How to improve communication skills?

“The quality of your communication determines the quality of your life.” – Tony Robbins. This quote said by the successful coach and business man Tony Robbins engloves the importance of communicating effectively with the world around us.

Effective communication plays a crucial role in both personal and professional relationships. It allows us to establish trust, resolve conflicts, promote collaboration, enhance productivity, strengthen relationships, and facilitate personal and professional growth. It is a fundamental skill that empowers individuals to connect, understand, and engage with others effectively. However, some of us struggle to get across our message clearly.

Thankfully it is a skill that can be easily improved with 4 steps:

  1. Understanding Your Communication Style,
  2. Listen Actively
  3. Speak Clearly and Concisely, and
  4. Be Mindful of Non Verbal Communication.

1. Understanding Your Communication Style

In order to improve your communication style you need to identify, well… YOUR communication style. People tend to communicate differently based on several factors such as a person’s personality, upbringing, and cultural background among others. By identifying yours you can better understand your strengths and weaknesses, as well as, how it may affect your interactions with others.

Some of the commonly styles people exhibit are the following;

  1. Assertive Communication: Confidently and respectfully expressing thoughts, needs, and feelings while considering others’ perspectives.
  2. Passive Communication: Avoiding conflict, hesitant to express opinions, and prioritizing others’ needs over their own due to a lack of self-confidence.
  3. Aggressive Communication: Forceful, disrespectful, and disregarding others’ feelings and rights while prioritizing personal needs and opinions.
  4. Passive-Aggressive Communication: Indirectly expressing dissatisfaction through sarcasm, avoidance, or sabotaging actions without addressing the issue directly.
  5. Emotionally Intelligent Communication: Being aware of and managing emotions, expressing them constructively, actively listening, and empathetically responding to others’ emotions.
  6. Collaborative/Cooperative Communication: Prioritizing mutual solutions, open dialogue, active listening, teamwork, and valuing diverse perspectives.

It’s important to note that individuals may exhibit different communication styles depending on the situation and the people they are interacting with. Doing so effectively involves being adaptable and understanding which style is most appropriate for a given context. Striving for assertive and emotionally intelligent styles generally leads to healthier and more positive interactions.

If you are still unsure which you are, take our free 2 minutes test!: Communications Styles Quiz

2. Listen Actively

Just as important, active listening can aid you to strengthen your skills. People like to feel they are being heard. When interacting with others, active listening allows you to grasp the complete message by paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues and gain a more accurate understanding of others’ perspectives and avoid incorrect assumptions. This way you can build relationships by showing respect, empathy, and genuine interest in the speaker. It can also help you in problem-solving and conflict resolution by understanding different viewpoints and uncovering concerns and needs. Use the following tips:

  • Maintaine eye contact
  • Paraphrase
  • Ask clarifying questions

3. Speak Clearly and Concisely

Interacting with others, at times can be overwhelming. Commonly people tend to get nervous, resulting in speaking unclearly or too fast, or both. This can lead to misunderstandings. A couple of simple tricks:

  1. Slow down your speech: It might seem you are speaking too slow but that is not how others will perceive it. By slowing down, you allow yourself to think what you are going to say and your message will get across in a more clear and concise way.
  2. Use simple language: Simple is better. There is no need to use big fancy words. It will increase the chances of confusing others and yourself.
  3. Avoid filler words: Like, you know, basically like… STOP, collect your thoughts and avoid using those. You will seem more confident, relaxed and more understood.

4. Be Mindful of Nonverbal Communication

Albert Mehrabian, a researcher of body language, found that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only. Keep in mind your posture, using appropriate facial expressions and avoid distracting gestures. It will allow you to interact better with others!

Read more about it on our blog post from last month: Non-verbal Communication

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