Improve Your Communication Skills – A Few Basics

Today is just one of those “self-reflection” discussion days. My business partner and I were looking through the journey we had undertaken for our businesses i.e. our other operations, NOT this blog (this blog is our philanthropic contribution to society) and realised that one set of skills we had both greatly improved upon throughout the years was our communication skills.

And as we reflected upon it further, we realised that there were some things that we had done to help us hone our craft. While progress was gradual, we had to put solid intentional effort in some areas. Because we are generous people, we agreed to share some of the things you can use to be a better communicator.

One: Have Role Models

We often hear about role models for children and teenagers, and mentors for adults. If you want to be a better speaker, you should have at least one or two people in your life you have listened to when they’re at a public gathering whom you can model yourself after. It does not even have to be someone you know personally. Study their communication style and integrate some elements of it into your own.

rosamielsch / Pixabay

Two: Preparation Counts

Yes, you do have to put some work into it, especially if you are speaking to a crowd. Don’t just scribbling notes in a hurried panic before a speech. Practice does not make for perfection, but it does make for permanence and consistency. So you do have to do the prep work – no two ways about it!

Three: Alone Time “Training”

Okay, this one might be a bit extreme for most of us, but is useful for those who need to present often, or who are in the sales and marketing line. Listening to the sound of your own voice while you practice your speech in front of a mirror can help correct the stress areas of your pitch. And while you’re at it you can spruce up as well. This is a top tip for those presenting in a language other than their mother tongue.

Four: Mingle

This tip may not sit well with the more introverted people-shy types. But the fact remains that practicing is key for those who want to be a masterful communicator. Interaction is all about mingling with other people. You’ll get a lot of ideas, as well as knowing what people make them as they are.

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Five: Mistakes Are Normal

We all make mistakes, and sometimes we tend to slur our words, stutter, and probably mispronounce certain words. So in a group, don’t be afraid to ask if you’re saying the right word properly and if they’re unsure about it then make a joke out of it. It’ll make everyone laugh and you can get away with it as well because it presents you as being more “human”.

Six: Listen

Ha! This might be the biggest mistake we are prone to making. Listening is just as important as asking questions. I must declare, at this point, that as a counselling student, it is an area that has been drilled into us to prepare us for the profession. But this is a general skill which everyone should learn.

Seven: Smile

A smile says it all much like eye contact. There’s no point on grimacing or frowning in a meeting or a gathering, unless it’s a wake. You can better express what you’re saying when you smile. You’ll be surprised how effective this is. Over the past few years, I found myself in places where I didn’t speak the language. But smiling and being polite goes a long way, and despite the language barrier, people still loved my magnetic personality.

Eight: Eye Contact

We might think that making eye contact is rude, and some of us want to have as little interaction with others as possible. Actually, there’s a lot to say when it comes to directing your attention to your audience with an eye-catching gaze.

There is so much to know about conversation and so many aspects of it that it is impossible to completely master. But since it is an art form, you can get better at it by actively seeking information. It could be as simple as watching talk shows, radio programs or joining clubs dedicated to public speaking. It may sound tedious, I know, but even though it’s your mouth that’s doing the work, your brain works twice as hard to churn out a lot of things you know. So, as cliché as it sounds, what better way to start learning to be an effective communicator than to know yourself.

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