How to Improve Your Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Communication is the basis of interacting with other people, everything around you. If you do not have good communication skills, you are going to run into obstacles whenever you meet people or work with people. As with any skill, communication can be practiced and that does not imply talking to yourself in front of a mirror, but rather, specific things you could work on, daily.
Non-Verbal Communication is Very Important
When talking about communication, many expect you to just talk to someone and do it in the right way. Well, talking is just a part of communication, but the other part is body language or non-verbal communication. Both the speaker and listener in a conversation will change their body language accordingly.
Learning to position the body in a non-threatening way, but to still remain confident. Slouching should be avoided, folding your arms, as well. Then, you need to pay attention to everyone you are talking to. Their body language will tell you a lot more, sometimes, than their words would.
Listening – A Key Skill
To listen, means to learn, and that always helps. Listen when someone is speaking to you, but listen actively. Their words could mean one thing, but listen to see whether there is another meaning behind them, especially if the non-verbal communication is not in sync with the words spoken. Listening can get you very far, in romantic conversations and in interviews and business meetings.
Choose Your Language
This does not mean to speak in a foreign language to someone who cannot understand it, but rather, to use correct forms when speaking to someone. Depending on your level of familiarity, you should choose specific language styles, formal, informal, colloquial. Have in mind that your boss might not understand colloquialisms and might frown upon them. Talking with your friends like you are in a business meeting can also be taking it too far.
Respect – It Goes Both Ways
Show respect to whoever you are speaking to. If you do not show people proper respect, you cannot really expect anybody to respect you. Whether you are talking to a billionaire business mogul or to a janitor in a nearby department store, you should treat them with equal respect. Be civil and understanding.
Maintain a Calm, Assertive Attitude
When talking to people, emotional reactions are bound to happen. Some may get angry, others frustrated, sad, dismissive, even end up crying. Maintaining a calm attitude and talking to a person, while at the same time paying attention to their non-verbal expressions, is a great way of helping them overcome their emotional outburst. If not that, then you can help them feel understood and accepted, which is more than enough, for most situations.
This type of attitude is essential in business meetings and in interviews. Keeping a calm mood can get you through the toughest situations.
Timing is Sometimes Paramount
There is a time for everything, for fun, for serious talk, and for normal, casual conversations. Listening, again, to the flow of the conversation, everyone engaged in it, you can recognize the time to act a certain way. Some conversations need a nudge in the fun direction, others in a more serious one. Choose the right time and you will have made someone happier.
Conversational skills can and should be practiced so go out and talk to different people, the best way to learn.