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How to improve your communication skills?

Although they are often not given the importance they deserve, having good communication skills communication skills is as important as taking care of any technical competence in a certain area. At the UIE we always instill in our students the importance of being good communicators. We may have wonderful ideas and projects, but communication skills will be what will allow us to defend them or establish negotiations around them. Furthermore, it is a vital tool to be able to manage any situation (professional or non-professional) and to establish good contacts (clients, suppliers, collaborators, workers, colleagues, etc.).

Since this is a key aspect, which marks a differential value in any professional, in this post we show you how you can improve your communication skills.

What are communication skills?

It could be said that communication skills are contained within the framework of soft skills. They are defined as the capacity or set of capacities that provide effective communication and have increasing importance in selection processes and professional growth.
Now, you may be wondering what effective communication is. It is that which occurs when a message is shared (by any means) and is well understood.

Every message has a purpose; if the sender conveys it well, the receptor recieves it without this purpose being altered. Thus, the purpose of the message if perfectly fulfilled. This is communicating effectively.

It seems like a something simple, but how many times do doubts, confusions, misinterpretations and even conflicts occur due to poor communication management? Communication skills are precisely the fundamental tool used to solve these problems and, therefore, improve social relationships of all kinds (including professional ones).

Why should you improve your communication skills?

Have you ever heard of the power of words? Well, it is true, words (both spoken and written) are tools with which we can construct speeches  that have the capacity to convince, induce, inform or move.

Therefore, communication skills have a key strategic importance and within our academic model we consider them a fundamental part of your comprehensive training. This makes more sense when we contextualize it in an era as communicative as the 21st century, where our communication skills are tested at all times.

However, it should be noted that communication is not restricted to words alone (we repeat, both oral and written). Your body also communicates through non-verbal communication. Body language often reveals more information than the words themselves.

As you can see, communication skills are a broad field, which involves mastery of verbal and non-verbal language. Everything, absolutely everything, communicates. Hence you need to apply strategies to improve your interpersonal communications.

 

How can you improve your communication skills?

We enter the key section of this article: communication skills training. It is not an exact science that is learned based on studying a certain methodology. Effective communication is a skill that only improves with practice.

However, there are a series of guidelines, rules and strategies that can help you communicate better and develop more optimal communication skills.

Listening is key.

The main mistake we make when we try to communicate is not listening to our interlocutor and focusing solely on our communicative speech. This is an error that we must correct to improve communication.

To understand each other, communication is a bidirectional act. That is, the flow of information occurs in two directions. There is a sender and a receptor of the message, but they change their role constantly.

To be good communicators, we must listen calmly and attentively to all the information that our interlocutor intends to give us. As a result of this, the communicative context will be clearer, our sender will feel valued and the communicative flow will become more fluid.

Ask questions

This strategy is related to the previous one. A question is a very powerful weapon that reveals information to us about some aspect. In addition, it helps you clarify any type of doubt and ensure that the message meets its true purpose.

A good communicator masters the art of questioning, because he knows that questions can redirect a conversation, interrupt a tense point, or better understand the intentions of the interlocutor.

Communicate with a clear purpose in mind

It is not necessary to talk a lot, but rather to convey the message in an effective way.. Therefore, before speaking, we have to be clear about what we want to communicate. In addition, many times the receptor can get lost if the message is hidden in a phrase or a pompous speech. It is worth communicating a few ideas, but efficiently, rather than trying to cover a lot and not having our speech understood.

A good trick to improve this aspect is to read a lot and varied; reading is one of the greatest stimuli for our mind and is directly related to our communicative ability.

Keep eye contact

Many people are not able to keep eye contact when they speak, and this is a fundamental point to communicate properly. The eyes speak and establishing eye contact reveals trust and confidence..
It is not about constantly looking at your interlocutor, simply using eye contact to accompany your speech with your eyes and be able to receive feedback.

The most important thing about eye contact is that you are aware that it is an important part of non-verbal communication and that its correct use can make you a great communicator.

Pay attention to your non-verbal communication.

All you need is a mirror to train this skill. As we have mentioned before, our body transmits a lot of information (according to experts, 90% of communication is non-verbal). In this way, you should observe yourself and polish your way of gesturing.

Ideally, with practice, you will become aware of the gestures you make and analyze what they transmit. Once this is done, discard those that do not work in your favor and enhance those others that make you feel safe and confident while communicating.

It is only a matter of time and some dedication to master your body language; in the same way as the rest of the communication skills.

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