Once you enter the work environment, writing and reading will no longer be alien activities. Rather, they’re tasks you’ll have to do and face every single day. When you first start out in your job, it’s normal for you to initially feel like you don’t know everything. But, once you get on with it regularly, it’s something you’ve got to learn how to accomplish quite well. Good communication is always the foundation of successful day-to-day processes in the workplace. So, you’ve got to do your part to make it right.
If you want to improve your written and verbal communication skills, you first have to understand that these skills are those that you’ll have to continuously keep on updating. Even the most gifted writers and speakers out there need help when it comes to improving their craft. After all, no one was born with perfect communication skills.
Here are some tips to improve:
- Keep Practicing
Practice makes perfect—there’s so much truth to this saying.
If you haven’t been writing or speaking a lot lately, consider practicing more. When you’ve got some free time on your hands, even when you aren’t given a writing job, take time to practice. Better yet, take the initiative to do some written and speaking tasks for the company, when there’s a need for it.
Apart from this mode of practice, don’t put a stop to your learning. There’s always room to learn more and regularly upgrade your skills. There are many great writing courses that are available online, so you won’t even have to go to school.
You don’t have to learn an entire course, but pick a few good ones that focus specifically on improving your writing. After a couple of weeks or months of practicing, you’ll find yourself writing and speaking much more quickly and making fewer mistakes.
Especially if you’re in management or if you’re the team leader, setting this right example to your employees can also give them the adequate inspiration to improve.
- Ask For Help From Friends And Other Colleagues
If you’ve got friends and family who have exceptional communication skills, you may also want to have one-on-one tutorial sessions with them.
There’s no harm in asking for help. And, because these are your close friends and family members, you can trust that they’ve also got it in their best interest to help you out. They can teach you all of those things about communication that you can’t learn by yourself, or that you may be having a hard time with.
Here are some of the things for which you can ask advice from your friends and family:
- How you can write
- What you can apply when you practice
- How to find inspiration and motivation to keep writing
- Master The Audience And Format
When it comes to written and oral communication, the audience and the format are important aspects for you to master.
No matter how well-written the correspondence is, if it’s not speaking to the right audience, then it’s still not going to be effective.
Understanding the audience of each of your written and spoken works will set the proper format. It will also determine the writing voice you’ll be using. For example, when you’re sending a marketing email to youngsters, the tone could be more casual. If you’re sending mail to your superiors, then it has to be in a more formal tone. Otherwise, there’s just going to be a mismatch.
- Listen To Yourself When You’re Talking
Listen to yourself. While you can always edit what you’ve written, that’s not always the case when you’re talking. You may think that your written work is already excellent, but once you start to read it aloud or listen to yourself talking, it sounds off.
Hence, as you write and create your work, listen to your thoughts and ideas. This will let you see how your thoughts are flowing, and allow you to make the necessary adjustments as you go.
- Read A Book On Grammar
Books are excellent sources because these have been edited and revised by competitive publishers. This means that you can take their word for it. As you endeavor to improve your verbal and written communication skills, grab and read a book on grammar.
If you prefer e-books, there’s also so many of this that you can find online. Apart from e-books, you can give dictation software a try. This can also help you along as you write.
Whether hardcopy or softcopy, the advantage of books is that you can highlight, take down notes, and go back to whatever parts you may have had some confusion in.
A good book you can choose is one that touches on the basic rules of grammar. It’s easier for you to improve when you can always go back to basics.
- Create An Outline
Outlines are very helpful in ensuring that you won’t lose your train of thought. Otherwise, you could just be moving around in circles.
When tasked to create documents, speak, give out a message, or do a presentation, always start with an outline. Not only does this keep you within the topic, but it also ensures that everything important is already covered.
For work-related documents, it’s very important to make as little mistakes as possible. So much is at stake, and your boss trusts you to get it right. The outline can help break up big information to smaller chunks, so it’s easier to understand by everyone in the boardroom.
- Practice Speaking In Front Of The Mirror
Practice speaking aloud. If you’re not comfortable yet with yourself, you can do this in front of a mirror. Then, as you get better, you can also practice speaking in front of your family, spouse, partner, best friend, or whoever else you trust. These individuals can give you honest opinions about what you need to improve on and where you’re doing great at.
Just put yourself in this scenario: you’re face-to-face with a poorly written email correspondence. You’re in the middle of a meeting with someone who has poor verbal communication skills. You just can’t understand what they’re talking about. These are dire situations that are, unfortunately, still present in the workplace. Certainly, you wouldn’t want this to be you, hence, the tips above. You won’t be an expert overnight, but you’re sure to improve. Now you can finally be confident in the job that you do.