5 Ways To Improve Your Communication Skills


In our society today, where communication is an integral part of our existence, and information a vital element of any human endeavour, the benefits of communication cannot be overemphasized. Not at work or at the market place.

Communication as a basis for decision making, contributes immensely to the growth of an individual and the society at large; as it broadens one’s scope of reasoning and gives room for new ideas. When ideas are shared, there is room for comparative research (mental or physical) and criticism which when properly done, increases the researcher’s knowledgedgeand also provides the needed information.

Communication; the concept of sharing information – exists of three types, the verbal, nonverbal and written communication.

In the verbal method of communication which involves the use of speech and sounds, the parties in attendance i.e. the speaker and the listener; thoughts and ideas are communicated more effectively as you get to observe the facial expressions of the speaker which is in its form, serves as a means of communication. Here, you are served the privilege of understanding the speaker’s mood while he speaks and if you happen to be the speaker; you get to know how much of the information is conveyed to your audience through your tone, and use of words. Say for instance, you wish to retell your tragic experience to a friend, it will be more effective on him or her as you relate the story using words you know can win you their sympathy , ‘If’ it be pity you want.

The nonverbal method of communication deals with observation. You observe a person’s actions and infer meaning. This method of communication unlike the verbal method, is likely not to produce accurate results as it is mainly based on inference (guess); yet it does not fail to play an important role in conveying of emotions. You can tell a person’s mood and guess their next move just by merely observing them. Just like a nursing mother and her little baby who knows no other language aside tears and laughter. The mother understands that whenever the baby cries, it simply means it is in an uncomfortable situation, maybe hungry or even defecated on its body and needs changing. And when it smiles or laughs, it is happy and comfortable. So much communication has occurred between the duo without a single word said.

The written method involves the use of writing pads, letters and other written documents. The written method appears to be the mostly used, as not many people are able to keep in touch physically for any nonverbal observations and even those who can afford to communicate verbally through mobile phones and computers prefer sending of text messages through their mobile applications. One advantage of the written method of communication is that, it is long lasting. By long lasting this means, it can be passed on to progeny or kept for future reference if properly managed. So many books we see in our local libraries today were written years ago but kept safe. Time and time again we are able to visit for any research works of our choice but this is not so with the verbal and nonverbal method of communication which are only of-the-moment. Except on cases where it is recorded on tapes.

Though communication matters, how it is done matters most. A single word you say to someone, can imply more than you mean, as such, one needs to be extra cautious when choosing words while communicating so as to avoid the listener reading a different meaning to the information being passed and prevent unnecessary misunderstandings.

When conversing with a person or a group of persons, for effective communication;

  1. Listen: Nowhere in the history of communication has any good listener missed a target. By listening, it doesn’t mean just keeping quiet while they talk. So many people pretend to be listening while in the real sense, they’re just waiting for their turn to talk.

When you listen, you pay keen attention to what the speaker is saying – you understand their perspective on a particular issue and without them telling, you know their stance, naturally. So when you speak, it does not come off as a blunder. When you pay listening ears, you get to catch certain words or meanings that ordinarily, would have escaped your hearing if you didn’t listen. Being a good listener eventually makes you a good speaker, a good communicator, because when you listen, you don’t just hear words that bounce off just as immediate as they fall, you gain knowledge that sinks in, perhaps an idea you never thought of registers into your subconscious when you listen. Without agreeing any less with

Fareeq Siddiqu, a member of the Institute of Management Consultants of India as he wrote on The benefits-of-being-a-good-listener, “It is better if you always listen first before you speak, as it will allow you to present your ideas, opinions and suggestions successfully. It not only creates a good impression on the speaker, but it also helps you solve many of life’s problems”.

Listening buys you time to rebuild or build more on the knowledge you already have about a particular issue. It doesn’t matter how foolish the person’s speech may appear to be, once you listen there’s a gain, of both time and knowledge. Sometimes even energy.

  1. High self-esteem: How you see yourself matters a lot even in communication. Having a positive mental picture about yourself makes the person you are talking with understand that you actually know why you’re there. Confidence matters in communication. No one is interested in talking with someone who feels they’re unfit for the discourse. Or rather, no one listens to someone without confidence in their voice. Be confident about the message you’re passing to your audience, prove to them that you know what you’re talking about and you’re in control of the situation. When you talk with confidence, you avoid unnecessary questions. Questions that do not matter. Some people do not know how to ask questions, they keep going in circles, demanding explanations for self-explanatory topics – all these are questions that bring about confusion in a gathering, but with a confident look and demeanor, they can be avoided. Dr. T.C. North, an Executive and Leadership speaker simply puts in his article on The 12 Benefits of Increasing Your Self-Confidence, “Self-confident people often influence others more readily. This helps when selling an idea or product or negotiating at work or home.”

You cannot convince your audience without confidence, because that is the only tool you use to win their trust.

  1. Censorship: Even though it may seem morality has lost its value in many spheres of life, decorum remains a priority in communication, well at least with responsible persons, and for a good course. “The common mantra of treating others how you want to be treated has a place not only in your personal life, but also in the workplace. Whether you’re dealing with co-workers directly or simply passing someone in the hallway, every interaction should be viewed as an opportunity to create a positive working environment.” Nicole Long, a freelance writer wrote.

Not just in a workplace, when communicating with someone credible, both at work or anywhere outside the office, your manners and choice of words should be a priority. You do not go about using street language and cussing everyone and anyone, this will leave them wondering about the type of person you are. And the conclusion thereof won’t be a positive one.

Just as every occasion has a dress code, every rendezvous has its language. The language you use with the girl in the neighbourhood, isn’t same you’ll use with a job interviewer.

As a listener and communicator, some manners you shouldn’t exhibit while being talked to include but not limited to;

  •   Yawning in the presence of a speaker. Yawning is reflex, but it can be controlled. When you yawn at someone talking, it may make them feel like what they’re saying doesn’t make sense and you’re tired. It is like a polite way of telling them to shut up without really using the words.
  •  Receiving calls. A call is important, of course, that is why it was made in the first place but it can wait, surely. It doesn’t speak well of you when you keep taking excuses at intervals at the slightest buzz of your mobile phone. Turn off all notifications if possible while talking to someone, people are more encouraged when they see that you’re interested in what they have to offer Or, you mean seriousness with what you have to give.
  1. Participation : The entire essence of communication is to get a feedback. When there’s room for questions, ask. There is no better way to express your attentiveness than chirping in from time to time when need be.
  2. Be positive: A positive attitude is like honey to the bees, it attracts positive responses from your audiences. Being positive only means, adding life to a conversation. When communicating, try to relate the topic of discourse to everyday life. Your audience may identify with it in one way or the other and this will further make your conversation worthwhile.





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