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Tips for Improving Your Communication Skills

While technology has come to improve almost every aspect of our lives, there are some areas where special attention from the individual remains an absolute necessity. When it comes to communicating, are you often asked to clarify what you are saying? When sending inter-office memos, do you receive lots of questions for additional information to be included? Are there many puzzled or disengaged looks given when you’re speaking to a group?

For many of us, we may live under the assumption that our ideas are being properly conveyed because ‘we’ understand what we’re saying. However, when it comes to effective communication, it’s important to ensure that others can also understand the heart of what we are communicating so that they are able to successfully move forward with ideas, suggestions, or actions accordingly.

Here are a few tips to help beef up your communication skills:

Listening with active focus is a must. It’s important that people know you are listening to what they are saying, rather than formulating your response before they’ve had the opportunity to fully convey their message. Think you can respond to an email while listening to a phone conversation? Many people can tell that your focus has been drawn elsewhere, made evident by long pauses, or failing to respond to remarks or inquiries that you’ve missed while redirecting your attention to other tasks. Always resolve to provide your full attention to the conversation at hand, without exception.

Review written communication prior to pressing ‘send’. While spelling and grammar checkers are a must, they are not foolproof. Some parts of speech are notorious for mixing us up and slipping through our radar. Remember that when ‘there’ are common grammatical tricksters in your sentences, ‘they’re’ not always going to make it easy to spot ‘their’ trickery. Also keep in mind that when using voice-to-text, it is prudent to ensure that no stray or inaccurate words sneak through into your outgoing message. Always review every communication prior to pressing “send”.

Be brief—yet specific. With all the information we’re bombarded with each day, attention spans have shortened considerably. Be sure not to ramble on or include information that is not pertinent to the topic at hand. When responding to emails, be sure you’ve read the entire email prior to formulating your response, and make certain that you’ve answered each line item or inquiry woven throughout. It can be frustrating when a string of emails has gone back and forth to answer a single question that could have been addressed in your initial communication.

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