How to Improve Communication Skills

Ways of improve communication skills

One of the cornerstones of a prosperous company is a leader that can communicate with staff members, within teams, and throughout the entire organization.

Effective communication has never been more crucial—or difficult—in the complex and rapidly changing business environment of today, with its hundreds of different communication tools, fully or partially remote teams, and even multicultural teams spanning multiple time zones.

As a result, communication skills may be the most important for managers.

The good news is that one can develop and even master these abilities.

You may improve your communication abilities for the benefit of both your business and your career by following these eight guidelines.

1. Be precise

The choice of words is the main aspect of communication. Less is more when it comes to word choice as well.

Clarity and, if at all feasible, conciseness are the keys to effective and persuasive communication, whether it be spoken or written.

Prior to communicating in any way, identify your audience and goals.

To make sure you include all relevant information, carefully and thoroughly lay out what you want to say and why. You can also get rid of unnecessary information with its aid.

Keep your wording simple; flowery or needless phrases can detract from your point. And while repetition could be required in some circumstances, make sure to use it sparingly.

You can make sure that your audience hears your message by repeating it, but excessive repetition could make them tune you out.

2. Get ready in advance

Before starting any form of conversation, prepare what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.

But being ready goes beyond simply practicing a presentation.

Additionally, planning entails considering the full conversation, from beginning to end. Do some research on the data you might need to back up your argument? Think about your response to inquiries and remarks. Make an effort to foresee the unexpected.

Prepare a list of specific instances of your employee’s behavior to support your evaluation before a performance review, for instance.

Know what you want in advance of wage or promotion negotiations. Prepare to talk about possible compromises and ranges; be aware of what you are and are not willing to accept. And be prepared with specific information to bolster your claim, such pertinent salary for your position and your location (but be sure that your research is based on publicly available information, not company gossip or anecdotal evidence).

Create a list of possible questions, requests for more details or explanation, and arguments before starting any conversation so you are prepared to deal with them rationally and concisely.

3. Pay attention to nonverbal cues

Our body language, gestures, and facial expressions frequently communicate more than our words.

Between 65 and 93 percent more weight than spoken words can be placed on nonverbal indications. And if the two are at odds, we are more inclined to trust nonverbal cues than verbal ones.

Leaders need to be particularly skilled at interpreting nonverbal messages.

Employees who may be reluctant to express differences or concerns, for example, may exhibit their uneasiness by crossing their arms or by avoiding eye contact. If you are conscious of other people’s body language, you might be able to modify your communication strategies as necessary.

Additionally, leaders need to be able to manage their own nonverbal cues.

Your message must always be supported by your nonverbal cues. Conflicting verbal and nonverbal cues can, at best, be confusing. In the worst case scenario, it might erode your team’s belief in you, your company, and even yourself.

4. Be aware of your tone

Even more significant than what you say is how you say it. Your tone, like other nonverbal cues, can either strengthen and emphasize your message or completely detract from it.

When there is dispute or disagreement at work, tone can be a particularly significant element. A word with a positive connotation that is well-chosen fosters trust and good will. A poorly chosen word with ambiguous or unfavorable connotations can cause misunderstandings very quickly.

Tone in speech refers to the volume, intonation, and word choice used when speaking. It can be difficult to manage tone in real time so that it reflects your intent. However, being aware of your tone can allow you to adjust it when necessary if a communication seems to be going in the wrong direction.

Writing can make tone control easier. Make sure to read your communication aloud once, if not twice, keeping tone and message in mind. If doing so won’t compromise confidentially, you could even wish to read it aloud or have a trusted coworker do so.

Additionally, avoid responding in a hurried manner while exchanging sharp words by email or another written medium.

Write out your response if at all possible, but don’t email it for a day or two. Rereading your message after your feelings have subsided often enables you to control your tone in a way that will lessen the likelihood of the argument escalating.

5. Use active listening techniques

Two or more people are almost always involved in communication.

Therefore, for effective communication, listening is equally as crucial as speaking. However, listening can be more difficult than we think.

Communication expert Marjorie North points out that we only hear around half of what the other person says during any given discussion in her blog piece Mastering the Basics of Communication.

Making sure you hear the whole message rather than simply the words the speaker is saying is the aim of active listening. Here are some pointers for attentive listening:

  • Giving the speaker your full and undivided attention
  • Clearing your mind of distractions, judgements, and counter-arguments.
  • Avoiding the temptation to interrupt with your own thoughts.
  • Showing open, positive body language to keep your mind focused and to show the speaker that you are really listening
  • Rephrase or paraphrase what you’ve heard when making your reply
  • Ask open ended questions designed to elicit additional information

6. Increase your emotional quotient

Emotional intelligence serves as the foundation for communication. Simply put, you cannot effectively communicate with others until you are able to recognize and comprehend your own feelings.

In her article How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence, Margaret Andrews writes, “If you’re aware of your own emotions and the actions they provoke, you may start to manage these feelings and behaviors.”

For instance, leaders who possess a high level of emotional intelligence will find it simpler to practice active listening, keep their voices in-tune, and exhibit positive body language.

Emotional intelligence includes more than just being able to recognize and control your own emotions. Empathy for other people is the other component, which is also crucial for good communication.

A challenging conversation, for instance, can be made simpler by empathizing with the employee.

Even while you might still need to break unpleasant news, showing that you understand their viewpoint and their feelings can go a long way toward mending fences or preventing misunderstandings.

7. Create a communication plan for the office

The workplace of today is a constant stream of information in many different formats. Every communication must be understood in light of the greater informational flow.

Without a corporate communication strategy, even the best communicator could have trouble getting their point across.

The framework for information transmission and reception within your company is called a communication strategy. It can—and ought to—describe how and what you communicate with stakeholders, managers, and staff members.

Your approach should include who receives what message when, starting at the broadest level.

By doing this, it is made sure that everyone gets the right information at the right moment.

It can be as specific as your communication style, down to specifying the instruments you employ for particular types of information. You can specify, for instance, when a meeting should have been summarized in an email rather than a group chat for the entire team or business.

Making simple rules like this can improve the information flow. It’ll aid in ensuring that everyone receives

8. Foster a supportive workplace culture

Effective communication also heavily depends on the company culture you are communicating in.

Communication will be simpler and more efficient in a productive workplace that is built on open discourse, empathy, and openness.

If workers trust their management, they will be more receptive to hearing what they have to say.

Additionally, if managers support their staff in speaking up, making recommendations, and even making constructive criticism of their own, it will be simpler for them to gain buy-in and even to provide it.

According to Lorne Rubis in a blog post titled Six Tips for Creating a Better Workplace Culture, “The Most Dangerous Organization Is a Silent One.” Only in a culture that values communication in both directions

Authoritative managers who refuse to share information, aren’t open to suggestions, and refuse to admit mistakes and accept criticism are likely to find their suggestions and criticisms met with defensiveness or even ignored altogether.

Without that foundation of trust and transparency, even the smallest communication can be misconstrued and lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict.

Communicating with co-workers and employees is always going to present challenges. There will always be misunderstandings and miscommunications that must be resolved and unfortunately, corporate messages aren’t always what we want to hear, especially during difficult times.

But building and mastering effective communication skills will make your job easier as a leader, even during difficult conversations. Taking the time to build these skills will certainly be time well-spent.

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