Everybody in any profession needs good communication skills. If you would want to see an improvement in your ability to communicate with other people, here are some tips you could start with:
- Know the different facets of communication. Communication comes in different forms: there’s interpersonal communication, presentation skills, public speaking, business communication, non-verbal communication, and written communication among others.
- Know which area you would need improvement on. What forms of communication do you most need improvement in? You may start first by sitting down and analyzing what you usually do everyday. Are you a car salesman? Then you definitely engage in interpersonal communication, presentation skills and non-verbal communication on a daily basis. Next, ask a trusted friend if he could pretend to be a customer and listen as you do your sales pitch. Afterwards, ask him to give comments about your presentation: Did you use words that were clear to him? Was your voice appealing? What was the general impression that you gave off as you gave your pitch? You may also ask another friend to record that situation on video, and then later on you may analyze yourself with a critical eye. You may also consult a professional communications coach to have him analyze your communications skill and give you tips to improve it.
- Enroll in communication courses. After you consider what aspect of communication you need most help on, and after determining what your areas for improvement are, you could consider enrolling in communication courses at your local community college. These courses should offer not just theories on communication in general, but also practical tips that would help you improve in your ability to communicate with people. You could opt to talk to your instructor to ask if he offers one-on-one consultations. This will enable you to get feedback specific to your needs and situation.
- Take a communication test. A communication test can help you gain an understanding of your communication shortcomings from a more technical and methodological perspective. You may ask your office’s human resource officer (or if you’re a student, your school guidance counselor) if they have these tests, and then ask them for their professional advice on how to improve your communication skills based on the test results that you got.
- Read books that would help you improve your communication skills. There are so many books/online resource materials out there that could help you improve your communication. Once you’ve thoroughly assessed your condition (see numbers #1, 2 and 4), you could narrow down the resource materials that you would need. Be aware that there have been so many breakthroughs in the study of communication that the simple rule of “smile!” doesn’t quite cut it anymore. For example, expect to learn intricacies such as how big your smile should be depending on who you are dealing with (a friend, your boss, or a customer); how you could get a customer to feel like you are an old friend; which parts of the face you should look at (never remain focused on the eyes!) and how you should break your gaze; etc. All this information may seem a little intimidating at first, but as you get to know more of them and you begin to practice, the bits of advice would tend to work in conjunction with one another, and you’ll be learning to integrate them more easily and comfortably into your daily life.
These are just some tips to help you get started improving your communication skills. Remember that communication is a skill you apply as long as you are alive, and so it is a wise investment to learn how to be as effective at it as possible. Good luck!