If you're a busy college student trying to manage life and school, there's likely a lot on your plate. It’s hard getting school work done while trying to enjoy, or even have a social life!
Now is the time for you to embrace your life and soak up all the knowledge you can. While learning and growing, you'll also become an excellent communicator.
Communication skills not only will help you while in school but in the career world as well. Not to mention, it's vital to be able to communicate with friends and loved ones effectively as well!
Now is the perfect time to enhance your communication skills. Check out seven methods that'll result in you becoming a skilled communicator.
1. Gain Conflict Resolution Skills
Dealing with conflict is never fun, but you'll need to know how to resolve issues in the work world.
For example, you may work in an office environment in the future. In this setting, when you spot a conflict, it's crucial to address it right away.
Understanding each person's point of view will help you get to the heart of the issue. After hearing all sides, you need to come up with a solution.
Resolving conflict right away is essential. The last thing you want is for things to fester and become worse.
2. Learn to Listen
It's hard to do anything if you don't actively listen to what others say.
We know it's easy to listen without really listening. You know, something goes in one ear and out the other.
To listen well, maintain eye contact, nod, and say words like "I understand." And, of course, while you're doing all this — stay focused.
Asking questions of the person who is speaking will show them you're engaged.
As an employee, asking questions is essential to complete a task accurately. It'll show you're eager to follow instructions and want to get the job done right.
3. Participate in Communication Exercises
Communication takes practice. Since it does take a while to get down, try participating in communication exercises.
You can find an endless amount of team communication exercises on the web. There are all sorts of games, activities, and practices that can improve your skills.
Here are a few to try:
The guessing game
Just listen activity
Stack the deck
As you can see, there are all sorts of ways to improve your communication skills.
Try the telephone exercise! It’s a blast because you pass along a word or phrase by whispering to the next person. Meanwhile, music or other sound is playing in the background.
This classic exercise is the perfect way to improve your listening skills. As you're doing it, it'll remind you why listening is so essential!
Learn excellent communication skills now, and you'll be ready for the work world later.
When you do work for a company, you'll know how to communicate well with a team and become an effective leader.
4. Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues
Non-verbal communication is just as important as communicating with someone verbally.
You may think you're communicating well with someone when in reality, you're not. In all actuality, the other person could be feeling like you're ignoring them. That's why you must work on maintaining eye contact.
Take the time to pay attention to how you respond to someone with your body language.
For example, if you yawn while someone is talking, that isn't going to convey that you care.
Focus on maintaining eye contact (without making someone feel uncomfortable). And, if you're sitting down, work on keeping good posture.
Slouching is going to tell the person speaking that you're not taking them seriously.
Non-verbal cues may not seem like that big of a deal. But when you want to make a good impression, they should be top on your list.
5. Offer Your Expertise
Communication is also about exuding confidence.
You should be able to hold a conversation and not be afraid to offer your expertise.
As a college student, you can do this during group exercises or at your job (if you have one while in school).
It's hard for things to improve if you don't speak up when something is going wrong. Say you like how a group is diving up tasks. When you prefer a process, bringing up why it's excellent should help reinforce it moving forward.
In the future, be open and honest about what you feel needs to improve in your company. Your boss will appreciate you utilizing your skills and offering feedback.
6. Have a Positive Attitude
No one likes talking to a stick in the mud. It doesn’t matter what type of circumstances you’re experiencing. Make it your goal to remain optimistic and be willing to take on whatever challenge comes your way.
There's no doubt that you're not always going to love everything about school — and later — in your career. But instead of allowing it to drag you down, look for the positive.
If something went wrong, you can either dwell on past mistakes or choose to move forward.
Say a boss quit and disappointed you because you had a great working relationship.
Instead of being mad that you have a new boss, offer your help to the new person in charge. They'll appreciate you going out of your way to make them feel welcome.
By being positive, people will more likely be receptive to your thoughts and ideas.
7. Silence is Golden
Silence may be the last thing you think about when it comes to communication.
During a conversation, it could take a minute for someone to get their thoughts together.
So don’t freak out if it takes a bit for someone to respond to you. It may just mean they’re trying to figure out what to say.
You may need to say something like, “You can get back to me later if it’s easier.” That will take the pressure off the person and make it easier to move forward.
Whether it’s at work or chatting with a friend, it’s okay to have lapses of silence during a conversation. Having breaks allows everyone to think about what they want to say next.
Practicing silence should improve everyone’s communication and make things run smoothly.
Communication takes a lot of work. But if you put time and effort into being a fantastic communicator, it’s bound to pay off.
Right now, practice communicating with your professors and fellow students. It’s the perfect time in your life to experiment.
Learn the best ways to connect and communicate with people while in school to improve your skills.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, but still show people you care. By the time you land a big job, you’ll be a communication pro!
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Sakara on a daily basis to grow their online presence.