How To Improve Your Communication Skills

How To Improve Your Communication Skills

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    Good communication skills are essential for any sort of public speaking, but can also be very useful in day to day life. It may just make the difference between giving constructive criticism and insensitive nagging. If you want people to pay attention to you, all you need to do is follow the basic guidelines about interacting with your audience, body movement and voice control.

    You will find that simply being aware of these things will improve the way you speak to people or audience, and that practicing speaking as a skill will do wonders for your confidence and performance in social situations.

    How To Improve Your Communication Skills and Speak So Effectively That People Will Want To Listen To You

    As mentioned before, there are several important things you need to be aware of if you would like to improve your communicative skills. With a little effort, you will soon find that it is far easier and more comfortable to speak to anyone anywhere, including speaking to bigger audiences and public presentations of any kind. So, without further ado, here are 7 things you should keep in mind when speaking to people:

    Eye contact

    It is important to maintain eye contact while you are speaking, be it to several people or just one. Of course, this does not mean you should stare at each person in turn, but just make sure you occasionally glance in everyone’s direction. If you don’t engage with your audience in this way, people may start to feel like you are simply talking AT them.

    Body language

    One of the ways to improve communication skills is to simultaneously work on your body language. It is common knowledge that people respond well to confidence. Make sure that you aren’t twitching, or staring at the floor, or flailing your hands. However, there is something to be said about good use of gestures. They can be a great way to keep your audience’s attention and emphasize what you are speaking about. So make sure you are standing up straight, and in full control of your movements.

    Voice control

    Have you ever noticed that some people tend to speak louder when they are excited? It’s a nervous response that many people have, and it would be a good idea to learn to control it. If you are speaking to a few people or just one person in your close proximity, there is no need to raise the tone of your voice. But, in situations where you are speaking to a crowded room, or in a noisy outdoor environment, you need to project your voice so that you can be heard loud and clear in the whole area.

    Pronunciation

    Having good communication skills means having good modulation. It is extremely important to take care of how you pronounce words. It is a simple, yet one of the most effective communication techniques. People will quickly lose their interest or their patience if the speaker is mumbling, mispronouncing words, being too quiet, or hard to understand in any other way. Also, make sure to pace yourself. Speaking slowly is a good idea only when explaining something complicated, but otherwise your audience may find you boring. On the other hand, speaking too quickly may be annoying to your audience, or simply hard to follow.

    Be concise

    If you want to say something and really make it stick, try to make your point in as few words as possible. Avoid rambling sentences, and avoid trailing off when you speak. It is always better to have multiple short sentences, then just a couple of really long ones. Rambling sentences make it harder for the audience to follow your train of thought, and are far less memorable than a sequence of to-the-point shorter utterances.

    Organize

    If you are in any sort of a public speaking arrangement, it is always a good idea to organize your speech logically. If you, for example, need to speak about something for twenty minutes, make sure that you start off with an introductory sentence, then cover all the points you need to make yourself understood, and wrap it all up by finishing off with a conclusion. If you have trouble remembering everything you need to say, you can make a small reminder for yourself, with bullet points to remind you of all the things you need to mention. Don’t overdo it though; the audience will not be impressed if you simply read all your text from a paper sheet. Also, when preparing a public speech, consider the order of your presentation. Make sure that it has a logical structure, and that your audience will not have any trouble following your train of thought and understanding your points.

    Be assertive

    Assertive communication skills come naturally to some people, while others need to work at them a bit. Either way, it just takes a little practice to master this skill. It can be very useful for giving advice or constructive criticism, as it diminishes the chances that the person you are speaking to will be offended. And how exactly does one speak assertively? For a start, avoid sounding like you are attacking the person you are talking to. It is as different as saying: “I think that it could be better if you tried it like this” and “you are wrong”. You may happen to be in a position where you have to speak to a person who has a hard time accepting any advice. In this case, assertiveness is the key. Try to be as polite as possible, helpful, avoid nagging, and hope for the best. Keep in mind that some people will refuse to listen or take offence no matter what or how you say it, and there is just no helping that.

    What if you are the socially awkward – is there still hope to improve communication?

    Yes; there is. Don’t give up just yet. Practice. Practice. Practice.

    Whether or not you are on a date, speaking to people can be a real ordeal especially for …
    the socially awkward or shy people among us.
    Communication skills come in handy when speaking to large groups of people.
    If you have a problem with this, just practice it a little at home, try to relax and follow these basic instructions, and in all likelihood, everything will turn out just fine.

    cover photo: slism.com

    SOURCE slism.com
    Unbreen Fatima
    Broadcast Journalist from Pakistan. Currently associated with DW as Freelance Correspondent. Several years of experience as a journalist in radio, newspaper, online and TV journalism.

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