I grew up with a lack of social skills. On top of that I was shy.
When I did speak, my voice was very small and soft.
The kids in class would playfully tease me for it, and would never hear what I said the first time when I spoke.
Fast forward to today, I still speak softly.
But my conversational ability has improved.
Here is what I practice daily to refine my communication skills.
I’ve learned to think about what I want before I open my mouth.
This makes it easier to convey the message and get to the point with who ever I am talking too.
For example, if I’m calling Amazon about a missing package, I rehearse out loud what I need and will say once a representative gets to the phone.
That way I can avoid hesitance and word stumbling.
While someone is talking to me, I now actively listen.
This took alot of practice.
I was so used to thinking about my response, or daydreaming and leaving the conversation entirely that I would have no idea what the speaker said.
I wiggle my toes. Roll my tongue over the roof of my mouth. Touch my finger tips etc. These actions keep me in the moment. Thereby helping me to remember to pay attention to the person speaking.
Don’t Make Assumptions
About what the other person might say.
About what’s going on in someone else’s head.
When in doubt, ask for clarification for what you don’t understand.
If at work, repeat instructions back to the person who gave them to make sure you understand correctly what they said.
This will save you productivity time that can be lossed due to a miscommunication.
Every day provides more opportunity to practice. And there is always more to learn.
But these are a few things that have made a tremendous impact on my ability to talk and hold conversations with others.