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5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

communication skillsGood communication skills are increasingly important in the modern workplace. The ability to articulate your thoughts clearly and understand the needs of others is vital if you want to be successful in your career. You need to be able to interact in a positive and productive way with your colleagues, your boss, your employees and your clients.

If you think your communication skills could do with a boost, try these 5 smart strategies:

  1. Listen

    It’s amazing how many people don’t actually listen to what others are saying – often they’re just waiting for an opportunity to say something themselves. Try reflective listening – a vital skill in life coaching and career coaching. When someone is talking to you, let them speak, and let them know you really understand by reflecting their ideas back to them. For example “So you’re saying you sometimes feel unappreciated?” Make sure you understand where they’re coming from and to see things from their perspective. Only then can you work to resolve an issue effectively, or move forward in a constructive way.

  1. Speak clearly

    Great communicators always make sure their message is heard. They don’t mumble, constantly “um” and “ah”, talk softly, or look at the ground when they have something to say. Great communicators stand tall, look you in the eye, and speak in a confident tone of voice. The more you consciously practise this, the easier and more natural it will become.

  1. Stick to the point

    Long rambling stories may be ok for social situations, but at work they’re just time-wasters. Keep things as simple and concise as you can, and avoid going off on tangents, as all this will do is distract your audience and dilute your central theme.

  1. Say what you mean

    Office politics can be a minefield, but if you’re having issues with your workmates, it’s usually best to address the problem honestly and directly. For instance, if someone is upsetting you at work, your first course of action should be to talk to them in person and in private, in a calm and professional manner, and try to get a resolution. You’ll be respected more if you approach them like this, rather than going behind their back.

  1. Join your local Toastmasters club

    Toastmasters International is a worldwide non-profit organisation whose aim is to improve communication and leadership skills in the community. I can think of no better or more cost-effective way to become a better communicator. Find a club near you, have fun and make friends while building your communication skills.

No matter what you do for a living, if you interact with people, you’ll always benefit from being able to communicate more effectively.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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