Communication is the most integral part of human daily life. “How To Improve Your Communication Skills” is a complex question. The ability to communicate is the gift of divine nature to the most intelligent species on this planet: Human Beings. One thing we should consider that not all humans are equally good at this skill. But the good news is that we can improve this skill and learn the art of communicating effectively by practice and applying some tricks and tactics.
Understand communication – Before making any attempts to improve on your communication skills, we should understand what is communication and its types? At what level we are in our communication skills? To what extent we can improve our skills in communication? How to approach the improvement process of communication skills?
What are communication skills? – Most of us think that communication skills are only verbal or what we talk or speak but before making any assumptions we should know the fact that 80% of our communication is non-verbal. E-mails or letters which we write, messages through electric or any other medium like WhatsApp or other messengers, communication which we make through our body language, verbal talks are all comes under the definition of communication skills.
The formal definition of communication would be “transfer of a message from one human to another through mediums like verbal talks, body language, written communication, etc.”
Types of Communication skills
Communication is basically of two types:
Verbal communication- under this type of communication comes all types of verbal talks or messages which we share with people. When we talk with people in our surroundings, over the phone, when we make videos and share it with some specific audience on YouTube or TikTok, podcasts over different mediums like radio, Spotify, etc, it all comes under verbal communication.
Non-verbal Communication- Messages which we communicate through our body language or written letters, e-mails, or messages come under this type of communication.
Before making any attempts to improve your communication skills, you should try to find out at what level we are in our communication skills. This can be done by self-introspection, feedback from people with whom we communicate, and carefully observing our day-to-day communication and conversation activities with people.
After knowing the level of our communication skills we should try to understand to what extent we can improve our skills and what steps we should take to improve them. We inherit our communication skills from our surroundings in which we live and the type of people with whom we spend time. We can improve these skills to certain limits but in the case of communication skills, we can improve them to a high extent.
Tips to improve communication skills
Changing your mindset to communicate well
Have the courage to say what you think- First of all to improve your communication skills, you should practice changing your mindset. Most of the time it happens with bad communicators that they hesitate to speak their truth. And if you want to turn the table around you should practice speaking your mind even when your voice is shaking. You have to develop courage for this and it needs a lot of practice because till now you haven’t lived that way.
A good speaker is a good listener- When you focus only on speaking and don’t listen then you are losing an opportunity to know the other person. And if you don’t listen it would be impossible for the other person to connect with you by heart. Good Communication is two way.
So from today onwards to improve your communication skills develop the habit of listening to other people. It will help you to know and understand them better. Listening to other people makes people connect with you and they feel comfortable around you. It makes you charming and attractive to other people. You will get to know their weakness, strengths, and other relevant traits which may help you later in dealing with those people.
Make communication a priority– while you are involved in a communication with someone then you should focus on making that communication your priority. You should listen to the other person or audience carefully with attention, you should say only what you mean with full of your heart. You should aim to add value to people’s life by having that communication and it will make you trustworthy among your audience. This practice will also increase your popularity. Keep your message simple and stick to the key points.
Emotional Control and management– To engage your audience you need to know the psyche of your listeners. It will benefit you in many ways so take control of this fact and make sure your audience is engaged in what you want to say. It will help you to understand that what will bore your audience and what will interest them.
general tips to improve your communication skills
Practice in front of a mirror or Camera– This practice will give you magical results. Practice giving a speech before a mirror or camera will help you to gain confidence in speaking or communicating before real people or audiences.
Practice giving a speech before you deliver your speech before your real audience. You can practice before the mirror or camera for your real interview. Imagine that some real people are standing or sitting in front of you and listening. You can practice eye contact also before the mirror or camera.
Be social- To improve your communication skills, you need to improve your social skills. Learn and practice social dynamics and people skills. Meet more people and attend public gatherings like parties, marriages, seminars, meetings, etc. Try to meet and indulge in communication with more and more people. Grow your network and it will bring you prosperity and wealth.
To develop the power of your mind or let me be more specific power of your subconscious mind, you could read this wonderful book by Joseph Murphy- THE POWER OF YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND.
Don’t fumble, speak clearly- To speak clearly, you can practice recording audios and listen to them. And if you are making fumble in some particular words then practice their pronunciation again and again until you start speaking them clearly without a fumble.
Use the right words in your communication– Sometimes it happens that we use slang or inappropriate words in our communication or even in our formal communication. We should avoid such mistakes and use words according to the situation.
Improve your tone and develop your voice– Tone of your voice also plays an important role in your communication skills. Most of the time you should try to speak from your stomach it will give you a deep voice and this will make your voice sexy.
Speak slowly- When you speak fast, your audience gets a subtle message that you lack confidence in yourself or the thing which you are saying. You don’t believe what you are saying. They might also think that you are deceiving them. So try to keep your pace slow while speaking or delivering a speech.
Make sure you are understood– You should also take care while delivering a speech or establishing communication that your audience understands you and your points which you gave in your speech. Sometimes it happens that your words are such that they have two meanings, you should avoid using such words. Make sure your audience gets the point or argument which you made then only your communication is successful.
Practice over communication– If you are very much shy to communicate or face audience or listeners then you do an extreme exercise which is over-communication.
In this, you have to speak more than you want. You have to talk to more people than you want. You have to face a larger audience than you can. This is an extreme practice and will fear you at first go but if you succeed at it, it will take your confidence to the next level.
tips for public speech or presentation
Prepare and edit your speech– It is obvious that you go blank in front of a real audience if you have no content to speak or you have attempted to speak without preparation. It is advisable that you should prepare your speech before giving it and edit it properly so that you speak only relevant content.
Enquire about your audience– If you are invited to deliver a speech in front of a large audience then you should ask the organizer about the kind of audience you are going to deal with. Ask questions regarding their age group, academic background, interest, family background, and other relevant questions.
If you are going for an interview then you should do proper inquiries about the company or office in which you are visiting for an interview. If possible, enquire about key officials of the concerned company. And do the same way in other relevant situations.
Start and end with key points– You should start your speech with key points so that your audience can sense about what value they are going to get from you and it also arouses their interest and keep them engaged. End your speech with a proper and structured conclusion or take away. Involve key points at the end and it will make your audience feel that they have extracted some value from your speech.
Use presentation tools– If you don’t have that sharp memory or you don’t want to look stupid by holding a paper in your hand then you can take the help of presentation tools to deliver your speech. You can use tools like Microsoft PowerPoint. It will aid you in your speech.
Record important presentation– You should record your communication if possible to see them afterward and notice your mistakes to improve them. This practice will help you a lot to improve your talking skills.
Learn the art of storytelling– In Your communication, many a times you have to resort to storytelling to make your point understand to audience. You have to tell them interesting stories to make an impact on their sub-conscious mind, so that they can grasp your point. So you should learn the art of storytelling. Create fictional stories in your speeches or you can pick factual stories from History.
Master the art of timing- You should practice the art of timing to master the art of communication. There are times when you need to change the tone of your voice, there are times when you should be serious and also there are times when you should put humor in your talks. You should identify the mood of audience and make the necessary course correction. If you master the art of timing in your communication, you can alter your moves of communication according to situation.
Engage your listeners or readers– While making any communication verbal or non-verbal you should focus on engaging your listeners or audience. It will make their experience enriching and they will crave more to listen to you which will fulfill the purpose of your communication. Ask them questions or indulge them into some kind of activity. After you finish your speech or talk ask them for feedback.
Use Humor- Entertainment is the thing which comforts everyone and there is no better entertainment than comedy. So why don’t use humor to your advantage. You can put little humor in your speeches and you will find your audience or listeners engaged.
Use gestures- Using body language in your communication proves to be fruitful. Sometimes a person speaks lies which you can identify by his body language. On the contrary, if you could control your body language then you deceive another person successfully. But you should use the art of knowing body language in a much positive way.
Don’t send mixed messages to people as it will confuse them and they would be unable to understand that what you want to communicate. Be aware and conscious of your body language and learn to control it in your favor.
Maintain eye contact- You should take care of maintaining eye contact with your audience or listeners. You can practice eye contact by making eye contact with complete strangers at public places like Railway Stations, Parks, etc. It would be comfortable for you. Another exercise you can do is by making eye contact with yourself into a mirror or camera and holding it for few minutes.
Take time to respond– While engaging your audience in your communication you are asked certain questions then you should take your time to respond to them so that your response is accurate. You can use pause technique for this. You should also take sufficient pauses even when the communication is one-way.
Get comfortable speaking extemporaneously- There are times when you don’t get chance to prepare your speech. So you should be prepared for such situations and make yourself habitual of speaking extemporaneously.
Minimize stress– If there is any conflict in your gathering then try to resolve conflict. It will try to present you as mature person and people will start to respect you for your positive personality.
Add value- This is the most important and vital aspect of communication. You should focus on adding value to your audience or listeners’ life and they will help you to prove yourself a better communicator. Speak what benefits them, tell them which help them to better their life.
Maintain a Positive Attitude and Smile– Positive attitude will not only make your speeches better but it will also improve the quality of your life. Complement your positive attitude with a smile on your face. A smile can change your mood and your audience’s mood too. It can cover flaws in your communication, so use it to your advantage.
To improve your communication skills you first need to change your mindset and it will automatically finish half of your task of improving communication skills. The practice is another aspect that will make you an extraordinary orator. So focus on practice. Practice your speeches and talks in front of a mirror or camera.
As these skills are more about people so you should be more social and meet more and more people. Accept most of the invitation you get and attend the public gatherings to brush up your skills. At last improvement of these skills is a life-long journey and you have to work at it for a lifetime.