9 Steps to Improve Your Communication Skills

By Dotun Ola

When we start a conversation with another person, it doesn’t matter what relationship we have with them, each of us has a past, circumstances, and different abilities. Communication skills, like all skills, are trainable.

To learn how to improve your communication skills, today we point out some tips.

Improve Communication Skills in 9 Steps

1. Listen

Many times, when we find ourselves in the middle of an argument, we are so preoccupied with communicating our point of view that we do not realize that we are not paying attention to what the other is saying.

And not only that. By trying to talk all the time, we also prevent the other person from hearing us because we produce the same effect on the person, and the person will also be worrying that we listen. Therefore, to improve communication skills, the first thing is to listen to what the other has to say.

2. But Listen

Just because you’ve stopped trying to make your point all the time doesn’t mean you’re listening. Yes, you have stopped talking, but everything you would like to say is still spinning inside your head so, no, you are not listening.

Many therapists use a technique called “mirroring,” which involves rephrasing what the other has just told us. It should be used sparingly and in a tone that does not convey hostility or ridicule.

With this technique we achieve two things: the first, we make sure that we are listening to what the other is saying, and the second, it gives us a little time to assimilate what the person has told us and elaborate a response in a more coherent and meditated way.

3. The Honesty in Your Communication Skills

And there is nothing worse than lying. Have you ever heard the saying “a liar is caught sooner than a lame man”? Well, popular wisdom is not wrong.

Keeping up a lie is like a snowball that grows over time, and in a conversation, especially if it’s “soaked in emotion,” it will cost you much more effort to keep it up. It is very likely that at some point you mess up and the other person realizes that you are lying.

4. Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Language

It’s not what you say, but how you say it. The tone of voice, volume, eye contact, space, posture, etc. are aspects of non-verbal language that can give us a lot of information when we communicate with someone.

Improving communication skills involves learning to detect these signals. It’s not a one-day job, but it will help you get to know the other person.

Do not forget that you also emit non-verbal messages and you must ensure that they are consistent with the message you transmit through words.

5. The Conversation is Here and Now

When we argue with another person, we can start by dealing with a topic of the present and end up bringing up dirty laundry from years ago. We have to avoid falling into this trap since the conversation can become a constant coming and going of reproaches that will not lead anywhere and will make the situation worse.

Focusing on the here and now, on the topic that concerns us now, and arguing it with information that is relevant to that topic, not going off the rails, is essential.

Good communication skills involve knowing how to channel the conversation and prevent it from drifting into other topics that are not relevant at the moment.

6. Avoid Emotionality

It is very complicated, if not impossible, to communicate correctly when we are invaded by very intense emotions. Having a conversation being, for example, very angry, will make us defensive, that we take any word as an offense and respond according to our state.

Therefore, it is best to keep emotions out of the conversation. If it is difficult for us to deal with the subject with relative serenity, we can leave the conversation for another time when we are calmer.

You also have to remember not to make decisions in a “heated” conversation, much less if they are important. Same advice as before. Postpone the decision until you have thought it over calmly and with all five senses at full capacity.

7. Learn to Compromise

Surely more than once you have found yourself having a conversation or discussion, which has become tense because both parties wanted to end up being right. It is behavior motivated by pride and that makes no sense.

Learning to give up, to admit that we are not always right and recognize it, does not pose any risk to us. Quite the contrary. Recognizing that we are wrong makes us much more human and brings us closer to others. Always being right is impossible and the only one that benefits from it is pride.

8. Better with Humor

Good communication skills include knowing when to introduce humor into the conversation. A funny comment at the right time relieves tension, relaxes the emotionality of the moment, and allows us to calm down a bit.

You have to know very well when to do it and how to avoid the other party thinking that we are making fun of or that we are not taking the conversation seriously.

9. Your Communication Skills Are More than Just Talking

And it is that, normally, serious conversations or discussions deal with issues that are important to us. Therefore, the objective of the conversation must be present.

To solve a problem or conflict, many times we have to reach agreements and “negotiate” with the other person. Negotiating and reaching agreements means that both will contribute to the solution.

Achieving the objectives we are looking for in the conversation, whether it is reaching a deal, solving a problem, making a request, or simply clarifying certain aspects, whatever the objective, a conversation will have been successful if, at the very least, it brings us a little closer to that goal.

In Conclusion 

Learning communication skills is not a matter of a couple of days. But with interest and perseverance, we can handle ourselves better in these situations.