Improving your communication skills should be a part of any person’s agenda for personal and professional development. Not being able to communicate well can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements and even keep you from getting that dream job.
The phrase “Communication is the key to great relationships” isn’t only accurate for your personal life, but your professional life as well. Whether you are a company leader or an employee, you can benefit from improving your communication skills. It helps you get your message through to people more effectively, connect and understand others.
Here are 4 brilliant ways to become an expert communicator:
1. Learn How to Ask Questions
Learning how to ask questions can help you master communication in more ways than one. It’ll help you build rapport with your audience, make them feel comfortable, and re-engage them.
More importantly, it can also help you get access to more “insider” information and keep you from burning bridges.
For example, phrasing a question: “I would like to understand better …” or “Can we double tap on that…” will make the person share more information. Best of all, it’ll make them feel comfortable instead of being questioned, which prevents conflicts.
You’re not confronting the person; you simply want to learn more. Phrasing your questions like this helps to assume the best intentions and always give others the benefit of the doubt.
2. Be Brief But Specific
No one likes to listen to a person who goes on and on but never gets to the point. Listeners will soon lose concentration and direct their attention elsewhere.
If you’re looking to better your communications skills, you should try to be brief but specific. Try to limit your words and keep the message simple and to the point. Not only does this save you time and effort, but your listeners will appreciate you for it.
Additionally, it’ll also make you look credible and that you know what you’re talking about. Adding lots of fluff can make you seem insecure and not confident in the information you’re sharing.
3. Listen First
Expert communicators actually spend a lot more time listening rather than talking. It helps them analyze the conversation and understand their listeners.
Including a pause here and there is an excellent way to break up the conversation and draw attention back to your message. According to motivational public speaker Brian Tracy, a 3-5 second pause is enough to help you reframe, refocus, and dim the excitement that inspires you to over-talk.
In addition, listening effectively increases trust and helps you find key drivers of the conversation. It also reduces conflict since you’re not interrupting others but gives you time to reflect and adjust your arguments.
Listening actively allows you to observe other peoples’ communication styles and note what works and what doesn’t. Then, you can copy their best approaches and make them your own.
4. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
You’ve probably heard it before; your body language speaks louder than words?
According to research by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, 55 percent of communication is nonverbal. This means that a significant part of our communication is gestures and posture, and facial expressions.
For example, sitting with your arms crossed over your chest will make you come off as standoffish, even when smiling. Fidgeting or fiddling with pens and phones will make you seem anxious or nervous, not making eye contact is related to insecurity or dishonesty, and so forth.
There are many things to consider related to body language, but an expert communicator will:
- Keep the body open
- Maintain good eye contact
- Keep the head up
- Avoid touching the face
- Use open hand gestures and a firm handshake
Lastly, we all use body language to communicate feelings and intentions, so your ability to interpret body language can help you pick up on others’ unspoken words.
Becoming an expert communicator requires practice. You won’t master communication overnight, but it may well be worth the effort. If you use every conversation as an opportunity to improve your skills, you’ll become an expert communicator in no time.