A healthy communication is desirable in all walks of life. Many people put in a lot of effort in increasing their vocabulary and checking grammar but it is essential to understand that there is much more that communication demands. In this fast paced world, one needs to be assertive as our relationships, education and profession depend to a great extent on our communication. One of the primary qualities of great leaders and eminent personalities is their delivery of speech, which has also ensured success to them many times. As a debater, I find it crazy how people take a back step because of their inability to communicate well. This is something, which you can have a knack on very easily. If it’s not inherent you can acquire it. This article offers to you a number of ways to improve communication skills but before anything I would alert the readers to the fact that there isn’t any magical formula left for you to locate. Here are a few fundamental tips, which can bear results only if you are willing to work on them. So, here are 16 ways to improve communication skills.
16 Proven Ways To Improve Communication Skills
1. Set An Objective
The heading speaks for itself. Have an aim for your talk. Without one, you can be good at saying things in an informal setting (like in the family, with friends etc) but you ought to have a concrete aim or objective in mind for a formal communication (like in presentations and meetings). You can’t merely blabber for no reason at all.
2. Read A Lot
For those who are beginning to work on their communication skills, it is important to read as much as you can as this exposes you to new ideas, words and a lot of content to state or critique. A voracious reader of 20 years of age can have a perspective of a 40-year-old individual. This in itself explains the magical power of reading. This should essentially be your first step to improving your speaking skills. This also adds on to your persona as it leads to an increase in your knowledge, especially in group discussions where it is very important to have lots and lots of knowledge on the topic of discussion along with being rhetoric. Also, while reading, you come across a lot of interesting stuff and motivation which pushes you further to keep going.
3. Speak Out Loud
Possibly the one of the best ways to improve communication skills is to read aloud. While doing so, you can get an insight of the area, you lack in which can be your fluency, accent, low self-esteem etc. Stand in front of the mirror or walk around and practice as many times as you can to ascend to the level you have set for yourself. This gives you confidence and helps in working on your weakness.
P.S.- This has always worked for me.
The art of listening holds the key to good communication. Do not be judgmental while listening to others, i.e. keep your pre-conceived notions and biases aside. This would tease your brain to think more and understand the other perspectives you come across. Focus on the speaker’s body language, tone, non-verbal cues etc. And when I mention about listening I am not, in particular, referring to public speeches but also to informal conversations that we indulge in or words that get into our ears. A close analysis of this will lead you to accept the fact that this helps a lot to improve our communication as we can imbibe not only the different ideas but also the different ways of presentation from other people.
Also Read: 9 Superb Ways To Exercise Your Brain
5. Spend An Hour With A National Daily And A Good News Channel
A good newspaper should be a part of your daily breakfast. Along with this follow a good news channel daily for an hour or so. It’s essential to have the knowledge of what’s happening across the globe, otherwise, you appear nothing but a dumb, ignorant individual with an absolutely negligible insight of the world.
6. Have Clarity Of Thoughts
It’s better to organize your thoughts in your mind beforehand, which includes what all you want to talk about and when do you have to say it. At this juncture, it becomes important to have an abstract structure of speech in your mind. For eg- If we talk about legalising HOMOSEXUALITY in India, one must begin by talking about homosexuality, then how is it beneficial to the society considering the moral and legal grounds; suggesting ways in which this can be done like the incorporation of different policies and incentives, which would also help in achieving societal acceptance and later talking about the harms which could take place if this does not happen.
So, in this example, we see how a properly structured speech finally concludes, establishing a logical and sequential string of arguments.
7. Have Clarity Of Speech
This is a successor to the one mentioned above and is totally dependent on it. Only when you know exactly what you want to convey you can put them into words. If you aren’t clear with your content, it is likely to end up fumbling and losing the interest of the audience. Eloquence is the must. A lot of effort goes into this but anyone can achieve success if willing. Take for example the famous actor Hrithik Roshan who conquered his stammering problem just with sheer determination and reached the zenith.
So, clarity of thoughts and speech walk simultaneously to achieve an effective communication.
8. Choose Objectivity Over Subjectivity
For an effective communication to take place, try making your speech objective if that is anyway possible as that helps in the better understanding of the listener. To make your speech objective, use words like FIRSTLY, SECONDLY, THIRDLY and so on. Talking about your ideas in this way highlights the different arguments you have, doesn’t bore the listener and prevents your speech from appearing haphazard.
9. Avoid Complexities In Your Sentences
In this fast-paced world, everyone is bombarded with too much of information such that it becomes difficult for people to retain everything that gets into their ears. Therefore, while communicating, one must be as simple as possible. Break your arguments into simpler sentences so that it stays with people but keep in mind that you don’t lose the essence of what you wanted to convey. This also involves a complete understanding of the content. If you can’t distill it then there is surely a lack of comprehension which bars you.
10. Take Care Of Para-linguistic Features
Para-linguistic features include your tone, pitch, voice, pronunciation, appropriate gestures, facial expressions, eye contact etc. These affect the oral communication to a great extent. Therefore, it is important that our words and para-linguistic features are in coherence with each other to lead to an effective communication.
11. Know Your Audience Well
Be it a public speech or a presentation, it is essential to catch the attention of the people. One should be rhetorical and be able to gauge the pulse of the audience. The most essential of all is that one needs to use the language that the audience is accustomed to. For a presentation, one can make use of jargons as only a selected few members are listening but while making a public speech make sure to use simple and straightforward language. Standing on to their expectations and presentation of thoughts in a manner so that the audience can assimilate your message ensures good communication.
12. Get Your Grammar Right
The heart of any language lies in its word usage and hence there shouldn’t be any discrepancies in that. Pick up a good grammar book and try applying the rules you read on a daily basis. This is a gradual process but an essential requirement for a healthy communication. Or even you can use various apps that can improve your grammar if you feel reading is not your cup of tea.
Trust me it’s highly embarrassing to make grammatical errors. PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.
13. Check Your Stress
Stress can be a bad master if not checked. If you aren’t able to manage your stress you are likely to go off track, misunderstand people while communicating. Do not take it to such a level that it becomes the master and you become the servant. Hence, staying calm under pressure is really important. I am not suggesting techniques here as it works differently for different people. Everyone has to battle with stress and victory over it transforms into success.
14. Open Yourself To Feedback
Remember that a successful communication takes place only when you receive a feedback from the other person. This signals towards a successful transfer of your message. Feedback includes the listener’s response and also their suggestions on your speaking skills. The latter is known as ‘positive criticism’.
15. Set Targets For Yourself
This is something which you should do to work on anything you want to and hence, it is just not limited to good communication skills. Do not be over ambitious and over exert yourself in doing so. Your targets should be in accordance with your time and capability and should not hinder you in performing your other essential responsibilities. Not many are able to achieve their daily targets and some leave in between. This is what ordinary people do in life. But those who stay firm come out as winners. So this is completely a matter of choice. Anything can be achieved with a disciplined attitude. So plan it beforehand.
Keep in mind- IF YOU FAIL IN PLANNING, YOU ARE PLANNING TO FAIL.
16. Have Patience
Becoming a good communicator is not an overnight process. It is rather slow and may take at least three months for you to get regular with the language and later you can polish your newly formed skills with a lot of practice. Therefore, don’t give up, in the beginning, itself for you may go through highly disappointing and embarrassing times. But that is only because you are now coming across your in capabilities which you have to work on. But soon you would be able to come out of it only if you continue to follow and persevere enough to hone yourself.
Summing It Up
To improve communication, you need to be aware of yourself, the people around you and the world at large. Also, a control over the mind is essential to get into a routine to work upon your potentials to make the most of it. Nothing in this world is a cake walk. But all complexities which are initially associated with everything can be simplified just by your tenaciousness. There isn’t anything so difficult in this. People have worked for themselves, many are doing and a lot more will continue to do in future. So can you but the above tips will be helpful only if you try inculcating them into your lives without procrastination. Please don’t hold on to any restrictions that prevent you from polishing your skills and gear up as soon as possible. It is never too late to begin. With this note, I sign off. Please leave in your comments below if this proves to be beneficial to you in any way.