tips that work to improve your communication skills
Communication most often translates to “talking”.
And well, today we cure people’s deep-rooted insecurities and even diseases with talking (which is called Therapy), make a friend out of a stranger through talking and get hired through talking (in an interview).
So most definitely, communication is a skill you Never want to miss out on.
It looks good on the CV but more importantly, it’s a skill everyone needs even in this virtual world and people can guess your skill in this field within seconds of interaction.
And communication is yet another skill so many of our youngsters miss out on. So if you want to hone your communication on your own, these 16 tips are just for you.
Have a terrific listening skills-
The first part of communication is listening. Active listening, that is. Focus on their pauses, expressions, tone of their voice and what they really want to mean.
And if you think you need a tiny bit more time to understand English than your peers by listening, listening to movies, podcasts and even watching some shows. If you are reading this article, you have more than enough access to hone your listening skill easily- so just give some deliberate effort.
Read books on various topics-
Okay, after listening, comes the talking part. And a crucial part of it is- to have something to say. Being in a group you have no interest in is like being in the wrong class- you do not know what they are all talking about.
To avoid these situations, you need to have a basic knowledge of a few subjects and profound knowledge of some. Try to know the bare minimum details of the hobbies your friends have. And read many books on the topics of your interest. Overall, you will look like a pretty fascinating person if you know about an array of topics.
If too shy- only open your lips if have something to add-
If you are a shy person, or not confident enough to speak with strangers or even your peers, it’s okay. Start slow and be within a conversation.
Firstly, listen to what others are saying. And if you have something valuable to add- like a quirky remark or a thoughtful question, rehearse it in your mind- and just say it.
People will ignore you at most. But gradually they will understand that you have something valuable to share with them, and they will make room for you to open up your heart to them
Learn to ask questions that highlight them-
People love to talk about themselves. No, people love when they are the centre of attention and conversation. So, ask someone about their hobbies, or some specific incident..or anything about?? them. They might not show it, but they will appreciate your concern for them because you are making them feel important.
This is a small but fundamental trait of a good communicator.
Practice in front of a mirror or with a friend-
If you are not confident about speaking about something, especially before an interview or an important event- practice speaking in front of your mirror. You can also have a friend or cousin on the phone to discuss various topics and gain confidence.
Limit the stutters-
If you are not sure of what to say or have low self-esteem- we tend to say a lot of “erm, “uh”, “actually” etc. We think they make up for our pauses but actually, they make it far worse. You can record yourself and check if I am wrong about this one.
And pauses are not bad. If they are not too frequent, pauses mean that you are thoughtful and you are now searching for the right thing to say. It also implies more importance in your words. Check these videos of any renowned speaker. They talk slowly, have lots of silent moments and still capture our attention.
So practice consciously to limit those “fillers”.
Maintain a smile and eye contact-
Maintaining a smile, especially smiling slowly after you meet a person- makes them feel you are interested in talking to them. And constant eye contact is also essential to look like an authentic person.
In our Indian culture, having long eye contact with elders, especially during arguments or when you are getting criticised- might be considered a little disrespectful sometimes. But do not miss out on eye contact when talking to a corporate or in a western setting- this represents your confidence there.
Remember details about them-
Remembering little details like they had an exam or their pet’s name goes a long way. This shows that you care for them and they are important to you.
If the person is important to you, you can also note them down in a secret note on your phone, and follow up later using this information.
Posture is very important in face-to-face communication. And it includes your body language. The subtle changes only come through deliberate practice. But anyone would love to talk to an upright, chin-up person rather than a slouching one with a bored face and crossed arms.
This one is the personalised extension of the previous point. When talking to a single person, subtly copy their body language, gestures and expressions.
Greet like an old friend-
When you meet one suddenly, you do not usually greet your old buddies with a “meh” face, right? Your eyes bright up a little, your body pivots towards them and you greet them with a big smile, and warm voice.
Do the same (or tone down a little bit but not too much) when meeting a new person. Show them that you are truly excited to meet them, especially when a third person is introducing you or you have heard about them elsewhere.
It is also important to know how to continue a conversation when meeting someone new. And the best way is to share an interesting fact about you.
When someone asks about the city you are from or the subject you are majoring in (or your job)- inject some one-liner fascinating information. Or maybe describe them a little. This will open up a conversation, the other person will share their details too and you will look like an outgoing and charming person.
This one is a very old trick, but it works. When talking to a person, use their name, or however you call them- a few times. People actually like listening to their names.
But be aware. In our Indian setting, if someone is secretly a bit irritated if you called them “bhaiya” or “aunty” and you repeat them too many times, it might backfire.
This one is also common but always helpful. Observe a positive trait in them and compliment them. But do not make it too obvious if you are asking a favour.
Echoing is a great tactic if you want to make a conversation going or churn out more information. Just repeat their last sentence as a question without prying for personal details.
Like, if a friend tells you how drenched they got in the rain the day before, they will happily share their experience if you ask them a little.
And lastly, empathy is the final sword you need to become an excellent communicator. Be it in a formal setting or an informal one, showing empathy in your voice, words and body language and tuning in with the audience is the ultimate way to win their heart.