Effective Communication Skill: How to Develop It?

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effective communication skill
effective communication skill

An effective communication skill is your ladder to success in every profession. However, only a handful of people consider themselves to be good at communication. How can you overcome the roadblock of poor communication and talk to people effortlessly?

Here is a quick guide to enhancing your communication skills.

Importance of an Effective Communication Skill

Back in the day, communication skills were an important soft skill. They were a luxury to have for working professionals and would help you get better career opportunities. This was especially true for sales, marketing, and customer support, where workers frequently interacted with customers or clients.

Things have changed now. Communication has become a pivotal part of every role, from a developer to IT support to an accountant. Close to 90% of people consider an effective communication skill to be critical. However, around 80% of people rate their business’ communication skills as average or below average.

Gone are the days when having good communication skills would improve your career opportunities. Now, effectively communicating is critical, and not doing so can hinder your career growth.

How to Develop an Effective Communication Skill?

Having established the importance of an effective communication skill, let’s now discuss how you can develop them. People often get intimidated by the idea of honing their communication skills due to many reasons. For some, it is shyness, and for others, it’s a language barrier or other issues.

effective communication skill
effective communication skill

Here’s a simple, 7-step framework to help you enhance your communication skills.

Be an Amazing Listener

You probably have heard it a million times, but it’s worth repeating. Effective listening is the cornerstone of effective communication. When you listen carefully, you can give affirming replies and ask logical follow-up questions. This indicates that you’re paying attention and actively involved in the interaction.

Imagine talking to a person who won’t listen. Would you like to talk to them? Probably not. The same goes for communication within formal settings. The better listener you are, the better communicator you’ll become.

Get Control Over Your Emotions

Being headstrong is essential for clear communication. When talking with someone, emotions will flow through your mind. These can be fear, anger, nervousness, anxiety, excitement, sadness, etc. Your feelings will depend on the person you’re talking to.

However, it’s critical to get control over your emotions and express them appropriately. If you allow feelings to creep into your communication, it can affect the conversation and lead to conflict.

Practice Mirror Speaking

Mirror speaking is a standard communication exercise recommended by many experts. It requires you to stand in front of the mirror and talk to yourself. A big benefit of this exercise is that it helps you become more conscious.

When we talk to someone, our facial expressions and body language (more about it in the following sections) play a vital role in getting the message across. If you’re giving good news, but your facial expressions display anger, the other person could get confused.

Additionally, mirror speaking makes you more confident. You must’ve realized that you speak well when you talk to yourself, but you start to fumble when there’s another person. This exercise can help you overcome those fears.

Don’t Let the Words Flow

Another problem amateur speakers face is they lose control over what they’re speaking. Of course, when you talk in your native tongue, words flow automatically. It’s because you’ve been speaking that language for years, if not decades. And it’s okay to let words flow when you’re speaking with a friend or relative.

In professional settings, however, you need to speak consciously and have control over what you say. The best way to do this is by pausing before speaking. Whenever you’re required to speak, take a moment and think about what you’re going to speak. This way, you’ll ensure you don’t say unnecessary things.

Master Non-Verbal Communication

When you talk to someone in person, non-verbal communication is as important as verbal communication. Most communication takes place through physical cues, such as hand movements, facial expressions, and body language.

effective communication skill
effective communication skill

Here are a few tips to improve your nonverbal communication.

  • Adopt a proper posture. Have broad shoulders, keep your head high, and avoid slouching.
  • Maintain eye contact for most of the communication. Remember that occasionally breaking eye contact is also vital.
  • Don’t keep your hands inside the pockets. Move your hands when you talk to come out as more natural.
  • Your facial expressions should align with what you say. If you’re giving good news, have a smile on your face. If you’re sharing a problem, maintain a serious facial expression.

Hone Your Language Skills

This tip applies to people trying to improve their communication skills in a language that’s not their native language. For instance, you might be a native Spanish or German trying to speak English at work. In such cases, the better command you have over English, the better you’ll be able to talk. You don’t need to learn all the words in the English dictionary, but the more you know, the better.

Now, how can you improve your language skills? There are several resources available for free. You can read books, watch movies, listen to podcasts, etc.

Ask for Feedback

It’s essential to put your ego aside and embrace feedback. I’ll even suggest you take charge and ask for feedback from others. You may receive some criticism, and that’s alright. Constructive criticism is always helpful, as it helps you know what you’re doing wrong and how you can improve it.

Find someone in your company or circle who has good communication skills. It could be your colleague, boss, friend, or family member. Tell them you’re trying to improve your communication skills and need help. If they’re willing to help, talk with them regularly and ask them to give you feedback.

Wrap Up: Effective Communication Skill

Having an effective communication skill isn’t an option anymore. It determines your success in the professional space, as not communicating adequately can affect your growth and limit your opportunities.

Fortunately, improving your communication skills isn’t difficult. Using the right strategies and practicing continuously, you can become a good speaker and hold conversations seamlessly with anyone you want.

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