Communication is defined as the passing on of ideas and information by speaking, writing or using some other medium. In business, in relationships or in any other aspect of life, good and clear communication is the key to achieving our goals and ensuring our message to the external world is delivered correctly. A study from 2019 shows that good communication skills are essential when it comes to finding a job or expanding a business. Having said all that, how do we actually improve our communication skills?
Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is when the message is verbalized, and words are used either orally or in writing, while non-verbal communication is one that occurs without the use of words, but rather gestures, eye contact, body movements, and other expressions are used to express our thought and feelings. In order to be a good communicator, it is important to master both verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as many times, these two types of communication are used simultaneously when transmitting a message and this can be seen in movies, comics, and advertisements, to name just a few examples. On the other hand, non-verbal communication can become ambiguous, because it is not always possible to control what is transmitted with the image or body expressions. In the same way, many times these messages are not interpreted correctly by the receiver. For this reason, non-verbal communication generally seeks to reinforce the message that is transmitted verbally.
Improving verbal and non-verbal communication skills is critical in developing professional skills. You’ll be able to face and confidently talk to different people regardless of their social status, religion, race, and gender. Professional development refers to expanding the current version of yourself. Some of the essential skills you must develop are problem-solving and analytical thinking.
However, your professional skills won’t improve if your communication skills are poor. Thus, you should strive to boost your communications skills by enrolling in short courses, attending seminars, or participating in communication skills training. These activities can help strengthen your core communication skills. It will make you ready and confident to meet new people, especially if you’re aiming to land a good job, a higher position in your company, or attract business investors.
Make Eye-Contact and Gestures
When we are at a job interview or have to give a speech or a presentation, we often forget about our body language or we get too nervous to make eye contact. Looking someone in the eye is the safest and most effective way to convey confidence, and even without words, we will be able to tell our interlocutor that we are interested in what they are saying and that we are listening attentively. According to specialists, 90% of the communication we transmit is not verbal, but gestural. Our body movements communicate much more than we think, even unconsciously. Sometimes a gesture can persuade, convince and create trust much more than an elaborate speech, therefore it is important to observe yourself and practice.
Ask Questions and Avoid Interrupting
Being able to openly express your questions and admit when we did not understand an idea allows us to achieve a better understanding. Remember that misunderstanding is the enemy of communication, therefore try to summarize what has been said in your own words to ensure that you are in tune with your interlocutor. Avoid completing the speech of others with your own ideas or diverting the subject of a conversation. Allow other people to communicate their points of view without interrupting and then express your doubts or comments. Also, use your perception to approach people in the right way, sometimes a call can be more personal and effective than an email, and sometimes, you will have better results if you send a short email.
It’s also better to ask more open-ended questions like ‘how’ or ‘why’ queries. This tip applies to any type of business, industry, or organization to which you belong. Asking questions can help you understand your potential buyers better, especially if you’re making a sales pitch and want to improve your sales process. You can get clearer verbal clues this way, enabling you better to gauge your potential buyer’s level of interest. However, even if your potential buyer isn’t as keen on your product or service, another good practice in communication is to thank them for their time.
Practice in Front of a Mirror
In a face-to-face conversation or in front of a group of people, it is not always easy to become aware of our body language. For this reason, Vickie Austin, founder of the professional consulting company CHOICES Worldwide, recommends using a communication technique called ‘mirroring’. It consists of observing the body language of our interlocutor and imitating it in a subtle way, for example, if the other person nods, you should do the same seconds later. However, while we are online, most of our communication is in writing and therefore it is important to practice our reading skills as well. For instance, when deciding which website is good and safe for us to use, we must ensure that we understand the message correctly as any misunderstanding could cost us a lot. In case you are into online games of chance, it is important to carefully choose the safest sites, such as ArabianBetting, where you can find various game types, the best possible sporting odds and exciting bonus offers.
In conclusion, communication skills are one of the most important tools when achieving your goals, therefore it shouldn´t be difficult to find some time to improve them.