The availability of email, cell phones etc won’t guarantee that your views will get across successfully. How the message is delivered is still up to you. Here are the top ways to improve communication skills.
First of all you must learn to listen. If you’re having an argument with your spouse or one of the kids, listen to what they have to say. Arguments get out of hand because we get emotional.
Keep a lid on your emotions. Make your point, and then listen to what your spouse / child has to say. Try not to interrupt and speak in a normal but clear voice.
If you are acting as a mediator, listen to both parties. Don’t take sides, especially if the argument is between the children.
In the Workplace
One of the best ways to improve communication is by attending the seminars and team building sessions. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind out. This doesn’t mean you have to be confrontational.
If there are issues, bring it up to the supervisor. If you are an employer, make sure you know how your people are feeling.
When discussing issues like salaries, working hours, etc. present
all the facts. Explain as clearly as possible why this proposal has benefits or why it’s necessary. At the same time, ask other people for inputs and suggestions. This advice will also work during brainstorming sessions and meetings.
Improving Oral and Written Skills
Read books out loud. Don’t try changing your accent, but focus on speaking the words clearly. One of the fastest ways to improve communication skills is by reading and writing. Being able to express yourself clearly in business letters is important so practice.
Don’t just read and write. Go to the Web and use the free resources there. You can also buy grammar books and texts. The time and effort you put here will pay off as your written and oral skills improve.
Use Technology Wisely
With email, chat and cell phones, it’s easier than ever to contact friends and colleagues. However, it also opens the door for a lot of possible misunderstandings.
If you’re sending text messages, try not to abbreviate the words too much. The meaning could be misconstrued. Don’t use all caps as it’s a sign of anger or that you’re shouting.
The abovementioned ways to improve communication also apply to email. If you are sending a proposal, be straight to the point. Don’t add any superfluous contents. It’s also a good idea not to use company resources for uploading photos on your personal homepage.
Your communication skills will be augmented not just by what you say, but by what you don’t. Don’t get involved in office gossip or intrigue. When with your friends, don’t say anything unflattering about a person who isn’t present. It’s much better to actually talk with that person if you have issues with him / her.
One final point needs to be said. The best way to improve communication skills is by talking to people. All that reading won’t do you any good if you don’t actually speak up.