BY JIMMY POPWORTH
Communication is the most vital life skill you can master as a student. With the changing career landscapes, digital advancements, and stiff competition in both colleges and workplaces, having effective interpersonal skills becomes a must.
Cramming tips at the eleventh hour before your big interview isn’t going to work if you wish to make an impression in the job market. Fortunately, as a student, there’s no better time than the present to acquire essential communication skills.
That is why we’ll be talking about seven crucial soft skills you must master now. They will not only help you in your academic career but also make way for success in the long run.
7 Effective communication skills
Here’s a list of 7 effective interpersonal skills worth mastering as a student:
1. Body language
In any interaction, your body language will speak volumes before you even say a word. Your facial expression, how you stand, and your eyes depict a story, and all these will establish how others think of you.
Irrespective of what you say, if you don’t seem friendly and confident, people are going to assume that you aren’t. So be aware of your body language and start making necessary changes.
Always look in the eye when you speak to others. Offer warm hugs (with family and friends) or firm handshakes. Don’t slouch, keep your head high, shoulders back and stand straight.
If you develop a strong body language, you’ll appear more confident and approachable. In doing so, People are more likely to have a good impression of you and trust your words.
So whenever you’re speaking with friends or giving a speech at school or college, maintain the right body language. In the future, it will help you build healthy friendships both at the workplace and your personal life.
2. Active listener
Effective communication skills aren’t just about how you talk or use your body language. It’s about how focused you are while listening to others.
In fact, being a good listener will help you improve your social interactions and relationships. It will also enhance your ability to persuade, influence and negotiate.
When you become an active listener, you’ll have a better interpretation of what messages others are meaning to tell you. It will stop you from getting distracted and demand your focus on the speaker.
Also, you can use your body language to demonstrate that you’re listening by smiling and nodding appropriately. Offer thoughtful comments and feedback.
You can practice this skill during a lecture or while interacting with friends. Once you’ve learned it, it’ll become second nature.
3. Knowledge and clarity
When you’re sharing information and ideas to a group or while having a casual talk, it’s important to be clear and precise in your presentation. And that is only possible when you have the right knowledge.
Do a thorough study in advance and organize your ideas logically. Make sure to use concepts and language that your audience will understand.
Stay away from unnecessary fluff or jargon, and have a clear message. The more clarity and knowledge you have on your topic, the more confident you’ll appear. This will make your audience more active and interested in your message.
4. The tone of voice and articulation
How you sound while speaking is one of communication’s most essential elements. If you slur your words, mumble, speak too softly, or use fillers like “um”, “ah” or “like”, your listener will have a hard time interpreting your message. Poor speaking ability also displays a lack of knowledge and confidence.
Practice proper articulation and enunciation of your words. You can do this by recording your voice to hear the quality and tone.
Setting the right tone will decide the direction of your conversation. If you interact in an unfriendly or aggressive manner, your listener will reciprocate the same.
For example, during an interview, being confident in your communication skills will give you an edge and set you apart from other candidates. By speaking confidently and precisely, and asking propping questions, your prospective employers will consider you as a very well-rounded applicant.
5. Emotional intelligence
It means the ability to interpret, understand, and manage your emotions accordingly. It helps you in avoiding conflicts, empathizing with others, overcoming challenges, and most importantly, in communicating effectively.
You can enhance your emotional intelligence by observing non-verbal signals while communicating with others, like their facial expressions or body language.
Once you learn to notice such signs, you’ll become more empathetic as it will help you understand what your listener is going through. It will also build stronger bonds with others as they’ll feel like they have been heard.
People can easily detect affected behavior and phoniness a mile away. So, when you try to put on a facade or pretend like someone else, it’ll turn them off immediately.
People are more interested in someone who is transparent, original and genuine and speaks from their heart. When you are authentic, you aren’t afraid of showing your true self to others, irrespective of your flaws.
While it may be uncomfortable at first, you can start by defining what you value and who you really are. You cannot create intimacy or connection if you don’t open up or build walls around you.
So, don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability and speak from your heart so that others can relate to you.
7. Ask great questions
Asking great questions is the best way to know your listener better. It helps you in engaging more deeply into the conversation and in learning more about them.
Open-ended questions invite intimate connection and dialog as it makes your audience feel heard and compels them to share more about themselves. It also encourages others to talk about certain circumstances in a more detailed manner.
This ensures that you achieve your goal and get the information you needed from the person. Because it requires more than a two-word answer, open-ended questions are crucial for productive discussions and shows that there are various ways to interpret and respond to certain matters.
To be an effective communicator, you’ll have to put in the work and effort. Communication is nothing but skill and therefore if you keep practicing, you’ll become better at it.
Possessing impeccable interpersonal skills will help you in every aspect of your life. Review these seven skills and try to incorporate them into every social interaction.
As a student, it’ll help you excel in academic life and prepare you for the future. Especially if you happen to work in the business field, acquiring excellent communication skills will help build your brand successfully in the long run.
Jimmy Popworth is an online journalist, writer and web developer with an Associates Degree in Applied Science. His writing style is both informative and witty, and his tastes are eclectic.