Everyone wants to be an effective communicator.
Successful communication is key to doing well in the workplace and building a rewarding social life. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind for improving conversation and everyday interaction.
1. Listen, Listen, Listen
Practice active and engaged listening. This means keeping your focus on the speaker and staying attentive to what they say. Maintain eye contact with the other person. Encourage them to continue by nodding or saying things like “yes” or “mm-hmm.” Don’t interrupt.
Avoid distractions — this includes your phone!
2. Be Aware of Your Body Language
Maintain good posture. Don’t slouch, and avoid crossing your arms or legs. Your facial expression should match the topic of conversation: concerned if discussing a problem, and amused if discussing something entertaining or funny.
3. Play Fair
Everyone should have a chance to talk and everyone should have a chance to listen in a balanced conversation.
Feel like you’ve been talking too much? Ask a few open-ended questions and give the other person a chance to speak. Similarly, avoid answering questions using short or one-word replies.
4. How Do You Sound to Others?
How you sound affects how others listen to you. Do you mumble? Do you speak too softly or loudly? Enunciate clearly, and try not to use too many fillers such as “like” or “um.”
Consider American accent training if you have difficulty with English intonation or pronunciation.
5. Maintain a Positive Attitude!
Pay attention to who you're speaking with and make an effort to comment on the positive rather than the negative. Be gracious and considerate. Accept that others may have different points of view and don’t try to impose yours.
And don't forget to smile. Smiling helps you appear approachable and trustworthy — and it's good for your health! Smiling has been shown to help our bodies reduce cortisol levels and release endorphins, which can help lower stress, increase endurance, and strengthen the immune system.