Do you feel challenged by your inability to communicate effectively with your spouse, children, boss and friends? Do you shudder at the thought of having to speak to an acquaintance, a stranger or to more than one person?
Interpersonal and intimate relationships break down because of the failure to convey your message. If you are unable to ask, explain, voice out your thoughts and discuss issues effectively, you will not get what you want.
But like all other skills that you have mastered, you can learn how to improve your communication skills and talk to anyone without feeling self-conscious.
13 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills
1. Listen Actively
Communication is a two way process. You must not only talk but also listen actively.
This means paying attention, making eye contact and using nonverbal cues to show that you are listening.
2. Read More
You are limited by your personal experiences. Reading helps expand your knowledge and improve your vocabulary. You can use them to initiate small talks or join in a conversation.
It also helps you understand what someone is saying and it improves your ability to interact.
3. Use the Right Words
Choose simple words that people can understand. And instead of making a mind reading statement, ask questions that begin with a “what” or “how”. Use phrases such as “Can you please explain…”
4. Pay Attention to Your Tone of Voice
Improve the tone, pitch and quality of your voice when you speak. It is especially important when you speak to someone via telephone. The person on the other side can’t see you and make his judgment based on what he hears.
When you speak with someone face-to-face, your manner of speaking is important. Let you voice reflects confidence and enthusiasm.
5. Use Body Language and Nonverbal Cues
What your body is saying is more important and believable that what you are talking about. Adjust your stance and use your body to show congruence when you speak.
Make eye contact when you talk. Smile when you are speaking. Nod when you agree. Lean forward to show interest.
6. Share Your Experiences
It’s easier to talk about something that you know or have experienced. The events that happen in your life are great sources of conversations. People like to hear stories. Share yours with them.
Other than hearing stories, people enjoy humor or anything that can make them laugh. Add some humor to your conversations. It also makes you more approachable.
7. Avoid Complaining
Avoid boring others with your woes and complaints. People have enough of theirs. Whatever you want to talk about, think of how it will affect others. Try to help enlighten others instead of pulling them down.
8. Avoid Making Judgments
When someone speaks with you, avoid making judgments. He may talk about something against your personal values, principles or beliefs. You don’t have to agree but let him voice his thoughts.
If you can learn how to mirror a person when he speaks, you may be able to voice your views effectively without making him feel offended.
9. Stay Focused
When you are talking about an issue or topic, stay focused. Your listeners may become confused if you divert and talk about unrelated issues.
Check your emotions from time to time when you are speaking or listening to someone talking. Take a break or pause if you notice a negative emotion arising.
10. Be Willing to Accept Feedback
Your willingness to accept criticisms without taking it personally enables people to be more open towards you. Opinions and feedback are very useful. Feedback enables you to see if you are doing something right or otherwise.
11. Emulate Someone You Admire
Networking is a great way to get to know people of different interests. Other people can offer you ideas and insights.
Find someone who speaks well and whom you admire. Observe and listen to how he charms his listeners and you can emulate him.
12. Believe in Yourself
If you want to improve your communication skills, stop saying you can’t do it. Eliminate self-limiting thoughts. Each time your mind starts to say you can’t, cancel that thought and replace it with some words or images that boost your confidence.
Practice what you have learned and gathered. Do it often. Speak to as many people as you can. Deliberate practice will not only perfect your skills but it will also become a habit.
Being able to communicate effectively is important because you are always interacting with people. It is a skill that you need to use every day.
So why not improve your communication skills. It will help you grow in your career and improve your family and social life.