5-Step Program to Improve Your Communication Skills
With the development of technology lots of people find it more simple to get anything they want from the web, avoiding face-to-face contact. Nevertheless, communication skills are still essential: not only will they help you be successful in your studies and at the workplace, but also they are a powerful instrument, that helps you learn about the world and live a life, full of diverse experiences that come from interacting with different people.
We’ve come up with a series of steps that will facilitate effective communication with others. Try them out! Be cautious, though: there’s a high probability that you’ll become more talkative, popular person!
Identify the Weak Spots
Let’s face it: if you’ve ended up searching for “how to improve your communication skills” you obviously think there is an area for improvement. Don’t be too harsh on yourself: saying you’re a total mess won’t do you any good. Be critical yet constructive.
A possible solution here could be to videotape yourself having a conversation: you might do it on your own or ask a friend or a family member for help. Watch it with your confidante and determine all the soft spots: it might be a body language, the tone of voice (too low or too high), the speed of your speech. All in all, make a list, stay positive and remember: you’re on the way to success!
Learn Your Body Language
We send non-verbal signals of the time: your posture, gestures, the way you look at your interlocutor say a lot about how you feel. There is a simple recipe, that can help you transmit a far more positive message. Don’t slouch, try not to cross your hands and legs, when talking to someone, and, of course, smile! It is also a great idea to maintain a confident tone, without being too loud or too timid and keep an eye contact with your conversation partner. These are just the basics, adjustable for every individual, nevertheless, paying attention to them certainly won’t hurt.
You should also pay attention to your fellow talker’s body language: you’ll interpret the signs they give you more competently and even be able to change your behavior to achieve the best possible outcome of the interaction.
Everybody loves talking about themselves. Thus, having a conversation about one’s thoughts, dreams and plans is a shortcut to establishing friendly relationships with the person.
The most important thing here is to pay attention and really listen to your conversation partner. Don’t be a drain for information. Do your best to be an active listener: encourage the person to continue by asking relevant questions, paraphrase their own thoughts to make sure you have the same ideas in mind and, of course, concentrate on what they say.
The “what goes around comes around” rule applies here. Pay attention and the opposite party is very likely to pay it back.
Stand Up for Yourself
Assertiveness by no means implies being aggressive or overly contentious. It rather involves ability to express your ideas openly and honestly, respecting others. To send appropriate message you should remember several basic rules.
- know where you stand:
you won’t be able to pursue your goals, without knowing exactly what they are. Listen to yourself, work out your own views on certain issues and then express them to others.
- be negative effectively:
it’s perfectly OK to be angry or frustrated. What matters, though, is being able to tackle the problems constructively. Holding negative emotions in is destructive, so don’t fixate on them. If something causes your discomfort, tell people about it and don’t wait too long to look for solutions.
- stay tolerant:
expressing your own stance is surely of the highest importance. However, you shouldn’t forget about one of the most valuable benefits of communication: it leads to exchange of experiences. Try to stay flexible and take other’s opinion into account: new insights might help you change the situation for the better.
Count to 10
Managing stress and anxiety is a vital skill. Lots of wrong things were said in the wrong way for the reason of simple nervousness. That’s why you should be able to identify the point, when you start to lose control over the situation and handle it properly.
Don’t worry about pauses in conversations. Sometimes, they are a great opportunity to take your time and think of the next point you’d like to mention. The urge to fill the silence may result in thoughtless mumbling, which does not lead to fruitful communication.
Repeat the questions and ask for clarifications, when needed. This will show you’re truly interested in the positive outcome of a conversation and prove you’re a good listener and critical thinker.
Take deep breaths. This technique wouldn’t be so popular if it didn’t work. When you feel you’re about to lose the nerve, count to ten (yeah, that again) and concentrate on your breathing. In a moment you’ll see: everything is not so bad!
That’s not the last step of our program. That’s just a recommendation for the future. Think of the methods above and apply them in practice. Have a chat with a shop assistant or talk to a stranger at the bus stop. It might be a bit scary at first, but you’ll love the result. No one is perfect. That’s what makes us humans. Working on those imperfections makes us better versions of ourselves. Keep that in mind and don’t stop!