Good communication skills are essential whether you want to receive messages in person or via other methods such as through email, telephone or social media. That’s why every industry requires their employees to be able to communicate effectively whether it’s with their superiors, colleagues or customers. Developing better communication skills can help students get hired, achieve promotions and be successful throughout their career.
To find out how you can improve your public speaking abilities and become a better communicator in a professional or personal setting, read on.
How to be a good speaker in a college or an office environment
- Speak slowly and use strategic pauses so that your audience can understand what you want to communicate to them;
- Be aware of your body language and maintain a good posture throughout verbal communication;
- Focus on the audience while speaking, maintain eye contact and encourage questions as your speech progresses;
- Write your speech using bullet points to make it easier for you to memorise;
- Record your oration using a video camera so you can review it. This will help you to understand the perspective of your audience;
- Try to make a good first impression by dressing appropriately.
Characteristics of a good communicator
- Active listener – Active listening is an essential component of effective communication. Try to give people the opportunity to speak their mind when communicating, while also listening to their tone, speed and volume carefully. Train yourself to avoid interrupting individuals in-between their sentences. Good listening skill is considered the key to building effective communication and relationships.
- Sociable – When you are interacting with people at a social gathering, try implementing both verbal and non-verbal gestures. Being patient and having a positive attitude at your workplace can help you build successful relationships in business. It is essential that you remember to speak politely to people and show respect towards an individual’s efforts, opinions and abilities. Paying compliments about the positive attributes of other people is an important aspect of maintaining business and personal relations.
- Organised – Good communicators prefer to organise what they want to communicate to others before they start speaking. They summarize their statements so that it is easy for listeners to understand. They will maintain clarity by not using ambiguous statements or jargon words which can be difficult for the listeners to relate to. They prefer to use an assertive and unwavering tone while speaking to ensure the audience understand and follow what they are saying.
- Open-mindedness –Good communicators try to empathise with people and understand what concerns them. They tend to take part in meaningful dialogues and can identify opportunities for collaboration during a conversation. They analyse the intended outcome of a conversation and keep the focus of a conversation on the topic.
How do you know you have good communication skills?
- You spend some of your time taking an interest in other people whether it be first thing on a Monday at work or on the weekend when meeting new people.
- You listen more than you speak. Some people become preoccupied with themselves and what they want to say. Good listeners will take the time to listen to what others have to say.
- You ask questions. This may not be appropriate if you are making a public speech. However, if you are in conversation with someone, it is good to ask questions to show that you have been listening to what they’ve been saying.
How to improve speaking skills
- Take up public speaking classes at a learning centre or college;
- Join a group or community that assists professionals to develop their public speaking skills;
- Practise your speaking in front of a mirror or a group of friends and ask for their feedback;
- Invest a considerable amount of time in doing your own research and preparing a speech, before a big event;
- Learn about the type of audience (or attendees) that you will be engaging with and tailor your speech accordingly;
- Use tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint to make an effective presentation and keep your speech entertaining;
- Pay attention to the techniques used by professionals when attending conferences and workshops;
- Try acquiring new ideas by watching your own presentations and of those who are good at public speaking;
- Avoid overusing fillers (“um”, “uh”, “er”, “ah”, “like”, “okay”, “right” and “you know”);
- Feel free to move around a little and take deep breaths in between sentences in your speech, as a way to relax your mind;
- Practice articulation to master the art of speaking loudly and clearly;
- End your speech with a call to action so that the audience has something to take away from your presentation.
Effective communication is considered the key to helping an individual feel like a natural speaker when addressing a room full of people. You can also develop effective communication skills by learning from your past public speaking experiences.
To find out more about techniques to improve communication skills, click here.