4 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills
Perhaps you’re going to an interview soon or you just want to be better at speaking with others. Well you are in luck! Let me give you my tips and tricks in communication that I learned while working at Safetech.
1. Pause to Recollect your Thoughts
The dreaded, “UM.” … What is um? Well according to google, um is an exclamation used when expressing hesitation or pause in speech.
I try to avoid saying um as best as I can because I don’t want to expose to my audience that I have brain farted. So simply just pause.
I find the staff at Safetech who are well-spoken, pause when they are trying to recollect their thoughts. The pauses are only a few seconds long, but pausing instead of using a sound filler like the word, “um,” makes them appear smart and in control.
This does require you to slow down as you are speaking, not to mention, your pauses probably shouldn’t last longer than 10 seconds. Nonetheless to show you are in control of what you say, don't be afraid to pause every once in a while.
2. Cheat your Distractions
I must fess up, I am a jittery person. Standing still is super difficult for me but I am aware this can be distracting when I am communicating. Since I am aware of my distracting behaviours, I cheat them, because there is no way I will be able to stop habits that happen subconsciously.
If you happen to move your hands a lot, hold something or hold them together. Even better if you’re at a desk. Hide your hands under the desk.
Can’t stand still? Wear heavier shoes than normal for big presentation days.
All I’m trying to emphasize is, don’t let your distracting subconscious behaviours win over you. Cheat them, it doesn't hurt to try.
3. Be Decisive
“I’m okay with anything, it’s up to you,” how many times have you heard this in your life? Indecisiveness happens in all sorts of conversations like, “what would you like to eat tonight?” to “what do you think we should do in this scenario?” In some scenarios, being indecisive is perfectly acceptable. However, when there is a question or issue that needs to be addressed, and there is no decisive person in the conversation, a lot of time is wasted as all speaking parties collectively try to figure something out.
My solution? Be the decision maker. Don’t approach somebody with only a question or problem, approach somebody with the solution. Twist the conversation in your favour so the other speaking parties only have to say “I agree or I disagree.” People don’t want to think, so make their lives easier and think for them.
4. Prepare Yourself to be Caught Off Guard
You can be the smartest person in the world or be super duper prepared, does not matter, eventually you are going to find yourself in a situation where you will be completely caught off guard.
So to avoid looking like a deer caught in the headlights or blurting out the dreaded, “I don’t know,” prepare yourself to be caught off guard.
For instance, when I don’t know the answer to a question, my script is, “I don’t have a solid answer for your question right now, but after I have done a little more research on my own, I will happily provide you a proper answer. As for now, let me walk you through my thought process.” If you plan to say something similar, please be sure to actually follow up with them after you’ve done more research and to walk them through your thoughts process.
I did not want my tips to be generic tips like, “speak slower,” or, “maintain eye contact.” No no no. You guys have already heard those and you do not need to hear them again. These are 4 out of the ordinary (at least for myself) tips I happened to pick up during my few years working at Safetech. They work great for me, why not try them out.