How to improve your communication skills

how to improve communication

Article at a glance

  • The ability to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills you can develop.
  • Beyond speaking, communication needs the ability to clearly explain oneself while exchanging thoughts with others.
  • While spoken words carry a lot of weight, your body language does as well.


While we often speak a lot about health, nutrition and mental wellness, we wanted to dive into the importance of good communication. 

One of the most crucial abilities you can develop is the capacity to communicate effectively.

You undoubtedly already know how beneficial open communication is for personal relationships, but great communication skills may help you in many parts of life.

It may be simpler for good communicators to:

  • take on positions of leadership
  • learn about new folks
  • To improve knowledge and understanding of varied life situations, bridge cultural barriers.
  • cultivate compassion and empathy for others

However, not everyone finds it easy to communicate, which includes both delivering and receiving information. Emily Cook, PhD, a marital and family therapist in Bethesda, Maryland, says, "Communication is actually quite a hard issue." [1]


Improve your conversation skills.

improve communication skills

When you think of communication, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a spoken dialogue.

Of course, communication extends beyond speaking, but sharing ideas with others necessitates the capacity to express yourself clearly [2].

 1. Get comfortable with your emotions.

When you add sentiments to your words, they become more genuine. Shared feelings can make it easier to connect with people, but you can't convey how you're actually feeling unless you're aware of them.

Give talks your whole attention, allowing your emotions to surface as you listen. Pushing sentiments back or suppressing them might make you appear uninterested or even fake in the discussion.

Instead, try expressing how the talk makes you feel, but you should use caution if it elicits extremely strong feelings [3].

2. Speak clearly, without rushing.

When you're uncomfortable or uncertain of yourself, it's fairly usual to speak hastily. Listeners may struggle to understand your words if you talk too rapidly.

Take a few deep breaths before you begin speaking, and again if your words start to slip out throughout the talk.

Although it may appear strange at first, concentrating on the sound and shape of each word in your mouth might help you slow down and concentrate on what you're saying.

3. Choose your words carefully.

Your diction, or the words and phrases you use, can influence the overall message you send. Consider how you communicate with your closest friend, mother, and employer. Do you use the same words and phrases again and over, or do you mix it up a little?

It's crucial to be yourself, but while attempting to communicate more successfully, it's also helpful to think about your audience. Swearing in front of your child's teacher or a conservative family member, for example, may transmit a different message than you intended.

It's never a bad idea to acquire new terms and expand your vocabulary, but don't feel obligated to use large words to smarten up your discussion. The most honesty is conveyed by speaking spontaneously.

4. Disagree respectfully.

Different points of view don't have to destroy a friendship, a relationship, or even a casual discussion. Many of the individuals you chat to may have a lot in common with you, but you may also have a lot in common with them. [4]

It's completely normal to have disagreements from time to time.

Just remember to:

    • recognise their point of view
    • Please share your thoughts
    • Avoid disdain and judgement in a kind manner
    • maintain an open mind

5. Ask questions.

A good discussion should be mutually beneficial. You'll want to open up and offer personal information, but you'll also want to ask probing questions and listen to their responses.

Aim for questions that take more than one or two words to answer.

When someone asks you a question, give lengthy answers to indicate that you are engaged and interested. Try to strike a balance between providing a complete answer and rambling on and on.



Watch your body language.


body language

While spoken words have a lot of power, your body language has a lot of power as well.

"How you say something counts just as much as what you say when it comes to communication," Emily Cook adds.

These pointers might help you keep aware of what you're saying without saying anything [5].

1. Make eye contact.

In a conversation, meeting someone's gaze might demonstrate that you're interested in what they're saying. It also communicates an air of candour and openness. When you look someone in the eyes, it implies that you have nothing to conceal [6].

2. Keep your expression relaxed.

When you're apprehensive during a discussion, your facial muscles may stiffen up, making you appear annoyed or agitated.

It's not necessary to force a grin, as this might come off as dishonest. Instead, take a deep breath and concentrate on relaxing your face. Allowing your lips to split slightly might aid in the relaxation of stiff muscles.

3. Avoid crossing legs and arms.

Sitting with your legs crossed or standing with your arms folded over your chest may seem natural. In a discussion, though, this might create the impression of being closed off or uninterested in fresh ideas.

If you cross your legs when sitting, consider maintaining your arms at your sides, or relax your leg posture when crossing your arms.

4. Try to avoid fidgeting.

Fidgeting can take the form of:

    • playing with keys, phone, pen, and other objects
    • nail biting foot tapping
    • These activities, in addition to being distracting, might indicate boredom and anxiousness.

If fidgeting helps you think more clearly, look for a less obvious approach. Try jiggling your leg (only if it's under your desk) or keeping a little fidget toy in your pocket.

5. Pay attention to their body language.

The other person's body language might reveal information about the conversation's progress.

Do they continuously gazed around the room or check their watch? They might be implying that they wish to put an end to the debate. Leaning into the discussion or nodding along, on the other hand, conveys interest.

Take attention if they imitate your movements or posture. This unconscious action occurs when you're emotionally connected with someone, thus it usually indicates that the discussion is going well.

To wrap it up...

Even if you don't know it, you're speaking on some level whenever you're with people. Even if you don't always use words, your facial expressions and movements communicate a lot.

If you're not a natural communicator, this near-constant communication may seem overwhelming. While no single strategy will ensure a perfect conversation, repetition may help you improve your abilities and speak with confidence and sincerity.



[1] Emily Cook Therapy

[2] Healthy relationships through communication

[3] This communication pattern kills relationships

[4] Five ways to have better conversations across difference

[5] Nursing and the importance of body language

[6] How to Have Better Conversations with Your Partner, and Just About Anyone Else