Virtually every aspect of life requires you to communicate with others in some form or fashion. If you want to set goals to improve communication skills, first consider how you relate to others and then ask yourself what unwanted patterns of behavior may inhibit communication success. Even a moment of introspection may go a long way toward improving personal and business relationships.

Active Listening

One major goal to improve communication is to redefine how you listen to others. Active listening is one way to dramatically enhance your communication skills. It simply involves being attentive toward others when they speak; for example, you listen, then nod and maintain eye contact. The object of attentive or active listening is not to impart an opinion or viewpoint but only to empower another speaker in a positive way. Active listening also helps people often avoid miscommunication.

Recognize Nonverbal Cues

People are just about always telling you something without saying a word. It is often referred to as nonverbal communication. You can recognize common nonverbal cues by first thinking about two important factors, demeanor and body language. When you talk with another person, consider how close or far they stand, whether they talk too slow or fast and if they turn away repeatedly. Someone who fidgets constantly may be restless, nervous or unhappy.

Dispel Assumptions

Attaining a set of goals to improve communication may require a bit of flexibility. For example, you may have to dispel any preconceived notions you have about another person or culture. False assumptions about others may facilitate miscommunication that could lead to more problems that may, in turn, promote stereotyping. Being aware of your prejudices may make you a better communicator, and you may eventually help others dispel their own misconceptions too.

Mean What You Say and Say What You Mean

There is a certain level of trust when you enter into an exchange of some kind with another person. This premise generally applies to many different forms of communication, both written and oral. Using the right words is a key goal to improve communication, so build the vocabulary that enables you to say what you truly mean. Good communicators often speak or write from the heart; they use words that resonate with others. When you do find the words that work for you, be sure to mean what you say.