While some people are natural communicators and thrive in environments where they are constantly speaking with others, others struggle with effective communication and would rather talk to other people as little as possible. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, your communication skills, like many other skills in life, can be improved with practice and determination. If you need help honing your communication skills, here are some tips that you might find beneficial:
Practice Active Listening
A great way to demonstrate that you are listening is to make eye contact with the person speaking and to give feedback. Let the person with which you are communicating know that you value what they have to say by giving them your full, undivided attention when they are speaking. Demonstrating to others that you respect their feelings and the things they have to say will go a long way in helping you to connect and engage with them.
Be Mindful of Body Language
It is also important for you to be aware of your own body language. Let your posture, voice, and eye contact exude confidence so that your audience will be more apt to listen and think that you know what you are talking about. If your body language makes you come across as nervous, your audience will pick up on that and are likely to think you are unprepared or unsure of yourself. Let your body language demonstrate that you are engaged in a conversation or that you are approachable, and people will be more willing to communicate with you.
If the conversation is about a specific problem, asking questions will help you pinpoint the steps you can take to address their needs or concerns. You cannot help solve a problem if you do not know what the problem is in the first place. Find out what the other person is trying to share with you or what they would like to see change so that your conversation can be productive.
It is also important to be intentional when you experience conflict. When some aspect of your relationship is bothering you or you have a problem with a colleague, choose not to ignore the problem or let your negative feelings fester. Make time to voice your concerns, and be sure to express your feelings in a healthy way without blaming or creating additional conflict. Be precise with the words that you choose to use, and make sure that your conversation is deliberate and purposeful.