They say you can get away with anything if you have good looks. That may apply to some situations but looks are superficial, transitory, and sure to abandon you in the long run.
Something that can help you in any situation, stay with you forever and get better with age is having good communication skills.
Words are powerful; they have the power to wage wars and also stop them if need be. They can even be more powerful if you know how to wield them or if you know how to best convey them.
If you want to succeed in every sphere of life then you must master your oratory skills. Some are blessed with the gift of the gab and are born orators. However, this does not mean that good communication skills can only be inherited.
Speaking well is an art, which you can cultivate and imbibe with patience, hard work, and practice. Remember that it is not something that you can learn overnight.
Mastering a language or good speaking skills isn’t difficult but it does require continuous and serious efforts on your part over a considerable period.
Here are some ways in which you can work on your communication skills and hone them:
Reading is not just a good habit but a way of life. Most great leaders, orators, and thinkers have been voracious readers. If you want to improve your communication skills then read as much as possible.
You could read newspapers, novels, biographies, or anything else that interests you but do take out some time for reading every day. However, you must read in the language you wish to improve your communication skills in.
Build an Active Vocabulary
It is not enough to just know fancy words and not be able to use them while you speak. You must look up the meanings of new words that you come across but it won’t matter until and unless you let them be in your active vocabulary.
Whenever you learn a new word, make up two or three sentences using this word. Afterwards, you will be more likely to use it while speaking, hence placing it in your active vocabulary.
Speak to Yourself in the Mirror
Take just five minutes out of your day, sit with yourself in front of a mirror and just talk to yourself. You could talk about anything you wish for a start. It could be a summary of your day or just thinking out loud.
This will help you in more ways than you think. You will see yourself talk, which will make you realize the aspects you need to improve. It will give you confidence and help you get into the habit of making eye contact with people when you talk to them.
You will start liking these sessions with yourself -for being cathartic and therapeutic- in addition to being good for your communication skills.
Having good communication skills isn’t only about how you speak, your body language is equally important. For instance, you must not fidget with your hands while you speak and you should keep your back straight.
The posture you maintain while you speak is also very important and must exude confidence. Your handshake shouldn’t be too strong or too weak and you must always maintain eye contact with your listeners for better results.
Think Before You Speak
For someone who is learning how to improve communication skills, it is very important to first think and then speak. There is no harm in taking a pause, gathering your thoughts and then speaking, especially in front of an audience.
This will help you frame your speech better, make sure you don’t forget something and the chances of your making errors, while you speak, will reduce. Having your thoughts together will also lend you some much-needed self-confidence.
Watch Your Speech
You cannot talk to everyone in the same manner. Your tone, dialect, degree of formality and other things related to speech will vary depending on who you talk to. Moreover, how you talk to your friends at home will be completely different from how you talk to the same set of friends in a poetry gathering.
Similarly, your speech will change when you address a gathering or talk to your teachers. You must be aware of the required features of speech in a situation and then speak accordingly.
You must be careful while expressing your speech and make sure you get the pronunciation right, take pauses and pay attention to intonation. Do not speak in a monotone and bring expression to your voice.
This does not mean being dramatic and making exaggerated hand gestures. You can bring expression in your speech without even raising a finger.
While framing your thoughts into beautiful words and sentence structures is important you must be careful not to exceed the limits. A good speech is not an unnecessarily long speech. Saying what you have to say movingly and yet using as few words as possible is also an art.
Mastering the skill of making an impact when you speak and yet being brief is a skill which you must try and cultivate.
Practice Public Speaking
The biggest deterrent in improving communication skills is the fear of public speaking. Participating in declamations, debates, and spoken word platforms not only rids you of the fear but also gives the best exposure you can get.
For mastering the art of communication you must participate in as many public speaking platforms as possible.
Have you ever heard of anyone who has acquired six-pack abs overnight?
Have you seen any weight loss transformation happen overnight?
Anyone can accomplish these fitness goals but it takes months of training, workout, and dieting to reach those milestones.
Similarly, all of us are capable of possessing impeccable communication skills but it can’t happen overnight, in a single class or course.
You have to train your mental and vocal faculties persistently for a long time, after which nothing can stop you from being a master of the precious skill of rhetoric.