7 Effective Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

Positive relationships in both the professional and personal spheres depend on effective communication.

You use communication skills when you speak with your family, present at work, or discuss a concern with your boss.

Although it’s simple to think of communication as just talking, there is more to it.

Various factors influence communication, such as your word choice, presentation graphics, and tone of voice.

Not only does a betterment in this area help you further your career, but it also makes you an active listener with an open mind and a knack for building great interpersonal relationships.

Poor communication is often a reason behind losing potential business and wasting hours away at inconclusive meetings.

Elements of Communication

Elements of Communication

There are but 3 facets to it: Verbal, Non-verbal, and written communication.

Verbal communication takes place face-to-face, on online meetings, or over the phone.

Non-verbal communication is your body language, facial expressions, eye contact or the lack of it, and how your body in totality adds to the words being spoken and emoted.

Written communication is that which pops up in letters, emails, and chats. It is definitely also how writers speak to their readers.

But it is to be remembered that communication also inherently entails exceptional listening skills, paying attention to the silence between words, having a heightened emotional awareness that helps identify situations in progress, and definitely great questioning skills as more can be learnt from a succinct question or two than from never-ending paragraphs.

How to Enhance Communication Skills: Verbal

The most traditional of all communications requires a combination of great vocabulary, pitch control, and a sense of animation while engaging with the audience.

Verbal Communication

You want them to be hooked on what you have to say, right? Rather than fall dead asleep.

How do you do that?

For starters, you must have clarity as to what you wish to communicate and the facts and figures to back that up.

Things to Do:

1. Observe with tact. Your daily communication and audience give a plethora of information about how people engage with you and where they seem to lose attention. Pick up your strengths and weaknesses from daily conversations.

2. Follow a structure. Stating your purpose, backing it up with your rationale, and end with offering possible outcomes. This framework of presenting your thoughts is apt for both professional and informal scenarios.

Things to Avoid:

1. No monotone. You must keep switching from one cadence to another. The to and fro jumping between lower and higher pitch helps assert gravitas and youthfulness, respectively.

2. Use silence to your advantage. The audience will sway with the rhythm of your storytelling as you pause at strategic points, hold the attention and make the big reveal.

How to Improve Communication Skills: Non-verbal

Your face gives out more than you could ever imagine.

Non-verbal cues stand for the body language that is omnipresent in any communication that happens in a physical presence – real or virtual.

non-verbal communication

It is the movement of your eyes, the crack in your voice, how you cross your arms, and how your feet stand on the ground.

It is a multiplicity of body language features that connects the dot between the words being spoken and the emotion & purpose being espoused.

Things to Do:

1. Meet the eyes. Maintaining steady eye contact is instrumental to establishing a speaker-listener relationship. Firm eye contact used intelligently helps drive home a point. It says that you are paying eye attention and are indeed present in the moment.

2. Good Posture says it all. Slouching is an absolute no-no in the workplace or during serious talks. It can be a difficult non-verbal communication skill to master – but you need to work at it nonetheless.

Things not to do:

1. Do not fidget. This is rule number one in any checklist. Being calm and still will convey a sense of confidence and control.

2. Don’t cross your arms. This apparent ‘power pose’ is a sham you need to stay away from. It makes you come off as a closed person who is not ready to various perspectives, and this can never be helpful at work or with family.

How to Enrich Communication Skills: Written

This one can be the hardest as you do not have your audience present to judge their reaction and change tone and manner accordingly. What can be done, though, is constant reviewing.

How to Enrich Written Communication Skills

Make sure that your spelling and grammar are flawless as a starting point for improving your written communication.

The written word can be very powerful in conveying your ideas and especially emotions, if you incorporate punctuations, pauses, and bridges to great effect.

Things to Do:

1. Read before sending.

Are there missing points? Is the tone appropriate for this email? Assuming too much of the reader or too less is a grave mistake. Instead, make sure you are clear, concise, and yet in-depth and intuitive in what you have written.

2. Pay attention to Formatting.

Is your email a readable text? Does it look and feel like a long paragraph with no pauses? One would immediately lose attention if that be so. Use bullet points, indentations, separate paragraphs, etc. To make more sense. Emphasise key points with underlines and highlights.

Things not to do:

1. Do not over-complicate.

Simple sentences that are not contrived or riddled with big words will always be more welcome by your audience.

2. Use more active voice.

Contrary to tradition. People do prefer shorter sentences in active voice that not only clarify actions or ideas being spoken of but also help make the reader more engaged.

7 Methods to Improve Your Communication Skills

7 Methods to Improve Your Communication Skills

1. Listen, Listen, Listen

The desire of people is to feel heard. Rather than formulating your response, pay close attention to what the other person is saying.

To avoid misunderstandings, seek clarification.

A major part of effective communication lies in listening closely.

You should pay attention to a person’s non-verbal cues as well as their spoken words when they are speaking to you.

One conversation at a time is another crucial idea. This means that you shouldn’t reply to an email or send a text message while on the phone with someone.

They will pick up the fact that you are not paying attention. A great way to start and hold attention is to ask questions.

2. Be clear and concise

Are your words expressing your core idea? Or have you strayed far from what you meant to convey?

Proofreading for typos, spelling, and grammatical mistakes will often help you shed the weight of excess words that help simplify the message.

With emails or our stories – we need to be careful lest we ramble. Do you think they want to listen to you meander through your long, winding story only to reach an unsatisfactory conclusion? No, they don’t as much as you wouldn’t.

Conversations that are clear and concise – both in life and on paper – are the ones which are most welcome.

3. Prepare in advance

Oh, so you are a sucker for impromptu conversations?

Don’t you really like making blueprints before expressing yourself?

No one could deny the charm of organic conversations that flow seamlessly in person and on paper – but the ‘um’s’ and the ‘uh’s’ can get really tricky if you don’t have time to think ahead.

If you’re planning to give a speech or present an idea in your office meeting. It’s better if you plan ahead in time.

A mere 30 seconds to go over key points you would like to engage within that communication will work wonders for you.

4. Be careful of nonverbal communication

Being mindful of the Dos and don’ts of what we spoke of non-verbal communication will take you a long way – both in being an active listener and an engaging speaker.

Picking up on non-verbal cues, such as fidgeting by the speaker, will tell you that it’s time to wind up your story.

Or their refusal to make eye contact is a sure-shot indication of impending boredom.

Your own body language can command attention if a combination of good traits be used into effect – such as a straight posture, hand gestures, constant eye contact with the audience, moving around the room etc.

5. Observe your tone

Does your listener feel respected? Does your reader feel included? Your tone of communication will be decisive for these two questions.

The difference in location, setting, topic at hand, the audience present – all call for choosing an appropriate tone.

Formal settings won’t appreciate jokes interspersed into your monologue, while social gatherings call for a more earthy manner of speaking.

Recording your voice while giving a speech or preparing for a tough conversation will help you identify the ebb and flow of your tone.

Keep recording, reviewing, and resolving to make changes where they are needed.

6. Learn from experts

Although the best communication skills are to be learnt through sheer experience – there is always the option of learning from the pros.

Several handbooks, workshops, seminars and courses are available nowadays that take you through the ABCs of effective communication skills.

So what If you live in a remote location or have absolutely no time to spare for workshops?

You can join online courses to enhance your communication skills.

It can be a big undertaking to transform the way you communicate – that’s where these coaches and mentors come in.

7. Identify your weaknesses and work upon them

So many pointers and so much knowledge. But how to effectively imbibe them into your daily conversations?

Well, one has to practice for this as they do for any other skill.

Ask for feedback, pinpoint challenges and commit to working on these areas of development.

Test the Level of Communication Skills you have acquired each day, every day, and at any given occasion.

Small changes that you incorporate into your next zoom meeting or coffee chat will make a huge impact in the long run.

Test the Level of Your Communication Skills

Test the Level of Your Communication Skills

So many pointers and so much knowledge. But how to effectively imbibe them into your daily conversations?

Well, one has to practice for this as they do for any other skill.

Ask for feedback, pinpoint challenges and commit to working on these areas of development.

Test the Level of Communication Skills you have acquired each day, every day, and at any given occasion.

Small changes that you incorporate into your next zoom meeting or coffee chat will make a huge impact in the long run.

Key Takeaways

In a post-pandemic world – with increased remote work and isolation at home – effective communication is indeed a boon that can be weaponised to great effect.

There is always room for improvement, even if you were born with a natural gift for interacting with others in an effortless and effortless manner.

Just as your interpersonal and professional relationships develop over time, so do strong communication skills.

Communication is a two-way street.

Once you inculcate methods to be a good listener – the speaker in you gets honed in their craft.

Put in empathy in every sentence you speak or write down, and that will mark the beginning of a great communicator who holds a room completely mesmerised.

Related articles: 100 Most Common Phrasal Verbs List with Example Sentences

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