I just completed a 30-day video series called, “Communication Skills for Career Success.” Over the 30 days, people who watch the daily 2-3 minute videos receive tips, techniques, inspiration, and goals for building upon their set of communication skills; from listening, word choice, and nonverbal communication, to making the decision whether to confront someone in person, on the phone, or via email.
Throughout the process of creating the video program, I realized there are five key steps to improving communication skills beyond the skills themselves:
1. Identify the need for change
Most people won’t undertake the process of improving anything unless they believe there is a need to make a change. Being aware of your communication weaknesses is the first step toward making a change for the better. When you say certain words to others, do you frequently get an unexpected negative reaction? Do certain elements of your body language or facial expressions cause others to interpret your meaning differently than you intended? When you communicate, is your goal to create understanding with the other person, or is it to be right, or to punish? Becoming more aware of your communication techniques will allow you to set specific goals for improving your communication.
2. Find an excellent communication role model
Is there someone you know who always seems to say the right thing AND say with sincerity? If so, this person might be a great role model for you. Study his or her communication techniques and identify those that would benefit you. Additionally, ask why he or she chose those words or used that body language, so that you can understand the rationale behind the method. If you can’t find a good role model, find a great book on communication or watch a video on communication techniques.
3. Practice new skills every day
Once you’ve identified skills you need to improve, set a goal to practice one or two skills every day for a few weeks until they become a permanent part of your communication repertoire. Realize too that some techniques, especially those learned from a mentor, just won’t “fit” your communication style or your work environment. That’s okay! Find the ones that work best for you and have the most positive results and let the others go.
4. Stay motivated, even if things don’t always work out the way you expected
When you first start using a new skill, things won’t always work out the way you expect. That doesn’t mean the skill doesn’t work. Even if you perfect a communication skill, the one thing you have no control over is the person to whom you’re communicating. For example, if you’ve decided to learn to say “no” to unreasonable requests, and your coworker gets upset because you won’t stay late to help her, remember, you’re not in control of her actions or feelings. Let her own them and don’t take responsibility for them. If you handled the situation appropriately, then accept the results and move on.
5. Have confidence in yourself
Self confidence and good communication go hand-in-hand. If you’re not confident in your abilities, you’re unlikely to use them. Start small and create small wins for yourself. For example, if you’re trying to learn to better express your feelings, start by doing so with someone you believe is likely to accept them. Don’t start with the most difficult, contrary person in your life and expect a great result. As your communication skills grow, so does your ability to navigate the various everyday and difficult situations and people, that you encounter. Use each “win” as an opportunity to congratulate yourself on your new effective communication skills and tell yourself, “I can do this!” Use failures or less-than-perfect outcomes as learning moments. Ask yourself, “How could I have handled this better?” Then focus on doing better the next time.
I’m proud to announce my new video program, “Communication Skills for Career Success.” It is a 30-day program offering tips and techniques for improving workplace relationships, being more productive at work, and experiencing more career success and satisfaction. It will teach you to look at communication as you never have before: as an essential life skill that you can’t believe you ever lived without. More importantly:
- It’s fast:Daily 2-3 minute videos a day over 30 days – each day a different lesson on improving communication skills.
- It’s simple: Each video contains a story, lesson, and action from me that reinforces everything I talk about in my workshops, classes, in my book, and on stage.
- It works: The program was developed in Partnership with Avanoo, the leader in behavioral change video research.
As one of my blog subscribers, you can watch the first video for free. If you like it and want more, for a limited time, I’m offering my blog subscribers more than 50 percent off the regular price of $49.95. Use this coupon code to get the entire 30-day program for only $19.95. Coupon code: PracticalCommunication
If you think the video program would benefit your company, organization, or community group, please contact me for even more savings on group licensing.