To be successful at work, you need good verbal communication skills. If you have a hard time getting your ideas across, or when it's your turn to be host for the weekly safety topic and you'd rather be home washing toilet bowls, there are a few activities to help you learn good communication skills for the workplace. Effective communication skills not only build your self-confidence, they help to build a long-lasting and successful career.
Try out a Toastmasters International workshop in your area. Toastmasters International has more than 13,500 clubs worldwide that help you to develop verbal communication skills and public speaking abilities. Toastmasters International sponsors workshops where you can learn good public speaking and communication skills in a no-pressure environment. Participants are assigned a subject for an impromptu talk, which is evaluated by those in attendance. Don't worry if your mouth feels full of marbles when you go to speak, there is no official teacher at the workshop meetings and you're not being graded. Other participants are there to overcome their communication fears, as well.
Journaling and Writing
Besides letting you get some of those unresolved emotions out of your head where they won't harm anyone else, journaling teaches you to write better, which leads to better communication skills. Personal writing isn't a literary event that has to be worthy of a Jane Austen book; all it has to do is to help you communicate better. Journaling and personal writing improves your vocabulary, your grammar and syntax. When you journal daily, you can practice different writing techniques that also enhance your speaking skills. Read aloud what you have written so you can hear how you speak. Record what you have written on a tape recorder or to your computer and play it back to get an even better idea of how you sound when you communicate.
Listening and Hearing
There's a reason you have two ears and only one mouth. It means the majority of your communication efforts should be spent listening to the other person rather than just talking. Most people tune others out in conversations, focusing instead on what they want to say next. Good communication skills require active listening – as communication is a two-way street. To be able to respond to a person's questions or interact with her, you need to be able to interpret what has been said. People communicate with words, facial expressions, body language and a tone of voice in an individually distinctive style. When you develop your listening skills to hear what someone is saying, you can respond in a manner that she can understand.
Personal Development Courses
Take the plunge and enroll in a communication class or take a personal development course aimed at improving your communication skills. Most companies place effective communication skills at the top of the list of the skills they look for in job candidates. A consummate communicator has the ability to speak to people from all levels of society and cultures. When you develop your personal communication style and actively listen and respond to what others say, you can't help but have a rewarding and fruitful career.
As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.