Communication skills are essential for anyone to make their way through life. We communicate with others most of the time. Whether that’s friends, family, partners, colleagues, customer support staff, strangers or anyone else. You need to be able to communicate well to build and maintain a healthy social life, professional life and more. But how can you improve your communication skills to communicate in the best way you can? Well, it will take some learning and it will take some work. But it is possible. Here are some areas of focus to help you with this. Each will apply more or less to different people, depending on your current skillset. But hopefully, some will come in useful for you!
Learn to Listen
The most important communication skill anyone can learn and focus on is listening. All too many people are busy talking all the time. But by listening to someone properly, you can really help conversations to go more smoothly and productively. If anything is unclear, ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings. Try to maintain one conversation at a time.
Consider Who You’re Talking To
This may sound like common sense, but so many people forget, neglect or bother to take it into account. It’s important to consider who you’re talking to when you’re having a conversation. Different people will require different considerations. If you’re talking for a child, for example, you may take a different approach or tone to make your conversation more age appropriate. If you’re talking to someone elderly with hearing disabilities, you may want to speak more slowly and clearly. If you are speaking to someone at work, you may want to consider communicating in a more professional manner, using tips from STL. If you are speaking to your friends, you might be more casual. Context is always important in any conversation.
Be Aware of Your Body Language
Communication involves much more than words alone. Our body language can speak volumes. So, be aware of your own body language and others’ body language. This is particularly important for face to face encounters, video calls or any other situation where people can see what you’re doing while you’re talking or while they’re talking to you.
Think Before Speaking
All too many people say whatever comes into their head, as and when it comes into their head. This isn’t always wise. Sometimes it’s better to take a moment and consider your thoughts before speaking – especially in situations where your words can make a big impact. This could be an argument or disagreement, a professional meeting or other significant events. Considering what you’re about to say before saying it will allow you to exercise better judgement and to say what you’re actually thinking, feeling or believe.
Of course, there are more skills that can help with your communication. But those outlined above should help to get the ball rolling and support you in your journey. Take each into consideration and work on it. You’ll notice the difference before you know it.
Practice makes perfect.
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