How to Improve Your Communication Skills

Wednesday September 29, 2021

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Any profession requires soft skills, notably the capacity to communicate. But how can you improve if it's not your strong suit?

When it comes to job applicants stating their abilities, it's one of the most used clichés. You may be forgiven for including it on your CV, but it, along with a number of other significant CV clichés, should be discarded.

Why? Because just because you say you have strong communication skills doesn't mean you actually do. In reality, it most likely demonstrates that you are unable to properly communicate with others about certain tangible abilities.

Instead of simply listing your skills, CVs are not about demonstrating them. But what if you're not sure about your communication skills?

If it doesn't come easily, it won't be easy to learn, but it can be done. And, don't worry, we're not only going to tell you what to do; we're also going to show you how to do it.

Consider Your Target Audience

This applies to all kinds of communication, whether written or spoken. Take a moment to consider who you're talking to before you start a conversation.

Consider who they are in relation to you, as well as their position inside or outside the organization. After that, recall any past interactions you've had with them. Consider how they like to communicate. Is there a lot of detail or is it more action-oriented?

Then, choose the most effective mode of communication. Would they rather have an email conversation or a brief face-to-face brainstorming session? This all seems like it will take a long time before you begin, but it will only take you less than a minute, and you will become faster and more acquainted with the procedure with each passing day.

List the Most Notable Things and Reread

This is especially crucial in meetings, but it's also a good idea to jot down all pertinent bullet points so you don't forget anything.

Due to a breakdown in communication, critical deadlines may be missed, projects may be completed incorrectly, and briefs may be misconstrued. Identify and write down significant dates and activities in any conversation.

After the chat (during which you probably weren't able to write down every word), go over your notes and add any additional information that comes to mind. Think about how long it could be before you see these notes again. Will you be able to comprehend what you've written?

Because communication is two-way, you should read anything you submit to anyone, whether it's a proposal, a report, or a simple email. Before sending, double-check that your message is clear and succinct. Keep an eye on your spelling and grammar as well!

Improve Your Empathy

Yes, working on one soft skill is difficult enough without having to worry about another. Empathy, on the other hand, is essential for strengthening both listening and communication abilities, so it's actually three for the price of one.

Monica Parker recently wrote on how difficult it may be to be compassionate all of the time; nevertheless, there are some practical strategies you can use to become more empathetic, particularly at work.

At work, being more empathic not only improves your communication abilities, but it also makes you more productive.

Learn to Listen

The single most crucial aspect of developing your communication skills is listening, yet it's also one of the most difficult to master.

One place to begin is to remember that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak. Being conscious of your listening abilities is the first step toward improving them.

We can learn to 'speed listen' and focus on the essential points that someone is conveying in the same way that we can teach our brains to speed read or scan big papers and pull out the gist.

Become a Specialist at Networking

When trying to learn anything new, having a type of "skills lab" to practice your talents and assess your progress is invaluable.

Consider networking gatherings as a place to practice your communication abilities. Networking is an art form, and if you can walk into a meeting and network successfully, you'll be well on your way to improving your communication skills in any area of your life.

Of course, this is easier said than done, as it is with many soft skills. Kelly Hoey, a former Inspirefest speaker, networked her way to her ideal job, so if anybody can help you work the room successfully while also honing your communication skills, it's her.

Hone Your Public Speaking Skills

Even if you think you'll never have to perform any public speaking in your life, it's one of the most valuable talents you can have.

According to Cheryl Hamilton's book Communicating for Results: A Guide for Business and the Professions, roughly three-quarters of us are afraid of public speaking, so you're not alone.

However, if you set a goal to conquer your fear of public speaking, you will be able to communicate effectively in front of a big group of people. And if you can accomplish that, keeping in touch with co-workers on a daily basis will be a snap.