Five Ways to Improve Communication

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars


So many problems in the world have roots in simple miscommunication. Failing to get a message across clearly can cause delays, wasted time, frustration, even tension. Great communicators tend to do better at work and feel happier in life because they know how to get their ideas across, but learning to communicate well requires discipline and lots of practice.

People often don’t ask enough questions because they assume they already know the answers or are afraid of looking like they don’t know the answers. However, asking questions makes people seem more engaged, not less intelligent. When you ask questions, it proves you’re listening and illustrates an eagerness to be proactive and seek clarification. It’s better to ask now than apologize later because you assumed something incorrectly.

Like, um, you know how it can be totally, uh, frustrating…when someone uses more airtime on filler words than anything else? Empty conversation additives are often leaned on because people feel uncomfortable or don’t know what to say, but when overused, these bubble words make listeners assume people don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Make an effort to speak with more purpose and get rid of the filler words. Try speaking more slowly or doing a short practice of what you want to say in your mind or a mirror before opening up.

Body language speaks volumes about our attitude and feelings, sometimes even more than our words do. It’s hard to analyze your own body language, so start by paying attention to the visual cues others send. Do the people you meet look bored, happy, harassed or interested? Once you’ve started training your brain to actively spot and read visual cues, have a friend try to read yours. It’s easier to see what you’re doing when someone you trust is helping out.

Communication isn’t about holding the loudest microphone. The people we respect most aren’t those who talk nonstop, but those amazing listeners whose responses prove they’re tuned in. It’s easy to become distracted with the phone, computer, ambient noise, thoughts about your itchy left foot, or worst of all missing what someone is saying because you’re too busy figuring out what to say next. If you become a better listener, you will be a better communicator.

To get your ideas across, bravery is a must. There is always some risk in bringing up an idea or voicing an opinion, but speaking up at the right time will make an impression. Wallflowers don’t often make waves, but sometimes voicing your thoughts is important. If you are presented with an appropriate time and place to respectfully share an idea, go for it. Positive progress is only made when people have the strength to speak up.