“Communication works for those who work at it.” - John Powell
Communication is a process of exchanging information, ideas, and feelings through verbal, non-verbal, written or visual expression. Below are reasons on why you should work on becoming a better communicator.
Good communication skills are extremely beneficial in many facets of life, from establishing connections to collaborating in the workplace. When asked what skills young people should focus on, Warren Buffet responded with “the one easy way to become worth 50% more than you are now is to hone your communication skills–both written and verbal. If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark–nothing happens. You can have all the brainpower in the world, but you have to be able to transmit it.”
How to improve your communication skills
1. Be an engaged listener
• Pay close attention to what the other person is saying
• Ask open questions. (Ex. Can you tell me about…”).
• Recap what the other person said. (Ex. “So, what you’re saying is…”).
2. Be aware of your own and the other person’s nonverbal signals
• Read and use body language
• Maintain eye contact
• Hand gestures
• Use firm and friendly tone to exude confidence
• Smile and display positive attitude
• Have a relaxed and open posture
3. Think before you speak
• Speak clearly and directly by using as few words as possible
• Use simple and easy to understand words
• Pay attention to what you say and how you say it by making intentional language choices
4. Take notes
• Ensure nothing is forgotten by writing things down
• Send a follow-up or recap email to reduce miscommunication in the workplace
Being a better communicator takes practice and must be exercised repeatedly, much like gaining muscle. The good news, anyone who puts in the work can radically improve their communication skills.