and if they were becoming too long-winded, I’d just make mental notes based on snippets of the conversation so they’d appreciate the questions I asked about their story.
To be honest I wasn’t really actively listening. I was just pretending to.
Learning how to communicate effectively has so much to do with actively listening to the other person we’re talking to. Communication is not a dead-end; it is a two-way street.
While you’re involved in a conversation, focus on the person or persons involved. Be present and give your undivided attention.
A favourite tip I use is to turn off all electronic devices so there are no distractions. Not only will your communication skills get better, the other person will also appreciate your attentiveness.
This helps to nurture intimate relationships as well.
WORK ON YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
When I was younger, my boss used to tell me that I had didn’t have great communication skills and I was always confused. I knew how to command a crowd and get my point across, and I was always being praised for this so what did she mean??
She explained to me that even though my words were like butter and everyone ate them up, my body language left a lot to be desired.
While speaking to someone my arms would be crossed for a long time or I wouldn’t be directly facing the person I was speaking to. This completely opened up my eyes because I wasn’t aware of the non-verbal cues I was giving others. I was sending mixed signals.
The truth is that 90% of your communication skills depends not on what you say but how you say it. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this fun fact.
People tend to pick up on the non-verbal stuff you do even before you have started presenting your argument.
Be careful of your tone of voice. By being too loud you’ll seem angry and if you’re too quiet, you go unnoticed. Learn to strike a balance.
Work on your body language and figure out what people think of you based on the things they see you do. Do you have a problem making eye contact or are constantly slumping? Then you might come off as weak and unconfident.
Turn your body towards the people you’re speaking to and make constant eye contact. This shows you have confidence in yourself and what you’re saying and encourages engagement from the people around you.
One important part of non-verbal communication that we often forget is to slow down when we speak. Often times we get so excited that we just start speaking quickly What we fail to realize is that in doing so you’re alienating your audience.
Slow down when you speak. Ensure that the speed at which you talk does not affect your enunciation.
Make small, intentional changes to the way you express yourself non-verbally and you’ll become an even better communicator than you are right now.
CONSTANTLY REFINE YOUR COMMUNICATION SKILLS
When you understand the importance of having great communication skills, you’ll work hard to constantly refine them. Some things that worked for you back in 2010 might not be as effective today.
Plus becoming a communication master does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work, making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.
Study the pros and see if you can pick up on the little things they do that draw your attention and help bring their messages across.
How do they start and end conversations or presentations? Is there any particular plan or outline they follow? Take notes of these points and create your very own outlines to use for future communication.
The more you work on tweaking the things you’re not very good at the higher chance you’ll have of becoming an effective communicator.
So do your homework. Remember that your communication skills could land you the job of your dreams. Understand that in order to create the kind of life you want, you also need to be able to effectively communicate your thoughts and desires.
Take notes. I just did 🙂
Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to learn more about the small, intentional changes you can make in your life that.
This will have a huge impact on the way you see, think and live and bring you one step closer to becoming your best self and create the life you’ve always wanted.
If you found these tips to improve your communication skills to be helpful, then you will enjoy these tips to help make better friends as an adult.
Also, let me know. How do you prefer to communicate? Which tip are you going to try out today? I love reading your comments and hearing your thoughts so please comment down below. Also if you have any questions feel free to ask me them in the comment section below. Please also like and share this post and sign up so you never miss a thing!
Until next time.
Peace, love, and prayers.