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11 Ways to Improve Communication Skills at Work

Communicate more effectively and you will be an even more valuable employee in your company. Here are eleven tips that anyone can easily apply!

  • On the telephone , make sure to slow down and speak clearly. Compensate for the lack of clarity on every telephone land line or mobile phone connection. Remember also that nobody can see your smile when you speak on the telephone. Therefore, let your words and voice convey your friendliness and professionalism.

  • Keep your voice healthy. Salespeople, teachers, and others who speak all day need to be especially mindful. “Easy does it” is the best advice. Speak with a relaxed voice and drink 8 glasses of water daily to keep your throat hydrated and your vocal cords in good form.

  • Use a downward inflection at the ends of your sentences to convey a sense of authority and certainty.

  • Be an active listener . Why? When you hear what others have to say, you will speak more directly to the concerns of your clients, customers, and colleagues.

  • Adjust the loudness and speed of your speaking according to the situation. Speaking over noise or over a distance may require you to speak more loudly and to slow down. When you speak one-to-one, privately, in quiet you may need to lower your voice.

  • Highlight the key word in each thought by raising the pitch of your voice on that word. Then, let your voice drop in pitch until the end of the thought. People listening to English unconsciously listen for these pitch changes.

  • Silence can be golden . Strategic pauses give your listener a chance to hear each of the important points you are making. Have you ever tried asking a question, even when you do not expect an answer? (Do you see? We just did it!) This can be an excellent way to pause briefly and let you and your listener “breathe” a little.

  • Face your listener and establish good eye contact. You will convey the right attitude and will be more sensitive to subtle signs of feedback from your listener.

  • Use a microphone for groups of more than twenty people. Even if it may not seem necessary for everyone, remember that one of every ten people between the ages of 18 and 64 has a hearing loss. Many people with a hearing loss choose not to mention it, so you may never know!

  • Watch your language! Some of your most valued customers, clients, and colleagues may speak English as a second language or come from another culture. Sometimes, it is most appropriate to speak simply and directly, avoiding idioms and figures of speech that may not be understood. For example, if you use expressions like “go into a huddle,” “Strike three!” or “Swish!” listeners lacking an intimate understanding of American sports may fail to understand you.

  • Improve your pronunciation and voice . If English is not your first language, you can learn how to say each of the consonants and vowels correctly. Equally important, try to speak with the changes in voice pitch that are so characteristic of English speakers around the world. Pay close attention to the way native English speakers say words and common expressions. If you can hear the difference between them and yourself, your are well on your way to changing the way you speak.

These tips were originally inspired by the Corporate Speech Pathology Network, of which we are a member. Corporate speech pathologists specialize in working with employees on speech training, pronunciation and voice improvement, foreign and regional accent modification, hearing and listening strategies, presentation skills and other areas.

In the New York City area, contact Confident Speech, (www.ConfidentSpeech.com), or call (212) 929-0384 now to make an appointment!