With more and more social media “pings” and “dings”, the world is getting silent. What I mean to say is that we might excel in typing ridiculously fast and talking rapidly on social media platforms, but our communication skills are going for a toss. But we contradict our own realities, because today, communication is also the King.
No matter who you are- an aspiring summer intern, an introvert, a social media extrovert (but real life introvert), or just someone looking forward to being better at communication, in terms of work, career or relationships…
Here are 9 tips which will help you in improving your communication skills:
1. Listen- Force Yourself to Listen.
This comes out more as a request. Please listen to what the opposite person has to say, or is saying. We generally don’t realize this, but 90% of us never really listen to the opposite person, we only think we are doing so. Make it a habit to be patient while communicating. Force yourself if you have to, especially when talking to your seniors, Boss or anyone of a higher rank.
2. Empathize and Sensitize
Empathize while listening to someone. Don’t jump to conclusions. Be sensitive where you have to be. Show empathy when you have to. Don’t hesitate. You see, being good at communication has a lot to do with who you are, and who you are willing to be. Rarely has it anything to do with the the opposite person’s character. Refrain yourself from getting into arguments immediately.
3. Don’t get distracted
Please, please don’t use your phone while talking to someone, unless it’s too urgent. No matter who you are talking to, do NOT use your phone out of the blue, leaving them feeling unwanted. Make it a point to keep up with what the opposite person is saying. Keep away from distractions like TV, News, Mobile phones, etc..or maybe even your own distant thoughts. Respect the other person’s will to talk to you.
4. Ask Questions
Ask questions. Initially you might have to try and remind yourself about this, but with time, questions will flow out of you naturally, while communicating. Your questions show your interest in the topic being talked about, and also in the opposite person. Also, try and repeat a few words the opposite person says, just to show that you are listening and are totally into the conversation. Keep this point in mind, specially for work related conversations.
5. Be a Narrator- Tell a Story
If talking and expressing doesn’t come naturally to you, try and be a narrator. Describe whatever you want to say, as if it were a story. This will not only engage the opposite person in your conversation, but also make it easier for you to frame your words correctly. Stories are relatable. Try this next time while communicating, ans see how smooth your conversation goes.
6. Get rid of “Ummm”, “You Know..”, “But…”, “Hmm..” etc.
We often see celebrities saying “You Know..it’s like this..You Know..It’s like that,…” You know..” in interviews.
No man! I don’t know! Maybe that is why we are having a conversation right? To know something? Chuck these unwanted fillers from your conversations. Try and use power words instead. “Uh…”, “Ummm..” “You know..”, “Hmm..” do nothing but speak volumes of your lack of enthusiasm or knowledge about the subject matter of the conversation. They may also act as indicators of lack of self-confidence in you, which might really not be the case. Avoid them.
7. Be Honest
The best type of conversations are the Honest ones. Conversations where you just have to concentrate on talking, and not lying. Be honest- no matter what you are talking about, and with whom. Try not lying because it is only going to make your task of communicating, difficult as 1 lie=1000 lies. Your honesty will attract people and they will talk to you without hesitation.
8. Pay attention to Non-Verbal Gestures
Non-verbal gestures simply mean body language. Sometimes, some people might not be overtly expressive in terms of words, but might have different ways of expressing via body language. Communication is often broken up into verbal and non-verbal communication, and both are very important. Take into consideration non-verbal gestures like:
- FOLDED ARMS: This may mean that the opposite person has closed off, or doesn’t agree with you.
- LACK OF EYE CONTACT: Maybe the person is not interested in talking, is ashamed of something, or has a problem expressing something.
- LOUD AGGRESSIVE TONE: This may mean that the person is trying to change the topic, or maybe is aware of his own fault, or feels that he/she is not being heard.
- TAPPING FOOT OR FINGERS: Might mean that they are bored, or angry.
These are just some basic gestures. People are a lot more complicated when it comes to body language. 😛 Focus on them, to understand what they don’t say, for a smoother conversation.
9. Stay in the Present
Last but not the least, think of where you are while talking, and think only that. Drifting away down the memory lane, especially if it has been better than your present with the opposite person, is very normal. But try and stay in the present. Don’t Zone out every now and then. This will help you understand and listen carefully, being wholly present in the conversation.
People keep talking, giving advice on how to get better at communication, but trust me, I know how difficult it is, to get out of the box and inculcate these points while communicating, especially if you are an introvert. But trust me, it works. All you need is practice and patience. 🙂