How to Sound like a True Professional: Improve your Communication Skills Without Spending A Penny
The number one skill on every job’s skill set – no matter what your job is, is communication skills. This is the one non-technical skill that every professional is expected to have, and is expected to be good at. Thus, we can safely conclude that communication skills are indeed not over rated. That said, it is also one skill that most of us are not very comfortable with. And for those of us who are, well, one can always get better.
This particular comic strip by Sarah Anderson is something I find highly relatable, which sums up the motivation for this post perfectly.
So, if you find yourself relating to it too, here are five things you can do (for free!) to help hone your verbal communication skills.
Read as much as you can, and as diversely as you can. If you don’t think you are much of a reader, form the habit of at least reading the newspapers everyday. Enhancing the reservoir of your vocabulary is actually the lifeblood for your communication skills. And this happens only when you read enough.
Go old school. Record and playback.
Find yourself some quiet time everyday, pick a topic, time yourself and speak out loud about it. Record your voice as you go about it. You can judge yourself the best, so play it back and listen intently to every word, pronunciation and the tonal modalities. Investing 30 minutes in this every day will yield you significant results just within a month!
Work on your listening skills
In order to be able to speak well, or communicate well, we first need to be good listeners. This is one very important aspect of honing communication skills which is most frequently paid little or no attention. When people speak to you, listen with the intent of hearing them out. Usually, even before the other person has finished speaking, we are ready with a retaliation. Listen with the objective of responding, and not retaliating. This helps you form your thoughts well before you can articulate them.
Watch your body language
Our body language is a crucial part of our communication skills. You know how our hands and the rest of our body take on a life of their own while we’re speaking? Well, that can truly be distracting for people we are trying to establish communication with, and take away from what we are trying to articulate. Be aware, but not too conscious, of your body language while speaking.
No shame in seeking feedback
We can all be better in whatever we do, and the only way we can be better is by seeking and offering help. Ask for feedback on your communication skills from those whose opinion/ feedback matters to you and work on it in earnest.
What is your favorite hack on improving your communication skills? We’d love to know!