How To Improve Communication Skills and Become An Effective Communicator:
Improving communication skills is an essential skill to learn. Everyone is born with a clean slate, adapting to the world around him or her and learning as they go. The excellent thing about communication is that like most skills, this can be learned, fine-tuned and mastered. The core element to learning anything is to seek out the information from experts, listen and apply. Without the application process, the information becomes useless. Being an effective communicator boils down to fundamentals. When looking for communication strategies, it is best to focus on the foundation of communication.
Having good communication skills relies on:
The words one chooses to use in conveying information becomes essential to have a diversified vocabulary. Not only to avoid repeating the same words but also to expand the ways one can convey stories, ideas or other important information. It is good practice to look up frequently used words and discover synonyms to use instead. Reading books and making notes on foreign words will also expand one’s vocabulary. FACT: When someone’s vocabulary increases, his or her IQ increases too.
Tone, Voice Volume and Enunciation:
When speaking, it is important to be mindful of how words are being spoken. Are you speaking with confidence and clarity? It is crucial to be aware of how one may be heard by others. Communicating effectively means being easily and accurately understood. A great way to grasp how one is conveying speech is to record oneself reading a book out loud. Begin reading the first chapter and listen to what was read. Immediately, the areas needing to be improved will be evident. This allows one to begin speaking clearly and with proper annunciation.
It is apparent that most people love to talk and the ability to focus and concentrate on a conversation is imperative. When having a conversation, one should let the other person finish what they have to say without interrupting, no matter how tempting it may be. It shows respect and allows the other person to feel significant. Also, after a person has finished, to show understanding of what was said, it is good practice to paraphrase back to the person what was previously mentioned. This confirms that the listener was indeed engaged in the conversation and understood what was being said. (This makes the conversation much easier to participate in, and permits thoughts or suggestions to be received well.)
It is said that 99% of what a person says is in how they act. Therefore, one can say all he or she wants, but if their body language is not in sync with what they are communicating, their speech is futile. Being in present time, and being aware of personal actions is crucial in developing good communication skills. It is important to remain still, have good posture and keep hands visible (not crossed or in pockets). It is normal to have one’s hands down by their side, or clasped together. One should be involved in the conversation, lean in and get closer, showing interest in what the other person is saying. Reciprocate in conversation by saying, “uh-huh”, “yes”, by nodding your head. Other subtle gestures will show respect, one’s contribution to the conversation, and that they are paying attention to the details.
The most effective way to get on the fast track of better communication is to get in touch with an expert. However, this is not a privilege to many. What is second best? Books are great tools for learning information, expanding the mind and moving forward quickly. Some great books to hone communication skills are:
“How To Win Friends and Influence People” - Dale Carnegie
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“The Magic of Thinking Big” - David Schwartz
“How To Negotiate Anything” - Herb Cohen
After delving into these books, browse others and dig deeper.
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Being an effective communicator is not just engaging in verbal and physical communication, it goes beyond. Anyone can improve written communication skills by reading books, and paying attention to how they’re structured. Most people are writing several e-mails, physical letters, and using the power of words to convey information on a daily basis. It becomes critical to develop written communication skills; many of the fundamental communication skills above can be applied to written communication. However, the missing component to writing is improving handwriting/typing skills, both of these combined allow people to become more efficient in producing content, and structuring how we state information in easy-to-digest material. Some amazing books on writing are:
“Bird by Bird” - Anne Lemott
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“Breakthrough Advertizing” - Eugene Schwartz
Even though this article has covered some essential ingredients to becoming better communicators, this is only the scratch of the surface, a bird’s eye view. There is more information to digest, and implement. Remember, when learning to become a better communicator, taking action is the vital step in becoming successful. By simply reading the information without acting upon it, is wasting time. Always implement and test what is being learnt.