How can you improve your communication skills on purpose?

How can you improve your communication skills on purpose?

 “It’s not what you do, but the way that you do it that gets results”

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Before you pick up the telephone, start a conversation, speak out in a meeting, remind yourself of these important truths of interpersonal communication. We have been talking since a very young age, but most of communication behaviours – what we do, say and how we act – are now largely performed unconsciously, on auto-pilot as it were.

For today, make an effort to think consciously about how you act, what you say and your tone of voice.

Try these three simple tasks before speaking or communicating.

  1. Write down some brief notes before speaking or writing an email
  2. Mentally rehearse, or visualise each and every conversation, including seeing how the person might react or feel.
  3. Pay really close attention to how other people are talking and communicating – body language, eye contact and voice. In particular, look for tiny almost in perceptible ‘micro-behaviours’ as I call them.

Now review this key points and put them into use!

  • Studies show that as much as 38% of the opinions people form about us, when speaking to us are based on the tone of our voice.
  • Only 7% are based on the actual words we use – 55% body language.

Tone of voice

  • Pause and breathe between each statement – speak in fragments not sentences
  • Move around, vocally! – Pitch means height and depth variation
  • A person’s mood can be detected by listening to their pitch
  • You can hear a smile on the telephone and face to face
  • The emotional state of a person has the most effect on the pitch of the voice – confident and assertive people use lower pitch

Pace of voice

  • This is the speed at which someone speaks – some people are naturally fast or slow speakers
  • Speed of talking may also demonstrate an emotional state
  • An excited or elated mood is reflected in a quicker rate of delivery
  • A more serious or dejected frame of mind will be expressed in a slower delivery
  • The caller’s pace can indicate the mood they are in when you speak to them, or if indeed it changes during the conversation

Confident body language

  • Presentable outfit or uniform
  • Sitting or standing up straight
  • Shoulders back, head up and hands visible
  • Strong, determined walk
  • Clear personal introduction – make eye contact and smile whenever you see a person or colleague
  • Strong handshake (if appropriate to the environment)
  • Well-organised work setting