Communication is essential to everyday life regardless of your career path or type of education. Both students and employees communicate daily during classes, in interviews, and in the workplace. Effective communication is a great soft skill that can improve your personal and professional relationships. It shows those you communicate with that you are interested and care about what they have to say! Please continue reading to discover our top four tips for building strong communication skills.
Improve Your Active Listening
Listening is something that you do every day, whether you are aware of it or not. There are constant sounds in the world, and listening in a busy environment can be overwhelming. Active listening is the practice of staying entirely focused on the person you are speaking with instead of letting your mind get distracted and wander. Active listening takes practice, but it is an important skill to develop. By improving your active listening skills, you can improve your communication in everyday life!
Another technique that can help you improve your active listening skills is asking open-ended or probing questions. Questions like these require further explanation than a simple yes or no. This shows the person you’re listening, interested in the conversation and that your attention is solely focused on them.
Think Before Speaking
In-person and virtual communication requires taking the time to process information and consider the most appropriate response. Using intentional language can help you to be clear and concise to be sure that the person you are communicating with understands you.
When communicating virtually, you must think about your message and proofread for misspellings and grammar issues. It can sometimes be difficult to understand the meaning of a message without the context of body language. So making sure you are communicating in a way that is easy to understand is helpful to the reader.
For many people, empathy is a skill that comes naturally, and applying empathy while communicating can help build a stronger connection with the person you’re speaking with. In addition, building trusting relationships can be difficult without empathy, so developing this skill can be helpful when trying to relate to the person you’re communicating with.
It is important to manage your own emotions while communicating using empathy. Most people find it offputting when they receive unwanted advice or if the person they are speaking with tries to overtake the conversation with their own experiences. Instead, try using active listening skills to understand their perspective and give suggestions to solve their issue if they request your help.
Use Positive Body Language
Body language, like listening, is a form of communication that people use without noticing. Body language is nonverbal, meaning that people use cues like crossed arms, frowning, or lack of eye contact to determine interest level in the conversation. Using positive body language, smiling, maintaining eye contact, and using an open posture can show the person you’re communicating with that you are listening and interested in the conversation.
Another form of body language that can make an impression is your handshake. According to an article on LinkedIn, having too strong of a handshake can be perceived as arrogant. In contrast, a weak handshake can come off as timid. We suggest you practice your body language with someone close to you before a big event, such as an interview, to gain confidence!
You Can Develop Your Communication Skills!
By applying these tips to your everyday communication, you can become a better listener, clear speaker, and overall better communicator! Soft skills like body language, empathy, and active listening will benefit you in your personal and professional relationships.
If attending a college that helps you learn essential skills like communication is valuable to you, then WVJC could be a great fit! Our career and academic support services will help you develop your professional communication to help you succeed. Get started today by Requesting Information!