** This article was updated in June 2020**
Although many of us can easily communicate with others in one way or another, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the perfect communicator. In fact, good communication is something that can be difficult to get right.
Whether you’re carrying out a presentation to thousands of customers, having a one-to-one chat with a friend, writing an email to a client, or taking a phone call with your manager, knowing how to get your message across and listen effectively to others is a crucial skill.
Equally important is the ability to listen and understand what’s being said, and to be able to actively listen when someone is communicating with you.
This article explains why being a good communicator is important and shares some steps that you can follow to improve your communication skills.
Why is being a good communicator important?
Whether you’re just entering the job market or have spent the last few years climbing the corporate ladder, having good professional communication skills is important.
Here are just a few reasons why having good professional communication skills are so important:
- Make sure your message gets across to colleagues, managers, suppliers and customers clearly, whilst avoiding any misunderstandings.
- Capture people’s attention and keep it, which is important if you’re hosting a meeting or running a presentation.
- Pick the right communication method to suit the specific situation.
- Use your skills to stand out from the crowd which can help you move your way up the career ladder as being a good communicator is a valuable skill to employers.
Communication skills in the age of remote working
Even if you’re working from home, you need to make sure your communication skills are up to scratch. In fact, honing your communication skills is even more important in an environment where you’re not working face-to-face with your colleagues, as getting something clarified isn’t as simple as popping over to your co-worker’s desk. Instead, you need to make sure that every phone call, email or instant message contains the right information that will help you and your colleagues get the job done without too many confusing back and forth interactions.
How can you improve your professional communication skills?
Whether you struggle with communication or just want to brush up on your existing skills, these six key tips can help you:
1. Ask for honest feedback
One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to regularly ask for feedback. This could be from members of your team and managers. Constructive criticism can be difficult to listen to, but it’s extremely valuable as it gives you something to focus on and work towards improving.
2. Learn from others
Learning from other people is a great way to develop your own communication skills. Perhaps there is someone at work that you consider a good communicator? Watch how they present to a roomful of people or listen to how they talk on a phone call.You may be able to pick up some tips that you can try yourself. Alternatively, you could watch TED Talks by effective leaders and think about their specific verbal and non-verbal communication styles.
3. Practice makes perfect
To improve your communication skills, you need to practice. If you’re nervous about standing up and talking in front of a room full of people, for example, consider doing more public speaking. Over time, you will get over your nerves and your presentation technique will improve. This can apply to all other communication methods too.
4. Listen more
Communicating isn’t just about your written communication or verbal communication. A good communicator will be good at actively listening to others. Not only does this make other people feel that their opinion matters, but it means you will be able to respond more effectively. It also gives you the opportunity to hear their knowledge and ideas, which can be extremely valuable, especially as a leader.
5. Notice non-verbal communication
Non-verbal communication can often say a lot more than words. Therefore, if you want to be a great communicator, it’s important to consider things like body language. Think about how you stand when you talk, what you’re doing with your hands, what facial expressions you’re making and remember to always make eye contact.
6. Take a course with Open Colleges
Become a better communicator with the help of Open Colleges Professional Communications Short Course. This will give you the tools you need to communicate professionally in business. It will help you interpret body language, manage emotions, understand how to actively listen, use formal and formal language and get your message across in the right way.
Becoming a good communicator might not come naturally to you, but it’s a skill you can learn and develop over time. By following these tips and improving your skills, you will see benefits that will continue to help you throughout your career.