How to improve your communication skills

There are different types and methods that can be used in a person’s professional life. As with many skills, it is important that communication is actively practised. – Best Communication Skills Course In Lagos

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A well-known concept in communication studies is active listening. We are also familiar with different types of listening, such as empathic listening, appreciative listening and analytical listening.

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Listening is an often underestimated skill. Your overall skillset and the impression you leave on others can drastically improve by developing the appropriate listening skills.

Different styles or types of communication are required depending on a person’s situation. In the articles on communication skills, learn when and where to use a certain communication style.

This will for example assist you in closing that promising business deal or leaving a good impression on a potential business partner. You might discover that ease of understanding others is just as important as communicating your own ideas.

Another important element in communication is giving and receiving feedback. This is also the part of listening that allows a person to improve his or her skills. Being proficient in communication can help you to be open-minded and incorporate feedback in your work. Communication skills can assist you in making sense of the feedback you receive.

Additionally, these skills can empower you to give constructive feedback to others.

How to improve communication skills

There are some specific steps that can be taken to improve these skills. Some of these techniques are listed below.

  • Listening. Real listening is often limited by people being too quick to form a response
  • Adjust the communication style according to the listener
  • Pay attention to body language
  • Monitor what is being transmitted or verbalised
  • Keep a positive attitude and smile

The Importance of Communication Skills

Having strong communication skills aids in all aspects of life – from professional life to personal life and everything that falls in between. From a business standpoint, all transactions result from communication. Good communication skills are essential to allow others and yourself to understand information more accurately and quickly.

In contrast, poor communication skills lead to frequent misunderstandings and frustration. In a 2016 LinkedIn survey conducted in the United States, communication topped the list of the most sought-after soft skills among employers.

How to Improve Your Communication Skills

Here are some pointers to look out for when looking to improve your ability to effectively communicate with others:

1. Listening

To become a good communicator, it is important to be a good listener. It is important to practice active listening – pay close attention to what others are saying and clarify ambiguities by rephrasing their questions for greater understanding.

2. Conciseness

Convey your message in as few words as possible. Do not use filler words and get straight to the point. Rambling will cause the listener to tune out or be unsure of what you are talking about. Avoid speaking excessively and do not use words that may confuse the audience.

3. Body language

It is important to practice good body language, use eye contact, utilize hand gestures, and watch the tone of the voice when communicating with others. A relaxed body stance with a friendly tone will aid in making you look approachable to others.

Eye contact is important in communication – look the person in the eye to indicate that you are focused on the conversation. But make sure to not stare at the person as it can make him or her uncomfortable.

4. Confidence

Be confident in what you say and in your communication interactions with others. Being confident can be as easy as maintaining eye contact, maintaining a relaxed body stance, and talking with concision. Try not to make statements sound like questions and avoid trying to sound aggressive or demeaning.

5. Open-mindedness

In situations where you disagree with what someone else has to say, whether it be with an employer, a co-worker, or a friend, it is important to sympathize with their point of view rather than simply try to get your message across. Respect the opinion of others and never resort to demeaning those who do not agree with you.

6. Respect

Respecting what others have to say and acknowledging them is an important aspect of communication. Being respectful can be as simple as paying attention to what they have to say, using the person’s name, and not being distracted. By respecting others, the other person will feel appreciated, which will lead to a more honest and productive conversation.

7. Using the correct medium

There are several different forms of communication to use – it is important to choose the right one. For example, communicating in person about serious matters (layoffs, salary changes, etc.) is more appropriate than sending an email regarding the matter.

Good Communication Skills for a Great Career

Succeeding in your career requires good communication skills. You need to know what you want and how you are going to attain it. Being an excellent communicator can help propel your career.

Good communication skills can aid in helping you land an interview and pass the selection process.

Being able to articulate well provides a significant advantage. To do your job effectively, you have to discuss problems, request information, interact with others, and have good human relations skills – these are all part of having good communication skills. They help in being understood well and in helping understand the needs of those around you.

Poor Communication in the Workplace

Communication drives workplace success. Although the detriments of poorly communicating with others may not be apparent in the short term, it has a crippling effect on the workplace in the long term. Here are some signs of bad communication:

  • Lack of specific communication
  • Using the incorrect mediums to convey important messages
  • Passive-aggressive communication
  • Lack of follow-through and consideration
  • Blaming and intimidating others
  • Failing to listen

An example of poor communication would be the RadioShack layoff notices in 2006. The electronics chain laid off 400 employees by notifying employees by email. The company faced significant backlash following the move, with many surprised that it used email instead of face-to-face meetings.

Bad communication by Radioshack resulted from using the incorrect medium of communicating with its employees. The company’s employees felt dehumanized and subsequently resented the company.

Communication is a two-way process

Communication is not the same as broadcasting, or simply sending out information.

It is a two-way process. In other words, it involves both the sending and receiving of information.

It therefore requires both speaking and listening, but also—and perhaps more crucially—developing a shared understanding of the information being transmitted and received.

If you are the ‘sender’ of information, this means communicating it clearly to start with (whether in writing or face-to-face), then asking questions to check your listeners’ understanding. You must also then listen to their replies, and if necessary, clarify further.

If you are the recipient, it means listening carefully to the information, then checking that you have understood by reflecting back, or asking questions to ensure that you both have the same understanding of the situation.

It is, therefore an active process. There is nothing passive about communication, in either direction.

How to communicate effectively?

In various work situations, you will employ different Communication Skills. However, there are a few simple ways to become an effective communicator in the workplace:

a) Be clear and concise:

To ensure easy and effective communication, make your message short using concise language. Avoid lengthy and detailed sentences, focusing instead on the core meaning of your message. While providing context can be helpful, prioritise sharing the essential information to effectively convey your idea, instruction, or message.

b) Practice empathy:

Understanding your colleagues’ feelings, ideas, and goals can enhance communication. For instance, empathise with their concerns or hesitations when seeking assistance from other departments for a project. By considering their perspective, you can position your message to address their apprehensions and foster cooperation.

c) Assert yourself respectfully:

Sometimes, it’s necessary to be assertive in the workplace to achieve your goals, such as asking for a raise, pursuing project opportunities, or expressing disagreement with an unfavourable idea. Present your thoughts with confidence while maintaining respect in conversations. Use an even tone and provide sound reasons for your assertions to increase the likelihood of others being receptive to your ideas.

d) Maintain calmness and consistency:

When faced with disagreements or conflicts, it’s crucial to remain calm and composed during communication. Avoid letting emotions dictate your interactions. Be mindful of your body language, refraining from crossing your arms or displaying negative gestures. Consistently maintain a neutral tone of voice and body language to facilitate peaceful and productive resolutions.

e) Pay attention to body language:

Body language plays a significant role in workplace communication. Pay close attention to the non-verbal cues expressed through others’ facial expressions and body movements. Equally important is being mindful of your body language and the unintentional messages it may convey. By understanding and using body language effectively, you can enhance the overall effectiveness of your communication.

Communication Skills for job interviews

In a job interview, make sure to actively listen to the person speaking to you. Make sure to sit straight and make eye contact with the interviewers whenever you are speaking. Remember to speak confidently, be positive, make eye contact and smile.

Almost everything you do, both in terms of the job interview as well as in life, can be seen as a form of communication.

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Rilwan Ajibola

I help business executives enhance productivity, increase sales, and expand their business. You can join my online course, request a consulting service, or book me for corporate training.
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