Effective communication is a skill that all teenagers need to acquire early on in order to face bigger challenges, whether it be in college or in the workplace later on. Along with many inherent skills, the ability to communicate is best enhanced when you consciously practice at home and in school.
Here are some tips on how to communicate more effectively, beat anxiety, and break the ice:
1. To Speak Better, Listen Better.
Remember that communication is a two-way process of giving and receiving messages. Being a great communicator means having the ability to listen to others. Listen carefully to what your friend, teacher, or parent is saying. Try not to let your imagination wander nor cut the other person off while he or she is still talking. Save your response or question for when he or she finishes.
2. Speak a Beautiful Body Language.
Stand straighter and taller, keep your chest out and your chin up. When you listen to someone, maintain eye contact at all times; this shows that you are listening to the speaker's message. At the same time remember to smile or nod if you agree with what your speaker is saying.
3. Talk Clearly.
Practice speaking in a clear tone. Enunciate your words clearly so that you would be easily understood by your listener. Avoid whispering or mumbling your sentences. If it helps, practice in front of a mirror. This way, you can see if you are opening your mouth wide enough for the words to come out clearly. Speak at a moderate and comfortable pace. When we are nervous, we are likely to speak fast in order to “finish.” If you feel anxious while talking, remember to slow down and relax. This helps you compose yourself and your words more clearly.
4. Speak in Public.
The best way to combat fear is to face it. If you are uncomfortable speaking in public, try to immerse yourself in situations that would compel you to project your voice in a larger environment and among a larger group of people.
Remember that constant practice is the best way to sharpen a skill. Keep improving your eye contact, body language, diction, and voice projection when you speak and you'll be on the road to becoming the best communicator you can be.