Communication is the core of civilization. It is what defined humanity’s exceptionalism when compared to other life forms of Earth. Therefore, in order to be a functioning and useful member of society, you need to hone your communications skills. As a matter of fact, you can easily argue it is the skill you are forced to perfect throughout your entire life if you want to stay ahead. That being said, it is not an arbitrary set of parameters. If you want to improve your life by improving your communication skills, you need to pay attention to very specific factors.
It begins with listening
You need at least one other person in front of you to perform communication. For it to commence, someone needs to start conveying information, and you should always let the other person begin. If you want to improve your communication skills, first you need to learn how to listen properly. It’s important to listen with both your ears and your eyes. It can be a cumbersome experience if you’re not used to doing both things at the same time, but this habit too is a “muscle” that will get stronger with training. By observing and listening carefully, you will assimilate necessary information, learn new things about the other person and leave a good impression – when you get into the habit of listening before talking, your companions will consider you empathetic.
The importance of body language
The nuances of speech are sometimes not sufficient enough to interpret the true meaning of what is being communicated, so you should never, in the immortal words of an iconic Disney character, underestimate the importance of body language. It is a crucial supplement to communication, and these cues will usually betray the truth that can be hidden behind words. You can always refer to that old example – if somebody talks to you with their arms crossed, it means they are defensive. In this world plagued with technology, if somebody is looking at their phone while you are talking to them, it means they find your words insignificant. Finally, even when not a single word is being uttered, the body language still continues to communicate volumes. So get into the habit of watching it closely and learn as much as you can about what the little ticks and blinks mean, no matter who’s expressing them.
Always try new things
If you are determined to improve your communication skills, you should always be willing to try out new things. Search for courses online on how to become better in your approach; you can learn about charisma, practices that teach both verbal and nonverbal communication, and being a certified NLP practitioner. Whatever serves as a tool that helps you become a better, more skillful communicator is a legitimate method, but you will not know what approach truly engages you until you try as many of them as you possibly can.
Get rid of the killer filler
Unnecessary fillers can kill conversation. They are the destroyers of consistency and bane of your perceived integrity. This is why you should really work hard on getting fillers out of your everyday speech. The important thing is to never let your guard down, don’t even give yourself a pass in totally informal situations. The key thing is to police yourself for the ah’s and um’s and never let them pass your lips. “Like” is probably the most prevalent and annoying filler word in the English language today. If, after you start ripping fillers out of your sentences, your speech becomes riddled with awkward pauses – good. It means you are on the track of becoming an efficient communicator. When you begin using words that exclusively add to the meaning of what you are trying to convey, you are guaranteed to become more confident and persuasive in your communication.
Learn how to say more with less
This is where we finally come to the “pro” level of skill you need to learn – saying more with less. When you are communicating, the information you are expressing will leave a much bigger impact. This is why the most sophisticated philosophers have become legendary for their quotes – they are usually short sentences that manage to strike the core of a particular idea with the minimal number of words. Be brief, be specific, and get to the point as fast as you can. Everyone will be grateful for that, most of all – you.
A crucial factor that put Homo sapiens on top of the food chain is the effective communication. Somehow, we have developed a sophisticated and efficient system to communicate the facts and ideas to each other. This is why you can call the “communication skill” the greatest tool that built civilization. If this does not convince you to develop your communication skills to improve your life, hardly anything else will.