How to Improve Your Communication Skills

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Knowing how to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills a person can have. Here are a few tips to help you:

ENUNCIATE: When having a conversation with others, don’t mumble your words. If you don’t speak clearly, people will either keep asking you to repeat what you said or tune you out all together. Furthermore, if you can’t pronounce the word don’t even try to say it.

SPEAK SLOWER: Some people speak fast (especially those who use English as a second language) and that can make it challenging for those who are listening—or trying to listen. If you know you speak fast or have been told you do, practice speaking slower. You can do this by reading a book out loud at a slower pace. On the other hand, speaking too slowly can also be a distraction so work on finding your own unique voice speed.

KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO: You have to know who you are communicating with, and have to gauge what type of communication they are going to understand. For example, if you are communicating with a business colleague or chatting in a networking setting, you might not want to use informal language. Also, if you use acronyms, you cannot assume that the other person will immediately understand. So, know your listener.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAY BUT HOW YOU SAY IT: This is one I know all too well. I naturally talk loud and when I’m excited, my voice, and tone tend to confuse some people who think I’m shouting or yelling at them. Of course, that is not the case but knowing that makes me mindful of my tone. Most miscommunication happens because someone misinterpreted what was being said based on the tone of someone’s voice. Don’t be too loud, don’t be too soft, and don’t be rude or condescending. Always communicate politely and respectfully with everyone.

BE A GOOD LISTENER: To be a good communicator, you have to learn how to listen well. When you show you are listening, you are actually showing respect to the person doing the talking. It helps to build rapport and demonstrates that you care about others and what they have to say.

Communication is a skill that can have a substantial impact on your personal and professional life. It has to be taken seriously, and always remember some of the most successful and happy people in life are also great communicators.

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