Communication skills are an important part of your career as an IT professional. Improving them may just be the most beneficial thing you can do to advance your career.
How to Improve Your Communication Skills
Improving your communication skills has several benefits. It gives you the confidence to speak to many different types of people – managers, coworkers, technical and non-technical people, human resources, sales and vendors. It allows you to find out information easier and more effectively than you did before. It could also improve your outlook on your working life! Some tips on how to improve your communication skills are:
Become A Good Listener
You’ve probably heard it many times before, but a big part of communication is listening. Improving your listening skills is a great tip on how to improve your communication skills. It may be tempting to interrupt speakers or to chime in when you think you understand, but if you allow a speaker to finish speaking and then respond, it lets you absorb more of what they are saying and shows them more respect.
Speaking slowly will give the impression that you’re calm and confident in what you’re saying. I have a tendency to talk fast in some situations, usually because I’m busy or distracted. However, on other occasions I talk slower, and I notice that when other people talk slower it gives a good impression. It also allows you to put more thought into what you’re saying, which leads on to the next point.
Use The Right Words
Picking the right words for the situation is a good tip on how to improve communication skills. There are so many people (you may know a few) that use the same words over and over in all kinds of situations, just because that’s the word they think they mean, or because it’s the common word to use. Determining the correct word to use while communicating with someone will help to get your message across more effectively.
Maintain Eye Contact
Many people don’t use eye contact when communicating. Looking people in the eye conveys confidence and also shows them that you’re concentrating on them, either when you’re listening or speaking. Of course, don’t stare at them the whole time – look away occasionally if you need to, but have at least a 50/50 split of eye contact and non-eye-contact (is that even a word? You know what I mean!) .
Make Small Improvements
It can be quite hard to learn how to improve your communication skills in a short period of time. When learning how to improve your communication skills, I would suggest identifying and improving one or two areas at a time. This will allow you to focus on an area in more detail and should show greater improvement. Once you think you have improved an area of your communication, then you can move on to a different area.
For example, you might decide to improve your listening skills. Practice listening to others and letting them get their message across. Once you think you have improved this, you could move onto another area you think you’re weaker in. Before you know it, you’ll be a more capable and effective communicator!
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