Your ability to communicate is not only important for your career success but also for your personal growth and happiness. Soft skills, like being able to communicate ideas or persuade others, are fundamental in today’s society, so it is essential that you perfect your communication skills, here are four steps that will help get you there in no time.
1. Connect with Your Audience
Whether you are communicating with one person or 500 people, it is vital that your listeners see you as someone they can trust, someone who is credible.
Establishing your purpose and choosing the best way to communicate is the first step to perfecting your communication skills. The quicker people know what your goals are, the sooner they will be able to understand what you are doing and decide whether they want to engage with you.
Connecting with your audience will also help them to engage. Make sure they know about your areas of expertise and why you are a credible source of information. Telling people a little about you personally also helps them develop empathy for you and connect with you on a deeper level. Trust is vital in any communication exchange, so establishing it and your purpose early on are crucial to getting your message across.
2. Listen More Than You Talk
Effective communication is not just about talking or delivering information. It is much more about listening to and being aware of others’ needs. Pay attention to the words other people use, their body language, and their facial expressions. These reveal a great deal about whether they are connecting with you, if they have questions or concerns, or if your are not communicating clearly.
When you are in a meeting or at a presentation, taking notes helps improve your listening and comprehension skills. Reading emails and electronic messages carefully can avoid confusion, and not reading too much into text can help you to avoid problems.
3. Be Clear and Concise
One of the simplest ways to improve your communication skills is to learn to say what you mean in fewer words and speaking or writing clearly. When it comes to written communication, using editing and revising tools can help you learn to avoid repetition and get your point across more quickly. Practicing your diction and speaking in a clear, slow voice can also improve your speaking skills. Avoid feeling like you must fill the space with words and people will respect you for it.
4. Respond to Feedback
Communication is bi-directional. In all types of communication, you get feedback from others. This can be in the form of facial expressions, questions, criticism, written messages, and other verbal and nonverbal messages. All of these let you know if your message was heard or if you need to adjust your method. Paying careful attention to the feedback given to you by recipients will help you improve your communication skills and better deliver your message in the future.
There is certainly a lot more that goes into perfecting your communication skills, but these four basic principles will get you started. When you learn to connect with your audience, listen better, become more precise and more concise, and to adjust based on feedback, your communication skills will certainly improve.