How to Develop Communication Skills at Home
“In a world where everyone is always connected, communication, the very essence of human nature, has taken a backseat.”
Connection and communication are two words used interchangeably, despite how distinct they are in meaning. Connection, in literal terms, means “a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else.” Now, we are used to staying connected with the presence of social media and the internet. Automated responses, emoticons, and text messages have replaced calls and practical meetings with friends and family (not that the latter can be helped during a pandemic), where pressing tiny icons is traded for real human interaction; the dopamine rush being equivalent to everyone’s social needs.
Communication, on the other hand, is a deeper, more expressive exchange of thoughts and ideas. It is what moves you, and ultimately helps us grow as members of the homo sapiens species.
Now, in such a world where connection overpowers communication, it gets difficult for people to actually communicate when they have to. The most natural thing known to humans takes effort now, but it is necessary to strengthen one’s communication skills. It is the only way one can put their point across to someone, and start conversations about important topics.
Living under lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not feasible to go out at all, so here are some ways you can improve your communication skills while you’re at home.
Listen when someone is talking.
Good communicators are great listeners. Making people feel heard is one of the biggest forms of acceptance you can grant them. Listen intently, and ask people to repeat something you didn’t get. Then, give your output on the topic in question.
Instead of texting, try to call people to improve your conversation skills. It really helps to see the faces of your friends every once in a while. Don’t hesitate in video calling your friend whom you haven’t talked to in ages. Just go for it. They will be glad.
- Write down what you want to say before you say something important.
Like waiting for concrete to harden, when we take the time to let our thoughts fully process, we construct better conversations.
Writing down your thoughts is not only cathartic, but also helps you collect your thoughts. It reiterates the main points for you, and gives you more confidence when you actually say it out loud because of how sure you are about what you are saying.
- Read books and articles.
There is no better way to become a good conversationalist than reading what other people want to say.
When you walk into a bookstore, for example, you’re immediately surrounded by hundreds of the world’s best communicators. Between the authors, publishers, and teams of editors, nearly every book has gone through dozens of revisions by the best in the business.
It expands your knowledge, and gives you experience on topics you normally wouldn’t be able to have on your own.
- Join online classes to help improve your communication skills. Know when you need help.
Many online classes, for example, the courses offered by the National Institute of Language help people gain proficiency in languages, leading to better communication skills.
You don’t always have to be alone in improving. It’s okay to ask for a helping hand, and online classes during the pandemic are just the way to go.
National Institute of Language not only prepares people for exams like IELTS, TOEFL and PTE, but also helps in the overall communicative growth of individuals.
- Have discussions with yourself.
Have you ever tried asking yourself what you think about things? About life? About what you would do in a certain situation?
If this idea sounds good to you, give yourself the initial goal of answering three questions a day out loud. You can record yourself or write your answers down, too, but make sure that you actually answer the questions out loud.
Before you’re ready to give a presentation or have a conversation, answering some thought-provoking questions can be a great warm-up.
- Record voice notes of yourself.
To improve your speaking skills, you need to know what areas you are really struggling with, you need feedback. You can give yourself feedback by recording your voice and comparing your pronunciation and expression to that of the other conversationalists. This is also a great way to see what areas you really need to be developing and working on in the future, while you are talking to yourself.
Self assessment is key to self growth.
- Keep your body language in mind.
Studies show that 65% of all communication is non-verbal. Watch for visual signs that your listener understands, agrees or disagrees with your message. And be aware that your body is sending signals, too. When you talk to your family members at home, or video call someone, your body language can play an integral role in improving your communication skills.
To communicate clearly and confidently, adopt proper posture. Avoid slouching, folding your arms or making yourself appear smaller than you are. Instead, fill up the space you are given, maintain eye contact and (if appropriate) move around the space. The National Institute of Language offers help in these very things too.
- Be brief and to the point.
The best way to achieve clarity in conversations is to be concise. To ensure we are understood by others, it sometimes helps to know what we are going to say before we say it. It’s best to think about the main message we want to convey and write a few short, sharp sentences that express this. Remember, it helps to be specific.
With strong communication skills, you’ll master the art of having difficult conversations, make your ideas heard, negotiate a salary increase or promotion skillfully, and make a strong impression on everyone you meet in life.
We, at NIL help you develop these skills with ease, and help you go forward in your journey of self-fulfillment through meaningful communication.
It is evident that you can easily help yourself grow in your communicative skills even when you’re at home. Everyone struggles to be eloquent all the time, but we’re getting there. One step at a time!