There are many ways to improve your communication skills and for most job roles employers specify a desire for candidates with excellent communication skills (both written and verbal).
Below is a selection of carefully compiled Pareto tips to help you perfect your communication skills and get your message across effectively.
Become an engaged listener
The goal of communication is to fully understand and connect with the other person. You should focus fully on the speaker and let them know you are interested in what they are saying. Avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your own concerns. There is nothing more testing than beginning a conversation to be cut off by an irrelevant point from the other person. Try to set all your judgement aside, whatever the topic and your viewpoints, you should remain neutral.
Speak body language
You can tell a lot about someone from their body language and a lot more about their feelings towards a conversation. You can definitely use body language as a tool and an advantage to your conversation. During a positive communication you can enhance it by having your arms uncrossed and maintaining eye contact. If you need to emphasise a certain point body language can play its part here too - patting your friend on the back if you are proud of them or clasping your hands together in order to close a point of conversation and move on.
It is key in communication not to let your emotions get the better of you. If you are stressed or the topic in question is making you tense, you need to let it go. You need to keep calm under pressure. You can stall a conversation by asking a question to give you more time to think and for opening up another avenue of conversation. Pausing can be a really effective way of keeping calm, whilst some people may believe the break works against you it can work in your favour and allow you to navigate the conversation effectively.
Assertion is an asset
Being assertive is a powerful communication tool. To improve assertiveness you should primarily know your wants and needs. What do you want to gain from this conversation? You should value your opinions and remember they are just as important as anyone else’s – effective communication is a two way street. Learning to say no is key to being assertive. You should be aware of your own boundaries and feel comfortable saying no to what you don’t agree with and feel confident in your ability to handle conflict this may create.
Power of a personal touch
The majority of personal communication now takes place online via social media platforms and messaging services. Most people find it easier to communicate via email, text or social media. However, you should never lose sight of the importance of face to face meetings or at least phone conversations. Having a conversation and making a point in person is the best way to communicate effectively and avoiding the risk of misconstrued text and email. Before sending the email just think, could you meet up and say it or put in a quick call? If the answer’s yes, do it. Don’t underestimate the impact of personal communication.
Communication skills are vital to both work and personal life so you should try and perfect them whenever you can!