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Training to Improve your Communication Skills

Training to Improve Your Communication Skills

Training to Improve Your Communication Skills

Here are nine ways you can improve your communication skills:

  1. Drop any poor "speech habits" and replace them with improved versions.
  2. Select specific words, rather than general words.
  3. Reduce the amount you say and ask more questions.
  4. Listen to others intently when they answer you.
  5. Use a voice tone that is slightly louder, deeper, slower and more musical than the average.
  6. Animate your body language, but never point at anyone.
  7. Dress so that you are tidier and smarter than the group average.
  8. Never swear, shout or verbally abuse anyone; always be polite.
  9. Every day for half an hour, read aloud to yourself, and practice your voice control.

1. Drop any poor "speech habits" and replace them with improved versions.

We all have speech habits. Some make us sound good, others make us sound foolish.

Listen to how you habitually express yourself and notice any poor speech habits you may have picked up.

For example, many people use the work, "like" as a gap-filler.

Other people swear, and they don't even know they are doing it.

Your task is to identify, eliminate and replace any poor speech habits with superior alternatives.

Listen to people who you regard as good communicators, note how they use vocabulary and pick out some favourite expressions and make them yours.

2. Select specific words, rather than vague words.

Language can be split into two basic types. Specific and vague.

Whenever you have a choice, favour the use of specific vocabulary over vague.

For example, "He looked smart." can be replaced with "He was dressed in a dark blue suit and white shirt." and "He was selfish." can be replaced with "He made himself a drink and did not ask if anyone else wanted one."

3. Reduce the amount you say and ask more questions.

Quality is more important than quantity. It is better to say a few terrific things, than to spew out a lot of garbage.

Fools often talk too much.

Wise people listen more than they speak, and they ask more questions.

4. Listen to others intently when they answer you.

When you ask questions, listen intently to what others say.

You don't have to agree, and you don't have to like what they say, but you should at least listen.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and it could be that this person will say something that you have never thought of.

Since nobody knows everything, it can pay you big dividends to listen.

5. Use a voice tone that is slightly louder, deeper, slower and more musical than the average.

People judge you on your voice. If you sound like an educated person, people will assume you are educated. Likewise, if you sound like an ignorant person, then people will assume you to be ignorant.

It is important to note your voice quality and make some fine adjustments when necessary. To be more specific:

  • to sound more confident, speak slightly louder,
  • to sound more measured, speak slightly slower.
  • to sound more authoritative, speak slightly deeper,
  • so sound more interesting, speak with musical variation.

6. How can I improve my body language?

People make a lot of judgements about you based upon your body language. So, be more aware of your body language.

Think about how you may improve any combination of the following factors:

  • Posture.
  • Handshake.
  • Hand gestures.
  • Arm gestures.
  • Eye contact.
  • Facial expression.
  • Orientation.
  • Smell or scent.
  • Hair, nails and grooming.
  • Dress code (see below).

7. Dress so that you are tidier and smarter than the group average.

Your dress and overall appearance says a lot about you. Think about how you judge others by their appearance, whether they look "good" according to your standards of what represents "good."

There is no one right way to dress, since it depends on the social context and the nature of the job. But our specific advice is be contextually tidy.

Be tidier and better groomed than the others in the room.

8. Never swear, shout or verbally abuse anyone; always be polite.

As previously mentioned, how you speak makes all the difference to how the content of your message is received.

It is not enough to have good content, you must also develop a good style.

Here are some cardinal rules.

  • Never swear.
  • Never shout.
  • Never verbally abuse anyone.
  • Always be polite.

9. Every day for half an hour, read aloud to yourself, and practice your voice control.

It is impossible to fake an improved style. The new style must really be you. How can you make the new you, the real you?

By reading.

Read aloud every day.

Read as if you were a TV newsreader and your job was to sound authoritative, professional, approachable and knowledgeable.

Read, read, read.

Slowly but surely, you will begin to adopt new speech habit patterns, which are an improvement on your current programming.

And you can continue to improve until you have achieved your communication goals.

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