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STUDENTS: Tips to improve your communication skills

Have you ever said something to a fellow student at school or classroom teacher and right after you said it, you cringed or the other person became angry or flustered?

Carol Wood

Being able to express yourself clearly with verbal communication is really important!  Doing so can positively impact your friendships, academic success and at your workplace if you happen to hold a job.  In order to better ensure you effectively communicate what you WANT to say, please read a few suggestions which follow:

1. Make eye contact with who you are talking with and let him or her know you are fully engaged in the conversation.

2. Nod your head to encourage the person to continue talking and to show you are listening.

3. Keep a comfortable amount of personal space between you and the other person.

4. Carefully choose words that send the message you want. Be sure to pause and think before you speak.

5. Ask questions of the person you are talking to in order to ensure you fully understand what he or she is saying. Doing so shows your interest and respect for the content of the conversation.

6. Carefully listen to the other person’s response. Listening well is critically important to avoid misunderstanding the other person’s intent.

7. If you know in advance that you will be talking with someone about something and are a bit anxious about this conversation, practice what you are going to say until your delivery is perfected. Think ahead about your response to any obstacles the other person may present.  Remember, “short and sweet” is best. The more you say the greater the chance of misunderstandings and challenges. You can get yourself in a mess by talking TOO much!

8. Speak clearly, not too fast or slow, and at a moderate volume. Talking too fast or loud can indicate nervousness, lack of confidence, and/or frustration or anger. Talking too slow may come across as not knowing what you are talking about. You want to talk in a manner that sends a message of respect to the listener and indicates you are speaking with confidence.

9. Avoid “um”, “you know”, “like” and other verbal fillers. They are distracting and take away from your message. Verbal fillers like these can also make you look immature and/or uneducated.

10. Watch for your listener’s non-verbal communication.  If he or she begins to look away from you, seems distracted, can’t answer a question you’ve asked, becomes squirmy, and/or begins to physically move away from you, your listener has likely lost interest in what you are saying.

Carol is the Founder & Owner of Total Learning Concepts, Inc. Visit for information about their tutorial and test preparation services. For more information about Total Learning Concepts, Inc., please call 770-381-5958.

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