It’s not easy improving your communication skills.
Talking a lot doesn’t improve your verbal abilities. Writing a bunch of emails is not something you put on your development plan if you want to enhance this attribute. Performing these tasks can only take you so far.
When you’re given feedback about needing to improve your communication skills, knowing how to go about it can be challenging. If you’re determined to improve these abilities, try these techniques to help you get better.
Tips for Improving Your Verbal Skills
Your verbal communication skills are more than just talking a lot or contributing to meetings. It can be the words that you use. It’s how you influence and negotiate with stakeholders. It’s also how you respond. Before developing these abilities, determine where you want to focus your attention, then follow these steps.
It might seem odd to have listening as a tip to improve your communication skills. But it’s a vital one. When you keep your mouth closed, you can hear the words and tones people use. You also get to learn from others.
You’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t. How do other leaders get results with people? Stop and listen to how they frame things and get their point across. You can then utilise these abilities with the same people or similar stakeholders.
Practice in Front of Large Groups
If you need to work on your confidence in speaking to large groups, then there is only one thing you need to do. Practice talking in front of teams of people.
Start small with people you’re comfortable with and slowly increase the number of participants. The more you do this, the faster your confidence will grow.
Some meetings in your organisation might not have permanent hosts. It could be a morning scrum or business update. If there is an opportunity to run these types of sessions, then put your hand up for it.
These meetings generally have a set agenda. The repetition of the structure can help you get comfortable with speaking. As you grow in confidence, you’ll be able to start playing with the format and be ready to use your communication skills in other areas of your role.
Tips for Improving Your Written Skills
Enhancing your writing skills might seem easier for many people. Particularly introverts. It requires a different type of development and an understanding that not everyone will read your words the same way. Context is everything. Use these tips to become a better writer.
You don’t just gain knowledge from reading. You can also learn new ways of speaking using the written word. It doesn’t have to be a leadership or business book. It can be your favourite genre.
Review the sentence structure. Look at the beats. Your writing should only contain the words that are relevant. It’s what will keep your reader engaged. Just like your favourite book did.
Keep it Simple
We all skim emails. It takes too long to read paragraph after paragraph of what you have to do. Less is more. Consider this when constructing an email to your team, manager, or other stakeholders.
Keep it simple and remove jargon, especially if it’s going to a broad audience. For example, not everyone knows what ASA means if you’re in a contact centre. Use other terms people are familiar with, like average wait time or average length of time to speak to a consultant.
Check Your Tone
It can come through in your words when you’re a little heated about something. Before you hit the send button, save your email to your drafts. Walk away from your desk and cool down.
Once your head is clear, return to your email and review the contents. Ask yourself how you would feel if you received it. Work on softening the email and ensuring the tone is professional while making your point.
Start Enhancing Your Communication Skills
Don’t sleep on your communication skills. They are how you interact with your direct reports, colleagues, and stakeholders. Look for ways you can improve and take steps to enhance them. They will not only help you in your current role but in future positions too.
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