Ways You Can Improve Your Communication Skills


Having a difficult time communicating at work or even with loved ones?

Communication isn’t just about “talking” it’s also about listening actively, choosing words wisely, and mastering nonverbal cues. But where do you start?

Here are ten methods to help you become a more confident communicator. Let’s dive right into it!

10 Effective Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills

Want to know the secret to getting ahead in your career and life? It’s mastering effective communication skills. People who know how to communicate rise to the top. They build better relationships, inspire their teams, and get more done with less stress. A lot of how we communicate has a lot to do with how we grew up, which may not be the best way to learn.

The good news? We can unlearn what we learned in our childhood and learn better ways to communicate.

Listen Actively

Listening is the foundation of good communication. But most of us are terrible at it. We’re too busy thinking about what we’re going to say next or getting distracted by our phones. Active listening means giving the speaker your full attention. It’s not just hearing the words, but really seeking to understand the message behind them. Some tips:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Paraphrase what you heard to confirm understanding


When you listen actively, you make the other person feel valued. It builds trust and rapport – essential for effective communication.

Be Clear and Concise

We’re all busy and no one wants to go through paragraphs of texts to get to the point. One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to focus on clarity and conciseness. Before diving into a conversation or firing off that email, take a moment to organize your thoughts. What’s the key message you want to get across? Stick to that and cut out any fluff or filler. Use simple language and short sentences. If you find yourself writing a paragraph that rivals War and Peace, it’s time to edit. Aim for a 5th grade reading level for most business communication. Being concise shows you value people’s time. It also makes it more likely your message will be heard and understood.

Paying Attention to Body Language

Here’s a crazy stat: 93% of communication is nonverbal. That means your body language, another form of communication, may matter more than the words coming out of your mouth. Pay attention to things like:

  • Facial expressions
  • Eye contact
  • Posture
  • Gestures
  • Tone of voice


Your nonverbal cues can reinforce your message or contradict it entirely. Crossed arms and lack of eye contact can make you seem closed off or disinterested, even if your words are saying otherwise. The most skilled communicators are attuned to body language – both their own and the person they’re communicating with. It allows them to adjust their approach on the fly.

Practice Empathy

Empathy is about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand their perspective. And it’s critical skills for building connections. We often get so focused on getting our own point across that we forget to consider how the other person might be feeling. But when you show empathy, it demonstrates that you care about more than just yourself. Some ways to practice empathy in communication:

  • Validate the other person’s feelings
  • Acknowledge their point of view, even if you disagree
  • Show compassion and care
  • Look for commonalities to build rapport


Empathy is disarming. It can diffuse conflicts and make people more receptive to your message. So next time a conversation gets heated, take a breath and put on your empathy hat.

Be Confident

Have you ever listened to a speaker who was clearly nervous or unsure? It probably made you question their credibility and expertise. Confidence is key to being taken seriously and getting your point across. But it doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert or speak with a booming voice. Confidence in communication strategy is about:

  • Maintaining good eye contact
  • Speaking with conviction
  • Having good posture
  • Being assertive (not aggressive)
  • Staying calm under pressure


The more you know your stuff and believe in what you’re saying, the more naturally confident you’ll be. So do your homework and practice especially if you want to improve communication skills in the workplace.

Give and Receive Feedback

Effective communication is a two-way street. It involves both sharing your own thoughts and being open to input from others. Giving constructive feedback is an art. Focus on specific behaviors, not the person.

For example, “I noticed you interrupted the client several times in that meeting” vs. “You’re rude.” On the flip side, receiving feedback graciously is just as important. Try to listen without getting defensive. Remember, feedback is a gift – it’s an opportunity to learn and grow. Normalize asking for and receiving feedback in your team. It creates a culture of open communication and continuous improvement.

Tailor Your Message to Your Audience

You wouldn’t talk to a room full of executives the same way you’d talk to your best friend, right? The best communicators know how to adapt their message and style for different audiences. Consider things like:

  • Who are you talking to? What’s their background and level of understanding?
  • What do they care about? What’s in it for them?
  • How much time do you have their attention?
  • What’s the best format and channel to reach them?


You might need to explain the same concept in different ways to a new hire vs. the CEO. Or maybe an in-person conversation will be better than an email. The key is to always keep your audience in mind and tailor accordingly. It shows you value them and makes your message more likely to resonate.

Use “I” Statements

When you’re frustrated or upset, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “you” statements. “You always turn in work late.” “You never listen to me.” But this language puts people on the defensive. A simple switch to “I” statements can make a huge difference. “I feel frustrated when work is turned in late.” “I don’t feel heard in our conversations.” “I” statements:

  • Focus on your own feelings vs. blaming
  • Avoid labeling or generalizing the other person’s behavior
  • Open the door for more productive dialogue


This is a go-to technique for navigating difficult conversations. It keeps you in control of your own emotions and creates space for the other person to respond without feeling attacked.

Avoid Filler Words

Um, like, you know, so… We all have our verbal crutches. These filler words creep into our language and can make us sound unsure or inarticulate. Filler words are most common when we’re nervous, distracted, or trying to buy time to think. But they’re distracting for the listener and undermine your credibility. The fix? Embrace the pause. Slow down and give yourself a moment to compose your next thought before speaking. It may feel awkward at first, but with practice, you’ll be a more powerful speaker. Another trick is to record yourself talking. Play it back and notice how often you use filler words. Awareness is the first step to breaking the habit.

Continuously Work on Your Skills

The best leaders and communicators never stop working on their craft. There’s always room to learn and improve communication skills. Some ideas:

  • Take a course or workshop on public speaking, active listening, or difficult conversations
  • Join a group like Toastmasters to practice in a safe space
  • Record and watch yourself to identify areas for improvement
  • Seek out a mentor or coach for honest feedback
  • Push yourself outside your comfort zone – volunteer to lead that presentation or have that tough talk

Like any skill, communication takes consistent effort and practice. But the payoff is huge – better relationships, more influence, and greater success in whatever you do. So there you have it – 10 ways you can improve communication skills and become a master communicator. Pick one to focus on this week and see how it transforms your interactions. Your future self (and everyone you talk to) will thank you.

The Importance of Nonverbal Communication

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Well, that’s only partly true. Because in many cases, it’s not just verbal communication. I’m talking about nonverbal communication – all the ways we share information without words. It’s a secret language that can make or break your interactions, from first impressions to long-term relationships. In fact, some studies suggest that nonverbal cues account for the majority of the message you convey.

Crazy, right?


But here’s the thing: most of us aren’t taught how to read or use body language effectively. It’s just expected that we’ll pick it up as we go. That’s a missed opportunity. Because when you understand the power of nonverbal communication, you can use it to your advantage in any situation.

Understanding Body Language

Body language is the unspoken element of communication that we use to reveal our true feelings and emotions. It includes facial expressions, body movement and gestures, eye contact, posture, tone of voice, and even the way we dress. The tricky thing about body language is that we’re often unaware of the signals we’re sending. We might be saying all the right things, but if our nonverbal cues are off, the message gets lost.

For example, you’re in a meeting and you say, “I’m really excited about this project.” But you’re slouched in your chair, avoiding eye contact, and your voice is monotone. The words and the body language don’t match, so which one do you think people will believe? On the flip side, when your nonverbal signals align with your words, it increases trust, clarity, and rapport.

If you’re nodding, making eye contact, and leaning in while saying “I’m listening,” the other person feels heard and understood. The most effective communicators are attuned to body language. They use it to gauge how their message is being received and adjust accordingly. And they make sure their own nonverbal cues are conveying the right message.

The Power of Eye Contact

Of all the nonverbal communication channels, eye contact might be the most powerful. The simple act of looking someone in the eye can communicate a range of emotions: interest, affection, hostility, or attraction. Think about the last time you tried to talk to someone who wouldn’t meet your gaze. It probably felt like they were distracted, disinterested, or even dishonest. Eye contact creates a sense of connection and engagement. But like any tool, it can be misused. Too much eye contact can seem aggressive or intimidating. Too little makes you appear nervous or unprepared. The key is balance. Aim to make eye contact about 50-60% of the time during a conversation. Shift your gaze occasionally to avoid staring, but always return to meet the other person’s eyes. And pay attention to the other person’s eye contact as well.

Are they returning your gaze or looking away frequently? It can give you clues about their level of comfort or agreement. Mastering eye contact is a simple way to instantly improve your communication skills. Practice by making a point to notice and hold people’s gaze in your daily interactions. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will become second nature with time.

Facial Expressions and Their Meanings

The human face is extremely expressive, able to convey countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures. Think about how much information you can discern from a person’s face. A smile can indicate approval or happiness. A frown can signal sadness or displeasure. Raised eyebrows might mean surprise or confusion. Pursed lips can show distaste or disapproval. The most effective communicators are skilled at reading these expressions and responding accordingly. If you’re giving a presentation and notice a lot of furrowed brows in the audience, it might be a cue to stop and clarify or take questions. But it’s not just about reading others’ expressions – it’s also important to be aware of your own. Your facial expressions can reinforce or undermine your message. For example, if you’re trying to project confidence but have a nervous smile or wide eyes, it might make you seem unsure. On the other hand, a genuine smile can put people at ease and make you appear more approachable. The next time you’re in a conversation, try to notice the facial expressions of the person you’re talking to. What are they telling you beyond their words? And check in with your own face as well. Make sure it’s aligned with the message you want to convey.

Gestures and Their Interpretations

Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when arguing or speaking animatedly. The meaning of some gestures can be very different across cultures. In the United States, for example, the OK sign made with the thumb and forefinger means “everything is great.” In France, however, it means “zero” or “worthless.” In some Middle Eastern countries, it’s an offensive gesture. Even common gestures can be easily misinterpreted. Crossing your arms might seem like a comfortable position, but it can also signal defensiveness or resistance. Pointing at someone is often seen as aggressive or rude.

The most effective communicators are mindful of their gestures and use them purposefully to reinforce their message. You can see this when people do spoken word. Open palms, for example, can indicate openness and honesty. Steepling your fingers can project confidence and authority. Pay attention to the gestures you use frequently. Are they sending the right message? And be aware of cultural differences if you’re communicating with someone from a different background. Like facial expressions, gestures add a whole new layer of meaning to your words. Use them wisely to enhance your message and connect with your audience.

The Role of Posture

Your posture, or how you hold your body, can be a powerful communication tool. It reflects your level of confidence, comfort, and engagement. Think about the difference between someone who is slouched over with their head down versus someone who is standing tall with their shoulders back. The first person might seem tired, disinterested, or insecure, while the second projects confidence and engagement. Posture is especially important in situations where you want to convey authority or credibility, like a job interview or presentation. Sitting up straight or standing with good posture makes you appear more confident and in control. But it’s not just about how others perceive you. Your posture can also affect how you feel about yourself.

Studies have shown that adopting a “power pose” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident – can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, making you feel more powerful. So the next time you’re in a high-stakes situation, check in with your posture. Are you projecting the image you want? Make adjustments as needed – sit up a bit straighter, pull your shoulders back, lift your chin. You might be surprised at the difference it makes in how you feel and how others respond to you. And pay attention to the posture of those around you as well. Is your audience engaged and leaning in? Or are they slouched and checked out? Body posture is a type of communication that can give you valuable information about how your message is being received.

Proxemics: The Use of Space

Proxemics refers to how we use space in communication. It includes things like how close we stand to others, how we arrange our environment, and how we use touch. The amount of personal space needed when having a casual conversation with another person usually varies between 18 inches to four feet. On the other hand, the personal and professional distance needed when speaking to a crowd of people is around 10 to 12 feet. The use of space can vary greatly by culture. In some Middle Eastern countries, for example, it’s common for people to stand very close when talking. In the United States, most people tend to keep more distance.



You’ve learned some solid strategies today on how to improve your communication skills.

Remember that active listening isn’t just about hearing but understanding the speaker’s intent. Your choice of words can either bridge gaps or create them – so choose thoughtfully! Body language plays its own silent yet powerful role; don’t underestimate it.

The goal here is growth – both yours and those around you as better communicators make stronger teams as a result of strong communication skills.

I hope these tips serve you well as they have countless others before us! Keep practicing because every conversation is another opportunity to get better.

If you would like further support in your career, business, or leadership, my team and I would love to support you in creating a sustainable life through our coaching services! You can schedule a 30-minute legacy business or career review call with me to see if it’s a good fit to work together, and you’ll receive 3 action-items from me.


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You just got to the end,
Legacy Maker!

Before you go to another page, sign up for my free, weekly Color Your Dreams Newsletter where I dish the latest business tips, career secrets and legacy advice!