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A Guide to Improving Your Verbal Communication Skills

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • January 4, 2022
  • 2412 Views

verbal communication skills

Effective and active communication skills are an essential component of both personal and professional relationships. However, communication is about so much more than speaking. There are a lot of different facets and nuances involved in effective communication skills that go far beyond the verbal component. Successful communication in the workplace entails honing a mix of excellent verbal, written, and listening skills. But it’s also about how well you receive and react to information provided by others. Body language, facial expressions, and even hand gestures play a major role in how communication works. Your lips may be saying one thing, but your face and body language may be saying something else entirely.

Professional verbal communication skills training can give you the tools and resources to have more control over the messages you want to convey to your colleagues, employees, and clients. Here are a few valuable things you can learn from a communication skills workshop in Vaughan.

Harness the Power of the Mind

Communication is a unique art form, and it can be an effective business tool when used in the right way. When you’re giving a presentation, you have time to think about what you’re going to say and plan out each segment carefully. But, sometimes, you might be put on the spot and expected to come up with an insightful response immediately. Some people are better at this form of on-the-spot communication than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. All it takes is a little practice. When someone asks you a question or presents you with a certain situation, be methodical with your response. Take some time to think about what you want to say and carefully choose your words, tone, expressions, and body language before responding.

Think Clearly

Human beings are complex creatures with equally complex thought patterns and processes. The key to effective verbal communication in the workplace is to learn to think clearly to find the right words and expressions to convey your message concisely. When someone is speaking to you or a situation at work comes up, visualize your mind as a clear and open space that’s ready to receive and divulge new information. This practice makes it easier to deliver clear verbal communication.

Keep Your Audience in Mind

Another important factor to consider when it comes to verbal communication is your audience. Use words, phrases, and language signals that they can easily understand without coming off as condescending or patronizing. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience members. Consider their background and knowledge level of the topic at hand. If you’re giving a presentation, leave enough time for a question-and-answer period at the end so you can provide clarification on certain points.

Use Clear and Concise Language

This tip boils down to thinking before speaking, which is a lot easier said than done, especially if you have time to plan what you want to say. Consider your words and phrasing carefully. Avoid run-on sentences in your speech and use clear and concise language that your audience can easily comprehend. Don’t use big words just to make yourself sound more intelligent. Convey your message using as few words as necessary to ensure that your audience is following along. Visual aids can also come in handy in some cases.

Be Mindful of Your Tone

Intonation and inflection can change the meaning of specific phrases and words, so it’s important to be mindful of your tone when speaking. Avoid speaking in a monotonous or flat tone as this can send a negative message and be off-putting to your audience members. Instead, try to use warm and friendly sounding inflections in your speech accompanied by a genuine smile where appropriate.

Pay Attention to Your Body Language

Your body language conveys just as much information as your tone and words. The key to effective verbal communication is to strike a balance between all three elements, so you’re not sending conflicting messages to your audience members. Exude confidence in your knowledge by making eye contact with each person you’re speaking to, standing up straight, and relaxing your muscles. Presenting a stiff or hunched-over demeanour while reading off of cue cards the entire time shows your audience that you’re disengaged, and this prevents them from being actively engaged in your material as well.

Practice Active Listening Skills

Listening is just as essential an aspect of effective communication as speaking. After all, you can’t adequately respond to a question or statement without first hearing and listening to what is being said in its entirety. Active listening is a skill that requires a great deal of practice. Most people tend to wait for their turn to speak during a conversation without really listening to what others are saying, which can lead to many misunderstandings. Active listening requires undivided attention and the removal of all other distractions. It’s also a great sign of respect that the other person is more likely to reciprocate if they receive it from you.

Always Ask Open-Ended Questions

If your goal is to elicit detailed and meaningful responses from your audience, always ask open-ended questions that leave room for expansion. Avoid asking simple yes or no questions as they can be conversation killers.

Resist the Urge to Fill Every Silence

Not every silence or lull in a conversation must be filled with mindless chatter. Sometimes, a brief pause or silence simply means that people are taking the time to absorb the information that’s being conveyed to respond appropriately. However, some people are uncomfortable with long silences in conversation and feel the need to say anything and everything that comes to mind. Filling this silence isn’t always appropriate or warranted in a professional setting. Be mindful of everything you say so that it’s not taken the wrong way.

Attend an Oral Communication Skills Workshop in Vaughan

The Soft Skills Group works with companies of all sizes in the GTA to provide employees with the soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Our oral communication skills workshop in Vaughan is designed to help you learn how to communicate more effectively in the workplace. We can provide you with the communication skills to build a strong rapport with your staff, colleagues, and clients. Contact us today to learn more.

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More