6 Top Ways for How to Improve Your Communication Skills
You can’t become a more effective leader without excellent communication skills. And how to improve communication skills is hardly ever taught in school where the focus is more on grammar, vocabulary and just being able to stand up in front of the class. Great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. were able to inspire a nation. Or build incredible businesses, like Richard Branson, who said that communication is one of the most important skills.
While many people might have great ideas, it’s the excellent communications that are able to rally support around them by impacting the emotions of their listeners. They know that if their message is felt, not just understood, they will be championed that much more.
The speech language therapists at Therapy Works Together have selected these top 6 communication skills that will help you become a more effective communicator and leader.
1. Nonverbal Communication Counts for A Lot
According to one study, nonverbal communication accounted for 55% of how a presentation was regarded by an audience. So the majority of what is said is delivered through bodily language rather than words. Pay attention to:
- Good posture to speak effectively and confidently
- Not slouching, folding your arms, or making yourself look smaller
- Maintaining eye contact
- Moving around the room you are in if possible, to “fill out the space”
2. Ignore Visual Aids
Sheryl Sandberg did not allow using PowerPoint at Facebook (like Steve Jobs did at Apple). Why? Because relying on these visual aids is a crutch that takes away from your connection with the audience, no matter the size.
Know the information you’ve prepared well enough and then use your words to tell a story and connect with your audience. You can refer to the visual aid if absolutely necessary, but make it your aim to get the general idea you want across as opposed to every detail.
3. Talk to Your Audience
Regardless of how engaging the speaker is, all audiences have a certain amount of time they can pay attention. Make presentations and discussions interactive to improve your connection with the listeners.
You can ask the audience questions, encourage individuals to share their ideas during a brainstorming session, and even ask hypothetical questions to pique the audience’s interest.
4. Work On Your Timing
If you are wondering how to improve your communication skills, you might not think to look to comedians for good communication skills, but they are effective communicators. That is in fact the crux of their job. Great communicators are able to read their audience to know when they are ready for a new topic, need the speaker to reiterate a point or wrap things up.
5. Try to Speak Off-the-Cuff
Engaging speakers who are able to connect with their listeners often speak off-the-cuff. Meaning, they know the topics they intend to discuss, but they do not memorize what they would say word for word. This type of communication allows people presenting to cover all of the required points while also allowing them to adjust their communication style in response to audience reaction or questioning.
This method for how to improve communication skills takes practice, but creates a more natural style of communication, and can keep the audience engaged.
6. Listen First
Richard Branson said, “Listen more than you talk” if you want to connect with others. To communicate well and be an effective leader, listen more and talk less.
Sometimes, when a business person has achieved some success, they listen less and feel they do not need to listen to others’ opinions or suggestions. They may make less eye contact or work less on being engaging. Yet being an effective leader means knowing that there is always more to learn.
How Can Speech Therapy Help You Improve Communication Skills
To become a great communicator, you must communicate confidently and clearly. Speech therapists are also communication coaches that can help entrepreneurs, leaders, public speakers, and job applicants improve their public speaking and communication skills.
Communication skills will be a critical factor in job hiring in a post Covid workforce. Additionally, employees expect their employers to be effective communicators.
Online coaching allows you to work on improving communication skills, getting real-time effective feedback and discreet instruction to improve any type of communication skill including written, non-verbal and oral communication skills.
Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults
We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.