Do you feel weird expressing your opinions? Are you so horribly shy that you almost come across as dumb? You’re not alone. Public speaking is a personal issue millions of people have had to deal with. But not to worry: most people who sought help have been able to conquer this fear. All it takes is a willingness to learn how to improve communication skills.
1. Join your local debate organization or Toastmasters
Check for debate organizations within your locality. There are bound to be some clubs that will help you develop critical thinking and sharpen your communication skills. You can also join Toastmasters, a great site where you can improve your public speaking skills by being right up there with people who are more than willing to help.
2. Involve other people
Practice in front of your friends or family, or let other people close to you to examine your work. Emphasize the importance of their objectivity. These are people who are close to you and care deeply about you, and will want to see you succeed as well.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask people for an objective opinion. Ask them what they honestly think, and tell them that their opinion is important for you to be able to move forward and learn.
The 101 on how to improve communication skills
Reading has many benefits. It’s like exercising the mind. It keeps us mentally sharp. You may want to read works by “great” writers. Opinions vary greatly but a list of great writers may include Tolstoy, Dickens, Hemingway, and many others. Another way to develop your communication skills may be to read editorials and news articles in prominent newspapers such as The New York Times. Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar, presentation of ideas, and so forth and it could help you to improve your skills. Frank Rich, Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, writes with impressive clarity. E.J. Dionne Jr. and Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post are also excellent writers, among others. You may also want to consider reading books about communication. (Read more here)
4. Enroll in a class
At the end of the day, a formal education will cover the basics, and more. The end goal, of course, is to make you an effective public communicator. At the very least, by the end of the course, you will have a certificate or a formal education to back up your skills.
You’ve probably read one or a number of these tips over and over again. That’s because they’re true! If improving your communication skills really matters to you, then you better be prepared to work your way through it.