How to Improve Your Oral Communication Skills

How to Improve Your Oral Communication Skills

Do you sometimes have trouble communicating your ideas and opinions to the people around you? Are you a clumsy communicator? Do others sometimes misunderstand what you are trying to say? If you are worried about how effectively you communicate with the people around you, here are some tips that might help you feel better about talking to others.

Listen Closely

People will respond better if you listen to them actively. Active listening means hearing and understanding what another individual is saying. It also involves contemplating and responding to the information the other person in the conversation gives you.

Active listening is not waiting for the other person to stop talking so that you can begin a monologue. Nor is it listening only for the opportunity to talk about yourself. Instead, active listening is caring about what the other person has to say and showing sincere interest.

Manage Your Body Language

Most communication is not verbal. Your body language and facial expressions convey a lot. Because you express so much with your body and face, it is sensible to remain aware of your body language.

You can give others the wrong impression if you cross your arms, stand with your hands on your hips, wag your finger, look away too quickly, avoid eye contact, or nod your head excessively when someone else is talking.

When it comes to facial expressions, try not to frown, raise your eyebrows at someone else’s comment, or press your lips together in disapproval. If your objective is better communication, it is best to avoid showing expressions of anger, disgust, confusion, sadness, or fear unless you are sure they are appropriate. For example, it is acceptable to look sad when someone has told you their pet died.

Check Your Tone of Voice

The way you use your voice is also significant for effective communication. It is easy to make others think you are angry if your voice sounds too stern. It is not difficult to make someone feel you are condescending when your tone sounds sarcastic. If your vocal timbre offends other people, the words you say will never reach them. Pay attention to how your voice sounds when you speak to others to improve your communication skills.

Consider Your Words

Of course, the language you use to get your message across also matters. When chatting with others, always attempt to use the correct vocabulary to express yourself. Picking words that are similar but not the same as the ones you need can confuse the person or people listening to you. When you choose accurate words, people understand your message.

Think About Whom You Are Chatting With

When you converse with others, consider who they are. It is not wise to communicate with a child the same way as an adult. Children generally have smaller vocabularies than adults, so you need to simplify your language when conversing with them. It is also a mistake to use street slang or curse words with someone older than you unless you want them to think you are being disrespectful. When communicating with others, always think about who they are. Think before speaking, and choose your words carefully.

Use Empathy

It is easier to use empathetic language to communicate if you pause and think about what you want to say before saying it. If your words could cause the listener some emotional pain, you might want to avoid them. Try to show empathy for others when you chat with them, so they will not think you are cruel, blunt, or abrasive.

Be Concise

If you often use 10 words when two will suffice, people may become impatient and think you love the sound of your voice or suspect you of being ostentatious. Additionally, using too many words sometimes makes it harder for others to follow what you are saying. Try to keep your language concise when you chat with people. Short, simple sentences are easier to understand than florid language.

Take Notes

In certain situations, you can take notes when other people are speaking. For instance, suppose you are at a work meeting, and it is the CEO’s turn to speak. When you take notes, it is easier to add to the conversation in meaningful ways once it is your turn to speak and give your ideas.


When someone says something to you, it can help if you paraphrase what they have just said to show that you listened actively and understood their meaning. When you do this, the person you are conversing with will feel heard and understood. When people feel understood, it encourages them to keep communicating and open up.

Keep Communicating

If communicating with others is frightening for you, do it more often. The only way to overcome fear is to face it. If you force yourself to do things that scare you, they will eventually seem less scary, and you will evolve because you were brave enough to leave your comfort zone.

Better Conversations

It takes practice to become a skilled communicator. However, if you keep trying and bear in mind the suggestions you have read here, your communication skills will improve with time. When your communication skills grow, you will be able to enjoy more fulfilling and fruitful conversations with other people.

About the Author

Don Dodds

Don Dodds is the founder and managing partner at M16 Marketing. He is a highly successful entrepreneur, mentor, coach and a recognized expert in digital marketing and technology. He has extensive experience working with and creating success for businesses in wealth management, mortgage banking, law, health care, safety management, logistics and technology.

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