Every single day we all engage in some form of communication, be it verbal, non-verbal, or written, and sometimes we need a reminder of how important communication is, that we shouldn’t take it for granted and what we can do to improve our own skill set. Being an effective communicator can have very positive effects on your social life, marriage, and your career. In this context we will explore a few tips to increase your communication skills to benefit you at work, in a job interview, and beyond.
Be a Good Listener
Focus on what is being said instead of waiting to speak. This takes practices, but it will go a long way in an interview and work. Your boss and coworkers will feel more respected and you may just learn something!
Think Before You Speak
This is probably something your parents told you when you were a kid, but it’s important, especially in an interview. Think carefully about what is being asked, make sure you consider the implications your words will have. In an interview, also think about your delivery before you speak; do you want your tone to be flat and emotionless? Do you need to convey enthusiasm in your response? Are you smiling or frowning? It seems like a lot at the time but make time to remind yourself of this before an interview to prime yourself to think of these things. It is amazing what your brain processes in the background.
Be a Mirror
To show the person you are speaking with that you are respectfully listening and are in tune with what they are saying, be a mirror and share their ideas back to them. This helps validate their position and gains you respect as a good listener. Once your bounced their own idea back at them, it’s your turn to speak.
Watch Their Body Language
When you are speaking you should be observing the body language of the person or people around you. This can give clues if you need to adjust your speech pattern to make yourself more engaging, or if you need to wrap up your point to let someone else speak or wrap up a meeting.
Keep Your Cool
This is a big one. Keep yourself in control if the issue you are communicating about gets heated for any reason. Keeping a grip on your words, body language, and tone, while listening to the other person can be a challenge, but it will make you the bigger person and you will learn a lot about the person you are dealing with. If someone blows up in your face, listen, wait, and respond in a cool, calm, and collected manner. This will go a long way.
Asking questions can show the person you are communicating with that you are interested in what they are saying, or that you are interested in the topic you may be discussing. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a question when you are being interviewed, so long as they are thought out. Your future employer may perceive this as a strength, that you are trying to get as much context and information about the question you are being asked to answer.
The more you read the more you will learn, and the more subtleties of communication you may pick up. Reading books, news stories, magazine articles and blogs, will not only give you more to talk about with coworkers but will also help you with your verbal written communication as you are more exposed to (hopefully) proper grammar and potentially new words. Reading quick blogs like this are great refreshers!
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