How many times have you lost an argument just because of a lack of communication skills? How many times have you felt stressed and abnormal while communicating with your spouse, kids, boss, friends, or co-workers and then said or done something you later regretted? How many times did you miss an opportunity only because you couldn’t communicate your idea well? Are communication skills really that important and do they play a major role in deciding every single aspect of your life whether it is relationships, Job interviews, forwarding your Ideas, or anything you can relate or remember? If it plays such an important role then why don’t we put work to improve communication skills?
Are improving your communication skills isn’t considered that important that people ignore that! Many people have already developed their communication skills either through practice, or sometimes it is a god gift to such individuals. They take away all the opportunities for which you are; you are equally capable of performing better than those. We should improve communication skills to shine better than others. But what are communications skills, and how can we improve our communication skills? Always remember
Hard work can beat talent!
What are Communication Skills?
Communication skills are the ability to convey or share ideas and feelings effectively. It includes listening, speaking, observing, and empathizing with the ideas, feelings, or what’s happening around us. Communication skills in simple words can be explained as to how you represent your thoughts, ideas, skills in front of others.
The ability to communicate effectively is a key hack life skill and must not be overlooked. Developing communication skills can help many aspects of your life, from your professional career, social gatherings to relationships with any person.
Effective communication sounds like it should be instinctive. But all too often, when we try to communicate with others, something goes astray only because of our bad communication skills. We say one thing, the other person hears something else, and misunderstandings, frustration, irritation, and conflicts ensue. This can cause trouble in your profession, home, work relationships and school.
For many of us, communicating more clearly and effectively requires learning some important skills. Whether you’re trying to improve communication with your spouse, kids, boss, or coworkers, learning these skills can deepen your connections with others, build greater trust and respect, and improve teamwork, problem-solving, and your overall social and emotional health. You all need is to implement these factors in your daily life, which will, for sure, improve your communication skills. But what is stopping us from improving our communication skills? What are the barriers that we have to overcome to develop communication skills?
Why we are lacking in Communication skills?
Some common barriers that prevent us from for effective communication are:-
- Stress and out-of-control emotion:- When you’re stressed or emotionally overwhelmed, you’re more likely to misread other people and take them wrong, send baffling nonverbal signals, and make haste to end communication. To avoid dispute and misinterpretation, you can master how to calm down before any communication quickly.
- Lack of focus:– If you are not focused, then you should forget about having good communication because you can’t communicate effectively when you’re multitasking. This is the major setback in improving communication skills. If you’re checking your phone, planning what you’re going to say next, or daydreaming, you’re almost certain to miss nonverbal cues in the conversation. To communicate effectively and productively, you need to be focused and avoid distractions.
Read now: How to avoid distractions?
- Inadequate body language:- Nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said, not contradict it. You have to show what you are speaking, don’t show something else and speak something else. If you do this the listener will think that you are dishonest and will not trust your words. For example, you can’t say “yes” while shaking your head no.
- Pessimistic body language:- If you disagree with what’s being said, you might use pessimistic body language to reject the other person’s message, such as crossing your arms, tapping your feet, or avoiding eye contact. You don’t have to agree with, or even like what’s being said, but to communicate effectively and not put the other person on the defensive, it is essential to ignoring giving negative signals. This practice can improve communication skills to the next level.
How to begin to Improve Communication Skills – baby steps.
- Be aware of individual differences:- Everyone is not the same. Every individual has different personalities and thinking. Be aware not every person you meet will think the same as you think, they can have different opinions. Respect that.
- Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group:- Read and try to understand the nonverbal communication signals to improve communication skills. Take them as a whole and try to figure out what the other person is trying to represent.
- Avoid negative body language:– Negative body language can render you with a tag of dishonest and can even question your character because if you will represent yourself as a negative person and babbles anything this will make another person think and he/she can even end the communication. So be positive, show yourself, and be a positive person with a positive body language. Wait for your turn and listen patiently.
- Adjust your nonverbal signals according to the context:- If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will likely feel that you’re being dishonest and lack of thoughts. Show what you are speaking. Take time, wait, think to prepare, and then represent yourself. Be it 1-2 second late no, matter but speak what you are showing. This is what you have to begin with to improve communication skills.
- Make one point:- Do not try to speak multiple points on a single issue. This will contradict your thoughts somewhere and will render a bad impression. Make a strong point, be with it till the end of the communication. Support your point by giving examples and describing real-life experiences. Support it till the end, remark the importance of your thoughts and make other people believe you. Sway him/her. This will give you confidence and thus will automatically improve your communication skill.
- Be aware with who you are talking to:- Think first before you speak whether to be informal and formal. You can’t behave the same as with your boss and friends. This will improve your communication skills and you will communicate effectively according to the situation.
- Bring your senses to the rescue:- Keep all your sense open. Gather information about what others are saying by listening patiently and then calculate the information inside your mind. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses—sight, sound, touch, taste, smell—or movement. Do anything that will give you pleasure and release your stress whether it is counting in your head or squeezing a stress ball inside your pocket. This will give you a feeling of dominancy in the situation.
- Body language and Gestures:- While communicating, always be vigilant about your body language – hand movements, facial expressions in particular. Reason – actions speak louder than words. They either give positive and pleasant vibes or make you sound like a douche.
- Pause to collect your thoughts:- Don’t make haste to reply. Collect the information that you want to say, give them an order, and then after a deep breath, speak up your thoughts with full confidence. This will give weight to your wordings and you will not say anything that you have to regret later.
- Deliver your words clearly:– Don’t murmur your words inside your mouth. Speak to them clearly. You will have a feeling that you have delivered them correctly but the fact that this should be for listeners. The listener should be getting each and every word of what you speak clearly and effectively. If the listener didn’t get what you said for the first time then your repetition for the second time will not deliver the same impression. Improve this to improve communication skills.
- Control your Pitch:– While Communicating, it is essential to keep a tab on your voice pitch. Neither too high nor too low. Try to fine-tune it to the level of pleasantness. No one likes a cacophony and neither is mumbling appreciated.
- Wrap up with a summary:- Deliver all your thoughts and sum it up with a summary. Stop when you are done. Stop even if it leaves a silence in the room. You don’t have to fill the silence by continuing to talk.
How to master communication skills?
In this section you will learn how to master Communication skills.
- Knowledge: Obtaining knowledge about basic instances in life is the key to improving communication skills. If you don’t know what’s happening around the world, you will never know how to start a conversation with anyone. Most conversations that happen in day to day life doesn’t have a specific agenda. The agenda honestly is to converse. Having good knowledge, being aware of happenings, and willingness to learn more is what starts communication with anyone. Any conversation for that matter has to make sense. And for good communication, it is imperative that you sound sensible.
- Obviously, you can speak shit and sound cool. But to reach that level, you need to master the nuances of communication. Also, since the question is about improving communication skills, we shall stick to a sensible conversation. Therefore widen your horizon of knowledge. You can do this by reading newspapers, watching movies, watching debates, reading on Quora, reading articles/blogs on social media etc. whichever fits. Don’t be dumb while communicating, gain knowledge, and speak it with confidence. Readers here is a trick, gain all knowledge and data about a single topic or an issue. The next day while discussing with your friends or colleagues, start that topic and render all the information that you have collected in a good and polite manner taking all the above communication in mind. This will make put a great impression on them. But remember, don’t over show else it will leave a bad impact. Gain knowledge about new things on, click here.
- Participate:-There is a chance when you commence trying to improve communication skills, you will find it uncomfortable to come out of your comfort zone. Also, since you haven’t been so good at communication in the past, you may also land up saying things that don’t make much sense, or the manner in which you say it isn’t tasteful. Don’t be shy, or afraid to be open. Try to motivate yourself from inside that you can do it. Initially, every person goes through this. The key thing is to keep participating. Keep brushing up your skills and keep giving yourself challenges. You will perform well when you will have something to prove. Keep increasing your level day by day. Of course, learn from your mistakes, but don’t give up. Never stop participating.
- Presentation:- Communication skills mainly revolve around the presentation. How you present your thoughts? How you control the audience? Are you confident? And is the manner in which you talk is engaging? The presentation is all about mannerism. You know what you wish to speak, but how do you speak it? Mix your sayings with some real-life examples, telling short stories, cracking some small jokes, being sarcastic extra. You can improve this by watching good movies. Movies are all about presenting things in never before seen manner. The dialogues, speeches tend to have a profound effect. Try to imagine situations in your mind and start practice presenting yourself in various situations. Think of the aspects you will do when you will face that situation.
- Listen:- Yes, listen. Anyone can go about saying what they want to say, few will take the time to listen. But listening helps in understanding, processing your thoughts, and then you can reply. Let’s say you’re so busy in formulating your own thoughts, that you don’t even pay attention to the speaker. When you reply you will land up saying things that aren’t in sync to where the conversation is going. So, even if you say good things in a good manner, it will just be weird. Listen! Take pauses, nod your head, Ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings, hold your chin, see the other way. But listen, People want to know that they are being heard. By performing this not only will improve communication skills but also put a good impression on the listener.
- Body Language:- Most important, more than 70 % of communication skills are about this. Try to be with the people in the conversation, occasionally smiling, Hmmmsss, that deep look on your face, looking up and down at the right time, shaking hands while moving out of the conversation, and many more. Learn these from great orators. Watch youtube videos, of those who speak tactfully. Body language matters. This is important for face-to-face meetings and video conferencing. Make sure that you appear accessible, so have open body language. This means that you should not cross your arms. And keep eye contact so that the other person knows that you are paying attention.
- Learn: Learn from people around you. Those who speak well, learn from them. Learn how they engage an audience. Don’t be scared of them, or insecure or get confused that how are they so good. They’ve just been doing it for a long time, their confidence is much more than yours. Eventually, with time, you will also become above average, and someday a great orator.
- Confidence:– You yourself will be in a position to gauge your confidence level whilst looking in the mirror. This again will improve with time and practice which will automatically improve communication skills. Again, if you have substantial awareness/knowledge regarding a topic you are likely to be confident. Keep practicing and this shall help you accentuate your confidence. However, don’t be carried away by their simplicity because your attention span is unbelievably short and your spiral thoughts will try their best to carry you away from carrying them out mindfully.
But, you must always hijack yourself from their clutches and keep practicing mindfully.
- Fluency:- The next ingredient that you have to keep in check is your fluency. Please, take note it is absolutely fine to stutter initially. This will improve with time and practice. What is more important is to keep a check on how you put forth a conversation that is do you tend to get over-excited on a familiar topic of yours and tend to speak fast? Or are you numb when it comes to a more abstract topic! Remember, think in your native language – then collect your thoughts, structure them, and then shoot in a more humble manner. Don’t rush.
- Asset yourself:- Direct, assertive expression makes for clear communication and can help boost your self-esteem and decision-making skills. Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in an open and honest way, while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does NOT mean being hostile, aggressive, or demanding. Effective communication and developing communication skills are always about understanding the other person, not about winning an argument or imposing your opinions on others.
What not to do While improving Communication Skills?
Here are some don’t(s) to remember to improve communication skills:-
- Do not avoid confrontation to have a healthy conversation.
- Resort to texting if you are uncomfortable expressing yourself in person. Once you are comfortable, talk in person.
- Don’t waste your good thoughts or lines. Please write down your thoughts in a diary and use them whenever needed.
- Don’t disrespect with whom you are talking to. Always be respectful while communicating.
- Avoid speaking in anger as your words will most likely to offend. Instead, think over a sentence in your head before you say it, and if something seems offensive, say it in private or do not say it at all. Always think three seconds before you speak.
- Never use 100 words to say something that can be said with 10.
- Know the intent of your message and make sure that you get your point across. While you always want to be calm and considerate, confusing someone by speaking in circles is often just as bad as offending them by being too direct.
Don’t be carried away by their simplicity because your attention span is unbelievably short and your spiral thoughts will try their best to carry you away from carrying them out mindfully.
But, you must always hijack yourself from their clutches and keep practicing mindfully.
Yes, improving communication skills is highly important. But it takes time to improve communication skills and master it. Never feel sad and upset if you aren’t moving forward quickly. It is a slow process, but one thing you should keep in mind is, just be yourself, talk like you do to your family, be a bit more formal though (where required), and move on. Over importance creates nervousness, be a little casual towards life and circumstances. And one more thing, if you are not confident in a particular language, spend an hour daily, reading loud its literature, and watch some TV shows, that’s it. It does work! See for yourself.
Now go on and start flaunting your improved communication skill, do everything that you wanted and say everything that you couldn’t say earlier.
There are also online courses available to assist you professionally while communication skill and will guide for a effective communication. You don’t have to do this alone.
Suggested read:- 10 things to do before you die.