It’s a fact that almost every job requires you to communicate with others on some level and to build working relationships that can have a huge impact on your working life. Therefore, it can be said that being able to communicate effectively is critical to a successful career.
Improving your verbal communication skills is a simple ‘quick win’ that could help to propel your career forward and benefit your everyday work.
Below is a list of tips that you can easily follow, inside and outside of work, that will improve your communication skills:
1. Get involved and be relatable
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of office chit-chat, however your involvement in everyday, personal conversations can boost your likeability and help you to build really good working relationships with your colleagues or team.
Make an effort to join in; share things about yourself, ask about your colleagues’ lives. Something as simple as talking about what you did at the weekend is a great opportunity to bond with your fellow workers, which will in turn make communication easier in the long-term. This is particularly important for leaders and managers who may naturally find themselves more detached from the individuals in their team.
2. Listen up!
This is undeniably one of the most important ways of improving your communication skills. You’ll find that the strongest communicators are usually the best listeners as well. Listening is important in understanding other people and their views. If you listen properly, you will be able to offer a better and more meaningful response. It’s also a lot easier to communicate with someone who trusts you, and showing that you are listening is a good way to build that trust.
Every person is different and is, therefore, likely to prefer to communicate in a different way. Try to observe how others in your team prefer to communicate and match their style when working with them. This will help you to work well together and achieve better results.
4. Pay attention
When engaging in communication with others, be sure to give them your full attention at all times. Put down the tablet, smartphone or laptop, that email (or that hilarious picture on Facebook) can wait! You should offer your colleagues your full focus when you’re talking with them to ensure that you are able to work with them effectively and make them feel valued.
5. Laughter is the best medicine
Making people laugh is a great way to open up communication with your other team members. Humour can help to lighten the mood and diffuse a tense atmosphere while still getting your point across. It’s also a great way for your colleagues to get to know you better as a person. However, remember to be appropriate – try not to go overboard or to offend anyone!
6. Respond quickly
Try to be responsive to everyone that you work with. Make an effort to answer questions and return phone calls as quickly as you can. If you can’t provide an answer or a solution right away, make sure you inform whoever you are liaising with – it’s much better to keep someone in the loop than to leave them hanging! This will make others think positively of you and you are likely to be rewarded with benefits like introductions, referrals and recommendations.
7. Use analogies
Using an analogy to simplify a situation or concept is great way to be a more effective communicator. Analogies can help to provide clarity and put everyone on the same page. This then helps to create a united vision and ensures that the whole team are aware of the expectations.
8. Repeat, repeat, repeat…
When making a presentation or partaking in a team meeting, try to cleverly repeat and reinforce your key points to make them memorable. Be sure to do this is a natural way, for example by returning to the key point at the end of an argument or at the end of that section of your presentation. Also, try to rephrase yourself or explain your point in a different way rather than simply repeating the same words over and over again – this will help keep your audience engaged.
9. Take note
When communicating with others either over the phone or in a meeting, it is really useful to make notes that you can refer back to later because your memory is not always reliable. This can be really valuable when acting on the outcomes of your conversation.
10. Just ask
When something is unclear or whilst making decisions, it’s tempting to make assumptions about what others have said or done, or interpretations about what they are thinking. This can be risky and you can never be sure that you are right. Sometimes it is better to just ask outright what they are thinking especially in more complex scenarios. Having their perspective, and making them feel like their opinions or actions are respected, will lead to better communication moving forward.
With these 10 tips, you will surely improve your verbal communication skills and build some lasting working relationships.