8 Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills
By Lorraine McKinney
While communication comes naturally to many college students, there are many others who just haven’t mastered the art of good communication, and they are not able to be heard and get their points across. If this sounds like you, we have put together a list of eight tips that will help to enhance your communication skills.
- Choose Your Words Wisely – Avoid speaking jargon or slang in conversations. Chances are, only a select group of people will understand, and your point will be lost in meaningless jargon. It is important to choose your words to ensure that you are able to convey what you truly mean. This is true in both oral and written communication.
- Use Podcasts – Many professors are encouraging students to use audio tapes and podcasts for developing their communication skills. This is a great way to be able to listen to numerous speakers and get a feel for their styles. You can listen to podcasts on any topic. Pay attention to how things are presented, and use the good things to create your own great communication style.
- Ask More Questions – Communication is a two-way street. If you aren’t asking questions and showing that you want to learn more, it could be taken as you not being interested. In order to communicate effectively, you need to ask questions. Questions lead to answers, and then more questions, and pretty soon you have that two-way communication working for you, and you are showing an interest in the other party.
- Listen More – This goes along with asking questions. You can ask a million and one questions, but if you aren’t listening to the answers, you may as well not be asking the questions in the first place. It isn’t enough to just be speaking in a conversation. You really need to hear what the other party is saying. Listen, and then ask questions based on what you are hearing. Again, it will show you are interested, and you will be seen as good communicator.
- Be Willing to Step Back – No matter what you may like to think, you are not always right, and you need to know when to step back, and be willing to do so. Stop trying to convince people that your way is the only way. You are not communicating at this point. This tip is also important for your future job, as some companies use performance management software to improve communication in teams.
- Have the Right Attitude – When it comes to good communication, it is important to have the right attitude. You need to show that you are confident in yourself and in your ability to communicate. It is also important that you learn how to communicate with a positive mindset. Not only will this improve your communication skills, it will help with all of your relationships in general.
- Use Good Judgement – Before you speak with someone, know what you want to achieve through that communication. When you use good judgement before speaking, it will make it a lot easier to know what to say and when to say it, as well as what not to say. This is going to help to prevent a lot of arguments, and your will be seen as a good communicator.
- Get Feedback – If you are unsure about your communication skills, ask others how you are doing. Talk to friends, family members, colleagues, etc. and ask them what they think about your communication skills. Remember, you are going to receive both positive and negative feedback, and you need to learn how to deal with the negative so you can turn it around into something positive.
Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist.