Let's Talk Communication Skills

When entering a new place of work, one of the first things that people will notice about you is how well you communicate. Verbal or non-verbal, you have to be on your toes when making first impressions. Understandably, it’s not always going to be easy to achieve this because your levels of confidence may be suffering or some days you might feel stressed or anxious, hindering any exchanges you have. However, these tips are designed to help you overcome that and ultimately aims to improve your communication skills.

Non-verbal communication is just as important as your actual verbal skills and you need to get these right to avoid awkward first impressions. Follow these tips to make sure this side of your communication doesn’t let you down:

  • Remember to keep regular eye contact with the person you’re speaking to. Make it look as if you’re really listening to the person you’re speaking to and that you’re genuinely interested because even if you’re not, it might be important information that you’ll need later. However, make sure you don’t stare at the person, you don’t want to come across as too intense.
  • Body language is vital when communicating with those around you. If you want to come across as open then avoid crossing your arms, looking away and fidgeting with things. Ask yourself whether you do these things alongside slouching, talking with your head down, talking quietly or staying as far away as possible to the person you’re talking to. If you find yourself doing these things, try and get out of the habit of doing them.
  • Even little things like facial expressions and small gestures leave a lasting impression and can affect the way you communicate so make sure you keep your eye on your reactions and responses to other people as they’ll be examining your face and emotional response to what they’ve just told you.
  • Reinforce and encourage others you’re speaking to by smiling or nodding your head. It takes away any nervousness within the conversation and shows enthusiasm towards it too.

Watching your day to-day communication is vitally important, it’s the key to being a great leader, employee and delegator. If you feel like you need to improve your everyday communication, follow these steps and watch your skills improve greatly:

  • One way to show that you’ve been listening is to ask questions frequently. Open or close, asking questions is a good way of showing interest in what you’re discussing and is especially useful in meetings or conference calls for example.
  • Another way of making sure your verbal communication is effective is whether you annunciate clearly so people can understand you. Indeed, you may have a strong accent and you mustn’t get rid of that as it’s important to your own identity. However, while at work, try and cut any colloquial words and pronounce words properly to avoid any miscommunications.
  • Using anecdotes is always a good call when speaking to other people. Whether it be during a presentation or when explaining to another colleague, the use of stories personalises the conversation and makes you more approachable.
  • Get rid of utterances and fillers such as ‘erm’, ‘urr’, ‘hmm’ and ‘ah’. If you take these out of your everyday speech, you’re bound to come across as much more confident, professional and straightforward. 
  • Be empathetic when speaking to others. Sometimes, you won’t know their background or what’s going on in their life so you need to try and be understanding in regards to their issues etc. Put yourself in their shoes and be patient!
  • Really listen to the things that are being told to you. Don’t just hear these things, you have to be able to recall the information and ask questions about the information just told to you.
  • Remember to remain enthusiastic when talking to your colleagues, they’re constantly scrutinising your working performance so the best idea would be to come across as excited about your job. 

Of course, this isn’t something that changes overnight and it may take some time to develop these skills but with practise and a good mind set, you’ll easily get there!

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