Ways to improve communication skills

Here are ways you can improve your communication skills in order to become a more effective leader.

  • Learn the basics of nonverbal communication.
    To communicate clearly and confidently, adopt proper posture. Avoid slouching, folding your arms or making yourself appear smaller than you are. Instead, fill up the space you are given, maintain eye contact and (if appropriate) move around the space.
  • Avoid relying on visual aids.
    Be prepared to use words, compelling storytelling and nonverbal cues to communicate your point with the audience. Avoid using visual aids unless absolutely necessary.

  • Ask for honest feedback.
    As with most leadership skills, receiving honest feedback from peers, managers and members of your team is critical to becoming a better communicator. If you regularly solicit feedback, others will help you to discover areas for improvement that you might have otherwise overlooked.

  • Engage the audience in discussion.
    Regardless of how compelling the speaker is, all audiences have limited attention spans. To become a more effective communicator, make presentations and discussions interactive.
    Ask the audience a question, encourage people to call out their thoughts during a brainstorming session or at the very least ask hypothetical questions to stimulate the audience.

  • Start and end with key points.
    Clear communication is of paramount importance. To ensure that the audience understands the key takeaways from a presentation, reiterate key points at the start and finish. This can also be accomplished by providing attendees with a one-pager that includes key points the audience should consider throughout the presentation.

  • Record important presentations for posterity.
    It can take a good deal of time and energy to communicate effectively. In cases where you may need to give the same presentation multiple times, consider recording it and sharing it in the future
    Recorded presentations can be especially helpful for communicators who need to regularly provide training in a company that is hiring employees quickly.

  • Get to know your audience.
    To communicate effectively, it is important to get to know your audience first. Each audience is different, and will have different preferences and cultural norms that should be considered when communicating. A good way to understand expectations is to ask members of the audience for examples of good communicators within the organisation

  • Add novelty to improve audience retention.
    when presented with novel, as opposed to routine, situations. To help audience members retain information, consider injecting some sort of novel event into a presentation. This might be something funny, or something that simply catches people by surprise.

  • Focus on earning respect instead of laughs.
    It can be tempting to communicate with others in a lighthearted way; after all, this can be a good way to make friends in a professional setting. But remember that the most successful communicators are those who have earned respect, rather than laughs. While telling a joke or two to warm up an audience can be effective, avoid ending a presentation with a laugh.

  • Be a listener.
    “Listen more than you talk.” To communicate effectively, first listen to what others have to say. Then you can provide a thoughtful answer that shows you have taken those ideas into account.

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