Career Development

7 Tips for Improving Communication Skills

February 22, 2021

Communication skills are vital to just about any role in any organization in one way or another. If you're a professional, it's likely you'll need to learn how to communicate well with your peers. Communication is a useful skill both in and out of the workplace. In this article, we'll teach you how to improve your communication skills.

Related: How to Communicate Effectively with Your Team

Why are communication skills important?

Below are some reasons why it's important to have strong communication skills:

Essential in the workplace

Communication is an essential skill in the workplace. Being able to communicate well means you understand the critical role it plays in relationships with peers and conveying important information and have worked to develop those skills.

High-demand skills

Being proficient in verbal and written communication is a skill that is in reasonably high demand. Employers hire people who they think can foster good communication with the existing team members.

Career prospects

Being able to participate with skill in all forms of communication—verbal, written, non-verbal and visual—is important to getting a job and advancing in your career. Not just for the reasons we listed above, but people who can communicate well are more likely to have an expertly written resume and strong interview that shows them as a prime candidate for the role they are applying for. The entire application process requires communication from the moment you submit an application or resume and through the interview process.

Learning

Communication influences your ability to learn. That's because how you communicate ideas and how you receive ideas that are communicated to you is all part of the cycle of learning. Understanding your best learning style means understanding where your strongest communication skills lie. For instance, a visual learner might be able to quickly develop skills in visual communication.

Helps in all areas of life

Communication is inherent in all aspects of life—from personal relationships to education and professional success.

Related: 4 Types of Communication

Top communication skills

Below is a list of top communication skills you can develop to get ahead in the workplace and life. These soft skills can only be developed through deliberate communication with others, which requires a deep understanding of each skill:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Clarity
  • Empathy
  • Confidence
  • Listening
  • Keeping an open mind

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence, or EI, is the skill that allows you to modulate and regulate your emotional response, even in the face of information that might inspire deep emotions. People with high emotional intelligence communicate better with others by being less reactionary.

Clarity

It's important to speak clearly and to be able to illustrate a point with clarity and cohesion. Mastering this skill means being able to communicate a narrative, through verbal or written communication usually, in the correct order for story progression and including the necessary details for understanding.

Empathy

Like emotional intelligence, empathy is a communication skill that speaks to the human ability to connect emotionally. People who have high empathy can relate to the feelings and emotions of others, which may make them a more sensitive and astute communicator.

Confidence

People who speak with confidence are effective communicators because people are more inclined to believe and trust the word of someone who communicates confidently. Confidence is also an important workplace skill because it often overlaps with competence.

Listening

The key to being a great communicator is to start by being a good listener. Listening is an essential part of communication. You must listen to be an effective part of a dialogue.

Keeping an open mind

Being open-minded means you can change your ideas and opinions in the face of new information. This flexibility makes for a skill that can be refined for the workplace.

Related: Nonverbal Communication Skills

How to improve communication skills

You can improve your communication skills by following the steps below:

  1. Record yourself communicating
  2. Improve your listening
  3. Seek out skills and resources that aid in emotional development
  4. Get better at understanding non-verbal communication
  5. Prioritize communication skill development
  6. Make eye contact
  7. Ensure you are understood

1. Record yourself communicating

A good first step is to record yourself communicating. Whether working on a group project, giving a speech or simply just speaking with others, record a few communications and evaluate them to where you need to improve. Even an email can show a record of written communication that can be useful for this kind of evaluation. Discovering where you can improve is a good first step to establishing a baseline for skill development.

2. Improve your listening

A vital part of communication is listening. If you start a dialogue with someone you have to be able to listen and respond. Active listening is a technique where people use verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to be a better listener. Perfecting your active listening skills helps you communicate better with others.

3. Seek out resources that aid in emotional development

Curating your own emotional development can be a challenge, but good communicators build skills that help them modulate their reactions during communication and to react appropriately to the given situation. Learning how to communicate with others means learning more about yourself and your own emotional development. Seek out tools and resources that help you develop emotionally.

4. Get better at understanding non-verbal communication

It's one skill to understand what people are saying to you, and it's another skill to understand how their non-verbal communication influences their meaning. When you fully understand communication, you can pick up on both verbal and non-verbal cues, like body language.

5. Prioritize communication skill development

Soft skills can pose a challenge to develop, so anyone looking at getting better at some of the soft skills associated with communication should prioritize communication by choosing to evaluate their interactions and committing to making adjustments where needed.

6. Make eye contact

Eye contact is an important part of non-verbal communication. Doing something as simple as making eye contact while speaking can help improve your communication skills.

7. Ensure you are understood

You can use techniques like reading non-verbal communication and asking questions to make sure you are understood. When speaking, pay attention to the non-communication of others such as seeing the listener nod their head in agreement.

Communication tips

Here are three communication tips to help you improve:

1. Prioritize communication skill development

Soft skills can pose a challenge to develop, so anyone looking at getting better at some of the soft skills associated with communication should prioritize communication by choosing to evaluate their interactions and committing to making adjustments where needed.

2. Make eye contact

Eye contact is an important part of non-verbal communication. Doing something as simple as making eye contact while speaking can help improve your communication skills.

3. Ensure you are understood

You can use techniques like reading non-verbal communication and asking questions to make sure you are understood.

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