Communicating is something we do every day, sometimes for hours on end. Just because you are communicating, however, does not mean you are always communicating well. In addition, while there may be a few people in your life that understand exactly what you are trying to communicate without putting forth any effort, the truth is everyone has different styles of communication. Just because you might communicate well with a few people close to you doesn’t mean you communicate well with everyone. Good communication skills give you the ability to be better heard and understood by a wider variety of people. Here are 3 tips for developing better communications skills.
- Evaluate and practice
Your speech is not the only thing that communicates when you do. Your body language is every bit as important to good communication as your words are. Therefore, as awkward as it may feel, it is a good idea to video record yourself speaking. By recording yourself, you can almost literally “stand outside yourself” to watch what you do or what distracting habits and mannerisms you might use when you speak. Only by understanding what you do and how you look when you speak can you make changes and improve.
- Ask for feedback
Recording yourself speaking can go a long way towards assessing your own communication skills, but it still doesn’t help you understand how you come across to others. Getting feedback about your communication skills might be uncomfortable, but it is necessary if you want to improve. For instance, you might discover that people feel you stand too close to them when talking or that you mumble so much they can’t understand you.
- Learn to listen
Listening skills are every bit as important to good communication as verbal or written skills are. Listening doesn’t just mean hearing the words another person is saying, it also means understanding them. Not only that, it also means correctly interpreting their non-verbal communication as well. Most great speakers are great speakers because they maintain a keen awareness of their audience. They know exactly when they have their audience in the palm of their hand and when they are losing them. You can start to build and develop this skill by learning to listen in individual conversations, but as you develop it, you will also develop the ability to “listen” to a larger and larger group.
Originally published on MarkGerardot.net