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How to improve your communications skills

One of the most important aspects of good business management is having excellent communication skills.Your ability to communicate your ideas says much about you as a person and about your business.Good communication skills are an essential part of a successful business, and are necessary when communicating with employees, customers, clients, superiors and even potential employees.Here are nine tips to help you improve your communication skills.

1. Shake hands firmly: Your hand shake can say a lot about your communication skills.Shaking hands firmly with a person can give an aura of self-confidence.Shaking hands weakly makes you seem weak or unconfident.A strong hand shake opens the way to a friendly and positive conversation.
2. Develop your voice: People do not enjoy listening to a whiney, squeaky, or insecure voice.Try to speak with an authoritative, but not overbearing, tone to your voice.People will be more apt to listen to a person who sounds confident rather than unsure.Vary your tone and speed when speaking. Use pauses to emphasize and break up your sentences, so that your listeners remain interested in what you have to say.
3. Enunciate: Speak clearly.One of the worst things to do when communicating with others is to mumble.If your employees or clients are constantly asking "what was that" or "please repeat that," chances are, you're probably mumbling.Practice speaking clearly to others, especially when on the phone.
4. Speak slowly: Speaking too fast can cause you to sound like you're mumbling or make you seem nervous.Practice speaking more slowly to your friends and family.Then, when you're on the spot may be inclined to speak quickly, you'll already be in the habit of speaking more slowly.
5. Pronounce your words correctly: People may assume you're nervous or unsure of yourself if you mispronounce your words.Or worse, they may assume that you're simply unintelligent because you mispronounce common words.When in conversation, try to use words that you're familiar with rather than words you might not say correctly.You may want to practice reading aloud to improve your pronunciation.
6. Make eye contact: A person who makes eye contact with the person he's talking to is sure to appear self-confident, competent and interested in the conversation.You may also look at the person's face as a whole rather than stare them straight in the eye (just be sure not to stare at any one place for too long).Or you could try looking from one eye to the other.This is less awkward than staring someone straight in the eye, but gives the appearance of eye contact.
7. Use appropriate body language: Body language can say a lot about what you're thinking during a conversation.It can make you appear to be lively and interested in the conversation or bored and irritated, depending on your body language.Be aware of your posture and stance when in conversation.Also included in this are hand gesture and facial expressions.Be aware of appropriate and inappropriate hand gestures.They can be a great tool to indicate your feelings during a conversation-sometimes even more affective than words can be.Facial expressions can also tell a person what you're thinking about the conversation.
8. Know what you want to say: Being mentally prepared for the conversation can help you appear involved in the conversation and indicate your strong communication skills.
9. Listen to the other speaker: Listening to the other speaker is just as important as what you have to say.Avoid daydreaming.Pay attention to what they other person is saying so that your responses can be relevant and interesting.Asking questions is a good way to stay involved in the conversation.Show your understanding of what your speaker says by rephrasing key questions or statements.

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