How to improve your communication skills

Whether we are speaking or writing, the purpose is the same – to communicate or convey thoughts, ideas, emotions and critical data to other people.  Of course the problem is that our intentions often become muddled due to a lack of communications skills.  In other words, the true meanings behind your words are either not being expressed correctly or even getting through to other individuals at all.  In short, the purpose of this article is to provide you with some basic ways in which you can easily improve your ability to communicate more clearly.

First off, if you’ve never actually listened to yourself speak, you should strongly consider doing so.  Not only do most of us tend to find our own voice to be slightly unrecognizable when played back, we also often discover that we don’t particularly like certain things about our speech.  It’s not uncommon for people, when hearing their own recorded messages played back, to recoil at the tone, accent, habits or general mannerisms of their speech / language patterns.  While it might be somewhat painful to endure for some, analyzing and even correcting certain elements of your basic communication style might help you go far toward becoming a better conversationalist.

Secondly, remember to listen.  Really, this point cannot be emphasized enough to tell you the truth.  More often than not it’s a person’s listening skills which tend to reveal to another person as to whether or not they are being truly understood.  As you might expect, anyone who doesn’t pay very good attention to what their intended audience is relaying to them won’t be able to keep the conversation going (where development is concerned).  Similarly, the person with whom you’re speaking will also probably “tune you out” because they don’t feel as if they’re being properly understood.

Next, make sure that you don’t overreact or respond in a very personal manner to another individual’s outbursts or anger.  More often than not, these types of intense psychological reactions aren’t even taking place as a result of something you did, but rather a complex sequence of events and/or elements which represent some form of apprehension, frustration or outright fear.  Instead of lashing out at the person, try to remain firm, resolute and open to what they’re saying without letting it “get to you”.  Afterwards, you’ll likely be able to get much more candid information out of them.

Lastly, be as clear as possible.  Instead of jumping to conclusions or assuming the meaning behind a phrase or remark, ask the person to clarify things for you.  Again, there’s no need to feel personally upset about things until you know for sure that you’re being insulted (and even then, you can still opt to take the high road and let their words pass over you like “water off of a duck’s back”, as they say).  When confronted with an obstinate and mean-spirited person it’s best to let them wallow in their negativity and simply move on and communicate with others who might be more receptive.