Communication skills make the most crucial success and life skills in today’s world. These skills, which make a part of emotional intelligence can make or break your relationship, can open business opportunities, or can get your kicked out of your job. You need to earn at least a pass in this practical life skill if you want to survive in today’s world.
So, what do you think are you equipped enough?
You can be a communication guru and still want to improve your communication skills. Or you can be an everyday guy who wants to know a few tactics of persuasion. Wherever you stand on the spectrum of skillfulness, you should keep learning because there is always room to grow in this skill.
11 Useful Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills
But what are some useful tips most charismatic personalities use to constantly up their game? Let’s give you an overview to improve your communication skills.
1. Practice Mindful Listening
Communication starts with listening. If you are able to understand what the other person has to say, their monologue will become communication.
Do you know what the biggest issue of most ineffective people is?
It’s that they don’t believe in listening. As soon as they enter into a conversation, their mind starts giving them signals that the opponent has more or less knowledge than them so they are not equal and certainly can’t have a mutually respectful conversation.
Mindful listening includes ditching your biases and prejudices. It includes taking off your glasses and trying to understand the incoming messages for what they are.
Mindful listening allows you to find similarities, positive sides, and growth opportunities; while appreciating the differences so you can smooth them out.
It also includes combining non-verbal cues with verbal communication to better comprehend others’ perspectives.
2. Learn Empathy
When you are aligned with the present moment and you listen, you not only listen to the verbal and non-verbal signals but also look at the person with whom you are interacting. Then, you know their background and their reasons for these opinions.
But to understand these, strictly personal, backgrounds, it’s compulsory that you know the art of reading one’s emotions. Empathy, thus, is a great tool we can use to improve communication skills.
The more skilled you are at it, the better heart-to-heart communications you will create.
If you think you can practice more of empathy, try feeling others’ emotions. Analyze others in different, emotion-inducing situations.
Ask yourself, ‘How would you feel in those events?’
Feel that feeling as though you live inside that person.
3. Grow your knowledge
Knowledge is power. And this power is effective in every situation and interaction.
But when we work to improve our communication skills, the benefits of knowledge become multifold.
First, it allows us to present ourselves in the best possible way because we know what is suitable for us and the situation.
Second, we learn to tolerate differences in opinions.
Third, it teaches us more about body language and its clues.
Fourth, knowledge helps us become more engaging and wiser with words.
Fifth, it makes us more credible in the eyes of our listeners.
In the end, we learn more about emotions; thus, knowledge helps us with empathy.
So, knowledge is great to have and improve upon. But what are some sources to increase your knowledge?
Books, podcasts, blogs, and news are some sources. But the more natural, more useful knowledge will come from analyzing people and their interactions with their peers and environments.
Analyze your fellows at home and work. Take a third-party perspective to study the communication skills of other people at public places and mass communication channels of TV and politics. Understand which behaviors and expressions create harmony and which ones create drama and hurt.
Practice what works best.
One crucial rule that will help you immensely improve your communication skills is to strike a balance of focus between your expressions and theirs. If the communication revolves around your opinions only and you are indifferent towards the other person’s viewpoint, then the conversation will remain dull and unproductive.
At the same time, too much focus on other person’s expressions will also create a lose-lose-situation for both of you.
One way to counter this imbalance is for every person to give more validation and interest to their counterpart in conversation.
If you are too egocentric, shift the focus or expect failure at having great communications.
If you are not too egocentric and often feel that you have no voice, consider taking assertiveness training. Or if you feel that your symptoms are not that strong to warrant assertiveness training, consider re-arranging your social circle to include those people who are more supportive and validating.
Find your voice and use it often not only improve communication skills but also to induce self-love within you.
6. Learn from great presenters
Another method to grow your knowledge, communication-skills-specific knowledge is to learn from great presenters.
These presenters can be your favorite celebrities, leading political figures, guides or mentors, or your acquaintances.
Don’t base your selection only on your likings. Instead, find those personalities which truly win the hearts of masses. Listen to what other people have to say about them. Popularity scores will also give, a little biased, cue.
Observe their body language. Know why their best moves are their bests. Apply on yourself and do a little mirror exercise for testing these moves.
Select the best moves that would work for you.
Rinse and repeat.
Learn verbal communication similarly.
7. Ask questions
Other than what you will learn from the people to whom you are talking and the great presenter you are following, there are a few tips that work in every situation and for every person.
If you want to improve your communication skills, learn to raise the right questions. This step becomes easy when you are mindfully listening to the speaker and easier when you are empathetic towards their needs.
Try to understand their opinion better and only raise questions when you truly want to know something. Take note that raising questions is not the key here. The key here is showing interest in speaker’s viewpoint.
8. Work on Expressions
Again, your expressions should show interest in the other person’s approach. But you also have to find a balance so you can also express your opinion and emotions through facial appearance. Your analysis of great mentors should help you a lot in finding your expression of your emotions.
Also, take help from mirror exercise.
But that’s just tip of the iceberg. You can never express your true emotions if you don’t know what they are. So the first step in expressing your right emotions is aligning with your emotions.
Here are some tips that will help you practice great emotional intelligence.
9. Practice vocal expression
Facial expressions are crucial in gaining and maintaining other people’s interests. But if you are not supporting these expressions with the right vocal expressions, you are losing half-the battle without even trying to win at it.
Speak often. Record yourself. Do some vocal exercises. And know your strengths and weaknesses. Invest some time in creating a vocal persona that is unique to you.
Invest your social contacts to help you in this pursuit. Try enlisting a partner with whom you can do the exercises and get immediate feedback.
10. Make Eye contact
Eye contact is a pragmatic rule. Most cultures around the world nowadays appreciate holding eye contact. These cultures consider eye contact as a symbol of truthfulness and honesty.
Some other cultures, however, consider it disrespectful to maintain eye contact.
If you are from Western countries, this rule is for you. Proceed with caution if you represent Eastern cultures. In more Eastern cultures, try using handshakes and respectful gestures to gain confidence.
Most Eastern cultures welcome different gestures, like eye contact, as a different cultural identity. So, eye contact is the best communication skill for most people around the world.
Show your interest and commitment through friendly and frank eye contact. Again, practice in front of a mirror to know your kindest angles. You wouldn’t like to present a bored expression in an attempt to appear most interested.
11. Role Play
One last tip that will help you improve communication skills is about playing out the role.
Start with enrolling a partner. Agree on a mutually respectful role.
Talk about the rule and create an outcome and interest for both parties. Avoid making it personal.
Understand your needs. If you want to be a little more assertive after this exercise, ask your partner to restrain support. On the other hand, if self-centeredness is your issue, try lending a listening ear.
Start the conversation. And see how the new roles can support you in your communications.
Here’s a quick recap of 11 Useful Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills:
- Practice Mindful Listening
- Learn Empathy
- Grow your knowledge
- Learn from great presenters
- Ask questions
- Work on Expressions
- Practice vocal expression
- Make Eye contact
- Role Play
Are you committed to improving your communication skills every day? If not, you should be. Communications skills are like muscles, they need daily training to keep fit and improve.
This article considers 11 different methods that will help you with your communication. These tips range from changing your mindset for long-term effects to learning from the gurus to using small, practical hacks for instant improvement.