How to Improve Communication Skills

Good communication skills are a necessity in your personal and business life. Some people are naturally good communicators. For everyone else, communication is a skill that must be nurtured. With a little time and effort, no one will ever know you weren't born with the gift of gab. Follow these steps to improve your communication skills.

Think before you speak. Plan your presentations and other addresses to groups whenever possible, especially in business. Even if you don't know everything you want to say, you should have a general idea. In more private conversations, take the time to be clear about the points you want to make before talking. Always be honest in your communication.

Be an active listener. Listening is often more important than speaking. To improve your communication skills, pay attention to what others are saying without getting distracted.

Make good eye contact. Shifty eyes make you seem less than trustworthy in business and personal life. If you are looking everywhere but in the eyes of your audience, it will arouse suspicion. This doesn't mean you should initiate a staring contest. Just make sure to put your audience at ease by holding the gaze at times.

Take it slow. Don't slur your words together or mumble. Enunciate. If you speak too fast, then you'll lose your audience. Use words only if you are sure of their meaning. Make yourself easily understood.

Use appropriate volume and tone. Of course, you should speak louder when addressing a group than you would in private conversations. Reflect emotion in your voice. A monotone approach is never appropriate in any setting.

Practice; it's the best way to improve your communication skills. The more you do it, the easier it will get.