To Improve communication skills, you have to look at some particular factors and then you can improve gradually. Communicating effectively is one of the most fundamental skills, a person should possess, he/she should be able to articulate whatever is in a person’s, it can be challenging for a lot of people. Effective communication involves the ability to pass on information in such a way that the other person understands what you are saying. Most hiring managers expect really good communications skill from candidates, hence most students are pondering over ways to improve their communication skills, and only then can they land the job, they’ve always dreamt of. Individuals with exceptional communication skills not only enjoy command over their peers but also friends, family, and colleagues. Communication involves the process of conveying information from one individual to another either vocally (using voice), written material (posters, books, articles), visual aid (logos, charts, graphs), or through non-verbal ways of communication (body language, gestures).
Being an effective communicator will help you both in your personal life as well as professional life. Communicating effectively will help how you and others around you absorb information. Improper communication leads to miscommunication, loss of time and resources and can cause a lot of distress to the parties involved. Communication is a process that goes both ways. It is a process that involves a person or a group of people sending information and the others receiving information, both are important but most struggle while receiving information. The first steps towards improving one’s communication skills would involve the identification of what is going wrong and working on it, you could ask your friends and colleges and see what is going wrong, self-assess, and put yourself in situations where you would know instantly that you were able to communicate effectively or not.
Let us look at a few pointers that will help us to develop communication skills.
Listening –There is a difference between hearing and listening, hearing is just perceiving sound whereas listening is making sense of whatever you heard. We often forget the two-way nature of communication and get caught up in this process of delivery and forget to respond. We are mostly focusing on our answers to the question posed rather than giving some time to that person’s thought. It is always good and very important to clarify and reflect on what the other person has to say in order to avoid miscommunication. This practice of paying attention to what the other person has to say and rephrasing it for better understanding is called active listening. This will also help you to improve your communication skills
Understand nonverbal communication – Non-verbal communication accounts for 55 to 80 percent of the communication. Non-verbal communication is more than just body language, it includes the tone and pitch of the speaker, body movement, posture, facial expression, etc. The majority of what you want to convey is hidden in these signals so it is very important to be conscious of these signals and interpret them. To make an impression on the listener make sure you have a good tone that varies with what is being conveyed, be audible but not loud, maintain a good posture, don’t slouch, don’t fold your arms keep yourself open, maintain eye contact, look around the audience, notice their presence and move around.
Over-communicate – A study done showed that most speakers overestimate how much their listeners understand, most audiences will fail to absorb most of the information so it’s always good to give your listeners as much context and information as possible. But make sure that you convey the information using as little words as possible, get straight to the point as most listeners will have a lower attention span, and avoid using words that might confuse the listener.
Emotional awareness – Be aware of your emotions and the emotions of others. In a professional environment, logical thinking is not always the only approach as we all have emotions, and not acknowledging those can have grave consequences. Being able to perceive ones and other emotions will greatly augment communication. Emotional intelligence is divided into social and personal skills. Personal skills involve self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation. Social skills involve empathy and social skills. The most important aspect of emotional intelligence is knowing one’s own and other emotions and understanding it.
Feedback – Receiving feedback from peers and your team is an integral part of leadership, regularly seeking feedback will help you in areas that you would have overlooked otherwise.
Questioning – Questions are vital for keeping the conversation going, through questioning you can get more information and asking questions who imply that you have understood something and are interested to know more. Individuals who ask more questions are often good listeners as they absorb information first before they make their opinion public This can help in improving oneself
Discussion – Discussion is an effective way which will help in your personal development, most listeners have a very short attention span hence it is very important to keep the conversations and presentation interactive. Asking your audience to give their opinions, involve them in hypothetical scenarios, and add on their responses and get back to them when the part of the presentation seems likely to answer his questions.
Humour – Most people are drawn to people who can make them laugh, laughing reduces stress and anxiety and releases endorphins or feel-good hormones in your brain. It’s okay to have a few clever and funny puns in your presentations but make sure it doesn’t offend your audience in any way. That’s why every comedian has to work on their self-development skills.
PIP approach – Most executives use a purpose importance preview approach while making presentations. In this approach, the speaker first makes the purpose of the presentation clear then tells the audience why this presentation is important then previews the outcomes. This way of structuring one’s presentation will resolve ambiguity both for the audience and the speaker.
Know your audience – Just like how a great chief curates his dishes for every other customer, a great communicator has to look into his audience beforehand, and curate his presentation that best suits his audience. Each listener has different perspectives due to the cultural norms. It is advisable to ask the members beforehand what their audience profile is.
Treat everyone equally – Respond to everyone equally and don’t practice favoritism, never patronize anyone, make sure every question raised is treated with the utmost importance. Treating everyone equally helps you build trust and confidence.
Don’t completely rely on visual aids – Keep Murphy’s law in mind all the time, anything that can go wrong will always go wrong, presentations can sometimes wary away the audience and might not help you, so avoid completely relying on them. Use your verbal and non-verbal skills with amazing storytelling to make your point and make an impact on the audience. Developing communication skills is a lifelong journey, so keep practicing, Kobe didn’t give up even after he shot five air balls, he went back and analyzed what went wrong and tried to correct it. So you won’t become a chiasmatic speaker overnight. It takes a lot of effort, so don’t give up and use the above-mentioned points effectively and you will be there not immediately but eventually. Good communication skills are important for personal growth and self-development. Being an effective communicator will help you to land your dream job, sell awareness, and help you in your business, being able to articulate something in the simplest words can be a great advantage for you.
SEO credits – Sandip Pal