It has become almost impossible to find job postings that do not require you to have impeccable or exceptional or *insert synonym for above-average* communication skills. Communication is an essential tool for everyone to have, personally or professionally. This is why we have compiled a list of tips that could help you improve your communication skills so you are a better professional (and person) in the long run.
- Talk less, listen more
We realize that this should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway. You should try to listen more than you speak in conversations. The person you’re talking to has to be your sole priority during a conversation, no don’t spend the time talking so much you forget to listen to them. People can tell when you’re too into yourself to pay attention and it is never a good look.
- Your body language says more than you think
You should not underestimate just how important your body language is in communication. Your body language can basically make or mar you in certain scenarios. We hear of interviewers who dismiss candidate because they exhibited some form of arrogance during an interview. You should watch how you react in public. For example, after a presentation you may find yourself hit with a barrage of questions which leave you feeling attacked or affronted. Crossing your arms on your chest or arms akimbo gives off a defensive vibe. Take a breather before you start to address your audience. Assume an open communication stance where your colleagues can see that you are confident but not cornered. We could give a hundred other examples but let’s leave it at this;
a)be conscious of what your body language may be communicating on your behalf,
b) keep your emotions in check so that they are not reflected in your countenance.
- Be concise
An important part of communication is being straight to the point. Keep your conversations brief and your content valuable. You are a better communicator when you find the shortest possible ways to get your message across without seeming repetitive. Keep in mind that most people do not have the attention span to tolerate you beating around the bush which is why brevity is crucial.
- Take notes
I am a firm believer in the power of written word and cannot emphasize this point enough. It is always wise to have a notepad with you as a professional so you can keep a clear record of important things. Taking notes during meetings and going over them will further help you improve yourself and decide on your next point of action. Basically, Write. Everything. Down.
- Study your audience
To communicate effectively, you have to keep track of who you’re talking to/with. As a professional, you should avoid colloquialism, the use of slangs and mainstream lingo that may not sit very well with your bosses or prospective partners. Keep the person(s) you’re speaking to in mind so you can communicate in a manner they will understand and respect. You can not expect to tell your elderly boss “Hey, what’s up?” or use words like “Abi”, “sha” in formal gatherings. The point is to tailor your communication to whoever is on the other end so you’re on the same page.
- Be Respectful
It is imperative that you regard everyone you come across with a certain level of respect, no matter who they are or where you met them. You should also avoid being condescending to subordinates or colleagues, it’s never a good look. No matter how important you think your opinions are, you should never have to resort to condescension or rudeness to get your message across.