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How to Improve Your Communication Skills So That When You Speak, People Understand

listening and speaking

Effective communication is a learned skill. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it.

“Just say what you mean!”

Sounds simple, right?

But effective communication is far from simple. All too often, we try to communicate one thing, but the other person hears a completely different thing.

It can be frustrating and counterproductive.

Effective communication is a learned skill. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. The more effort you put into it, the better your communication with others becomes.

Learning to improve your communication skills will help you to connect to people. It makes you a better team worker, problems solver, and decision maker. It even aids you when you have to relate negative or difficult messages to others.

While effective communication involves speaking as well as listening, in this article, we will be concentrating on improving the speaking aspect of this skill.

How to Speak So That Others Understand

Improve your communication skills by:

Getting rid of unnecessary distractions

If you want to avoid conveying wrong ideas or minimal persuasiveness, you have to nix the distractions. First, put your cell phone down, set your tablet aside, or turn off the TV while speaking with others. Second, think before you talk, so that your words flow smoothly. A lot of Um’s and Ah’s, jerky and slurred speech, or stumbling over words make it hard for others to keep their minds from wandering.

Staying brief and specific

Keep it simple, speak clearly and eloquently, and don’t rush. Arrange your thoughts about what you want to say logically and orderly. Try to express yourself in a way that others will quickly grasp the meaning of your words. Instead of jargon and overly complicated expressions, use plain language. The easier your words are to understand, the easier your listener will get the point. If you use illustrations or stories, make sure they contribute to the objective of what you are saying.

Speaking spontaneously, not in formulaic ways

Be yourself – genuine and sincere. Speak enthusiastically and from the heart, conveying the emotions you’re feeling in a conversational manner. When you improve your communication skills in this aspect, you will help your listener to be more receptive to what you’re saying. Enthusiasm will also help you hold their interest and may rouse them to take action.

Being tactful yet assertive

Being assertive doesn’t mean being aggressive, hostile, or demanding. It means to express your feelings, thoughts and needs with conviction and respect. While you should value yourself and your own opinion, remaining tactful will help you to avoid needlessly offending others. Even when you have to address problems, staying respectful will incline your listener to keep an open mind. Be careful not to come across as judgmental and overreact when they raise an objection.

Displaying empathy and thoughtfulness

Keep your listener’s perspective in mind and consider how they may feel about what you’re saying. Don’t be judgmental, but try to see things from their point of view. Adjust what you’re saying accordingly. Tailor your words. Account for differences in culture, attitude, ability, or past experience. It will make them feel truly valued and understood.

Read more on how to speak to a loved one suffering from emotional and physical pain.

Keeping a positive and kind attitude

Smile. Do your best to stay cheerful, friendly, and optimistic. To make your listener feel welcome, valued, and wanted, don’t talk down to them. Offer encouragement and praise whenever possible. Be constructive and build trust and respect. Stay focused on talking about things that can improve a situation, instead of complaining.

Paying attention to your non-verbal communication

Improve your communication skills by considering carefully what signals you’re sending with your body language, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, or tone of voice. Your non-verbal signals can have a powerful impact. They should match and reinforce your words, not contradict them. That will only lead to misunderstandings.

Read more tips and information on how active listening skills can improve your relationship. Or contact a licensed counselor at Eddins Counseling Group for information. To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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