How to Improve Your Communication Skills

How to improve your communication skills

If you are looking at how to improve your communication skills you're at the right place.  Effective communication skills are essential in all aspects of the business. Good communication skills deliver efficiency in communicating goals, strategies and, policies as well as sharing best practices and identifying areas for improvement on an individual and group level.

Learning effective communication techniques will help you improve key aspects of your life in both a personal and business sense.

As effective communication can have positive effects every facet of your life from workplace relationships to your bank balance. Being able to clearly articulate your opinions and views is just a small portion of being an effective communicator. Effective listening as well as being able to understand what people are really saying are equally as important components.

If you would like to communicate better take action today by enrolling in one of the many communication skills online courses available at Courses for Success.

Benefits of developing your communication skills

The benefits of improving communication skills are many. Most benefits can be applied in both a professional and personal sense.  When you become a better communicator you will achieve better outcomes n your personal and private life.

In a professional sense, effective communication in the workplace will go a long way to determining your success, regardless of whether you operate in a supervisory capacity or you are a wage or salary earner. For organization leaders and people managers, the ability to effectively communicate team or company goals can be the single most important factor in determining whether a team succeeds or fails to deliver expected outcomes. The resolution of problems and conflicts in an office environment is something that should be taken seriously by the people in the office since the main goal is to resolve everything that can be resolved with communication. The management of the situations can make or break the office team spirit and more.

There are countless publications, training courses, and workshops that proclaim effective communication will deliver increased productivity and profits if workers understand what the company's goals are and how they can help to achieve those goals.  The key to getting buy-in from employees is clear concise communication that informs educates and inspires.

Some of the biggest benefits of improved communication include

  • Improved relationships - The biggest obstacle to forming good business relationships is the absence of clear, concise communication. How the message is delivered is just as important as actually delivering the message. Communication is a two-way street – listening is just as important as talking.
    Improved relationships result when both speakers and listeners take ownership of their roles.  Both roles take conscious effort. The proper understanding of these roles and application of communication skills will result in improved relationships.

  • Reduced Conflict - Even the most skilled communicators will encounter conflict situations. When conflict occurs, a leader with the appropriate communication skills moves quickly to reconcile the conflict issues.  One of the keys here is to take the emotion out of conflict situations. With that vital skill in place, you are more likely to mitigate and reduce the strength of the conflict.

  • Better Leadership - Leaders understand the power of getting people involved in effective communication skills. Great communicators have the ability to clearly communicate plans, direction, goals, and expectations while above all, motivating and inspiring their team to focus on achieving goals. As you improve your communication skills, not only will you recognize the best ways to communicate your message at the best time you will be able to identify the right method, who should receive the message and what words will work best. It is a valuable skill that has tremendous potential to grow your business.  Like all skills, it has to be learned, developed and practiced.

While improved communication skills have great benefits in the business world, the very same skills can help you improve your personal relationships as well.

What are communication skills?

Communication skills cover a broad range of soft skills.  

These include basic literacy type skills like reading, writing, and comprehension but also encompass higher level skills listed below.

  • Confidence – Being self-assured builds trust and confidence.  The key is to strike the balance between being assured and measured and appearing to be cocky and arrogant.  This is achieved by welcoming questions, using a steady voice tone, using humor where appropriate. Resolve your everyday challenges with powerful communication as your arsenal.

  • Reading non-verbal cues – All good communicators understand the importance of body language and are able to read t and use it to their advantage.

  • Active Listening

  • Interpersonal Communication Skills - Builds trust with peers and mentors alike.  These skills do involve looking for common ground, demonstrating empathy and building bonds with key stakeholders.

  • Teamwork – Understanding that individuals can contribute in unique ways towards achieving the common goal.  Being able to communicate that all contributions are valued is essential to gaining maximum buy-in.

  • Selling Skills – Being able to find the win-win scenario when negotiating.

How to Communicate Effectively

There are many ways to communicate effectively – some written, some verbal.  Each method is unique and circumstances will dictate how to communicate effectively and which communication method works best.

Some golden rules in relation to effective communication are:

  • Use clear concise language that the audience is able to understand in order to stay away from any conflicts

  • Remain on message

  • Listen to your audience.  Really listen – take the time to understand their point of view.  When you understand where people are coming from you are much more likely to address their key concerns, offer solutions and get a broad-based agreement.

  • Be honest and sincere.

  • Confirm that people understand your message.  Summarize communications before concluding them – even ask what people understood the message to be.

  • Cut out the vagaries.  It’s easy to hedge communications with vague words like soon and a lot.  Be precise, f necessary state how much of what by when – don’t leave room for misinterpretation leading to conflicts.

Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Improving your communication skills takes a commitment to communicate effectively as well as practicing skills. There are many effective communication techniques you can acquire that can help you in the office space.

Some strategies on how to communicate better include:

  • Work on your body language.  Non-verbal clues can betray your real feelings.  Make eye contact. Adopt an open listening position (unfold your arms).  Portray confidence and a welcoming position.

  • Use stories to demonstrate or emphasize a point.  Storytelling is a powerful mechanism that can be used to demonstrate key points about positive and negative behaviors and outcomes.

  • Focus on the other person by asking questions and repeating sentences.  This will help you to focus and pay attention. Communication is a two-way street.  When you give others the respect that they deserve, they respond accordingly and are more likely to be open in their communications with you.

  • Make written communications brief but specific.  Follow the formula of Background, Reason, Information, End, Follow-Up to keep your communications BRIEF and to the point.  Most people don’t have time to read pages of written communication and they don’t want to be confused by jargon or your use of long words.  Write to inform. This is particularly relevant when email communication is required.

  • Tailor the message to suit the audience.  The goal should always be to connect with your audience on their level.  Your delivery may shift subtly when communicating with employees compared to middle management.  The message must stay the same but the context may shift to be relevant to the specific audience.

  • Remove unnecessary distractions.  This is an easy win when you are looking to communicate better. Be in the moment. Don’t stop at turning the mobile phone off, switch off computer screens or any other device liable to distract.  Give communication a chance to work.

  • Take a course to improve your communication skills.  There are a plethora of short face to face and online courses available.  The advantage of taking an online course s that you can do it at your own pace without having to meet schedules or deadlines.

How to Work On Communication Skills

Some ways to work on improving and developing good communication skills involve becoming more aware of others.  These activities take a conscious effort but will help you to be more effective with your communication.

  • Concentrate on listening - Listening is not to be confused with hearing.  Listening is an art that involves not only hearing the words spoken but picking up on how they are spoken as well as the non-verbal signals that accompany the words. It is important to clarify and reflect upon what has been said before responding. One of the hardest listening techniques to perfect the practice of clearing your mind and really focusing on the message being received.

  • Be Aware of Other People's Emotions -  People are not robots they will respond to your genuine expressions of sympathy as well as your praise and congratulations at the appropriate times. This requires some commitment to taking an interest in your colleague’s life.  Little things matter. People respond positively to eye contact and the use of first names where appropriate. Always be mindful of the effect that your words can have on the listener.

  • Empathize – work on seeing things from other’s point of view. Work on being non-judgemental and do not allow your existing beliefs and inherent biases to influence your responses to the other person’s viewpoint. The best way to empathize with others s to remain in tune with your own emotions.
    If it becomes necessary to state your personal point of view, state it clearly and honestly. Be mindful that some subjects can be too stressful to discuss.

  • Encourage contributions by being open and honest - Offer praise for good work and work to create an environment where people feel wanted, valued and appreciated in all your communications. Creating this environment helps to encourage people to want to give their all for you.  Being aware that every interaction and communication that you engage in will be affected by your body language, demeanor and willingness to engage.

How to Learn Communication Skills

In order to communicate better, you need to identify the communication skills that will give you the greatest benefit. Once you’ve identified what communication skills that you need to improve you can set about learning them.

Reading up on communication skills or watching YouTube videos will only take you so far.  Good Communication skills are ultimately learned by putting them into practice. The more you practice communication skills the better you will get at them.

There are many quality communication courses designed to help you to understand how, why and when to effectively communicate.

These courses cover a full range of communication skills. Everything from business writing through to coaching and understanding body language can be accessed via online courses.

If you are considering accessing an online course, Courses for Success has a communications skills course that will suit your needs.

Course categories include Communication, Coaching & Conflict Resolution, Communication in Sales, Business Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Communication & Leadership and Communication Strategies.

Within these course categories, you will sure to find a course that will help you learn the communication skills that you need to improve.

Besides the obvious benefits that undertaking a communication course delivers, there are some less obvious benefits that will make you glad that invested the time and energy in improving your communication.

These include:

  • Increased confidence - Possessing effective communication skills, will do wonders for your self-esteem. When you are able to apply your learned communication skills effectively you will be naturally more confident when you speak one or one or are called upon to speak publicly.

  • Better listening skills – once you learn the skill of effective listening, you will be amazed at how dynamic your communication becomes.

  • Increased empathy - Many communication courses have exercises designed to help you place yourself in the other person’s shoes.  These exercises will help you to remain focused and open to suggestions as well as being able to sincerely empathize with others

  • Speaking concise language - People are far more likely to be receptive to a message that is both clear and succinct. Communication skills courses will not only assist you to communicate effectively in a variety of circumstances but help you to speak in plain clear terms that will help you to reach mutually beneficial outcomes with others.

One of the more economical ways of doing online courses is to take a bundled package of online courses that will help you tackle several key elements of communication in one package.

Courses For Success has a range of bundled communication courses available. Book your bundled communication course package now. Now that you know how to improve your communication skills, all you need is one of our course!

Gain the communication skills that the world of today needs and go out into the office and your personal life with new-found communicative confidence. Resolve your communication problems and conflicts and with better management of your communication signals by joining our courses today!

The CFS Team
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