How To Enhance Your Communication Skills
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The first 6 months of life are the most crucial in the development of language skills. For an individual to become fully competent in any language, exposure must begin as early as possible, preferably before a child starts elementary school (National Institute on Deadness and Other Communication Disorders, 2015).
Are you lacking skills in the communication department? If so, you are not alone. In fact, a lot of people do not possess top-notch communication skills. For some, communicating with others (especially in large groups) is challenging, to say the least. These individuals experience excessive perspiration, trembling, shaking, anxiety, depression, a spike in blood pressure, and/or fainting spells, when faced with having to talk to someone. In other words, it causes a chain of physical and emotional reactions in their bodies. Other people, however, are excellent communicators. These individuals relish at the opportunity to speak to people (i.e. individuals and groups).
They love connecting with others, and they tend to be social butterflies. Research suggests that people, who have good communication skills, do better in life (i.e. personal and career success) than those, who lack those skills. In addition, people, who have good communication skills, tend to have more friends, more job opportunities, and healthier relationships than those, who do not. So, as you can see, good communication is essential for happiness and success. If you are looking for ways to enhance your communication skills, you have come to the right place. This article will teach you how to effectively communicate with other people. Listed below are ways that you can enhance your communication skills:
Think Before You Speak
A good way to enhance your communication skills is to think before you speak. In other words, think about what you want to say, before you actually blurt it out. Why? Well, because no one likes or wants to be around someone that is harsh, condescending, and overly blunt. More specifically, most people shy away from those, who have no “tact.” Tell the truth, but be mindful of the words you use, and your tone. Be honest, but also be considerate towards others. So, think about what is appropriate to say, before you say it. If you do this every time you speak to someone, you will avoid misunderstandings, mistakes, and/or hurt feelings.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact may sound simple, but for many, it is one of the hardest things to do. Why? Well, because it involves making a direct connection with someone. Plus, some people, depending on their generation, have been conditioned to not look people in the eyes. Truth-be-told, it is essential to look people in the eyes, while you talk to them, and while they talk to you. It shows respect, but most of all it shows that you are interested in what they have to say. It is important to note that people, who look down, and/or around the room, appear untrustworthy, suspicious, and dishonest, even when they are none of those things. I’m not saying you should stare at the person or people you are talking to; however, you do need to at least look them in the eyes periodically.
Be an Active Listener
If you want to enhance your communication skills, you will need to become an active listener. In other words, you will need to pay attention when someone is speaking to you. As mentioned above, maintain eye contact with the speaker. In addition, look at your audience when you are speaking. Do not be distracted, and paraphrase or summarize the main points, if necessary. If you are an active listener, people want to talk to you because they know you are paying attention.
Take Your Time
Another thing you will want to do, if you want to enhance your communication skills, is take your time. In other words, do not rush your words. If you rush to say something it may come out sounding conflicting, confusing, and/or jumbled. Take your time and clearly pronounce your words. Do not mumble your words, or continuously pause. Speak steadily, and clearly enunciate what you are trying to say. Do not speak too quickly or too slowly – try to balance the speed of your words, and do not use words that you do not know the meanings of. If people cannot understand what you are trying to say, they will “tune out,” and your message will fall on “deaf ears.”
Watch Your Tone and Volume
The worst thing you can do, if you want to enhance your communication skills is to have a hostile/angry tone, and/or speak too loudly or too softly. As I mentioned above, it is important to balance your tone and volume. If you are too loud, you will come across as shrill and/or bossy, but if you speak too softly, you will come across as too timid and/or insecure. Therefore, it is important to find that fine line between being too loud and being too quiet.
Moreover, watch your tone. Why? Well, sometimes it is not what you say; it is how you say it. For instance, if you yell at your spouse to take the trash out, it will come across as hostile, however, if you tell your spouse to take the trash out in a calm tone, he or she will be more receptive to doing as you asked. Be more mindful of your tone and volume when speaking to others and you will become a more effective communicator.
Good communication takes time, patience, dedication, and practice. You will not become a great orator in a couple of days; rather it is a skill that needs to be honed. Practice your communication when you have time to devote to it. If you find yourself practicing “bad” communication skills – stop and redirect yourself.
Mind Tools. (2015). Communication skills. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/page8.html
Myatt, M. (2012). 10 communication secrets of great leaders. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/04/04/10-communication-secrets-of-great-leaders/
National Institute on Deadness and Other Communication Disorders. (2015). Voice, speech, and language: Quick statistics. Retrieved from http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/statistics/vsl/Pages/stats.aspx
Robinson, L., Segal, J., & Segal, R. (2015). Effective communication. Help Guide. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/effective-communication.htm