Effective communication can go a long way to making students travelling overseas for study feel comfortable an accepted in their new environment. Unfortunately, many students are unsure of their communication skills, and this reflects in their poor performances. Grishma Nanavaty gives some tips on how to maximize the impact of communicating as an overseas student.
In today’s world, as we rely heavily on information sharing, strong communication skills are considered an essential life skill. Communication is the act of transferring information from one place to another. This can be in numerous forms, including vocally, written (e.g., using printed or digital media), visually (e.g., utilizing charts or graphs,) or non-verbally (e.g., using body language or gestures).
Whether it is about acing your classes, getting elected as the president of a school club, or about getting your dream job, effective communication will always help you move closer to your goals and aspirations. Good communicators can explain their thoughts and ideas to others in ways that make sense and are easy to understand. You will be able to tell your group what you need to do your job well. You will be able to communicate with your team to make sure you are all working together towards completion of your group project.
If you are working on campus, your communication skills can make the difference between a satisfied customer and an angry one!
How can one develop effective communication skills?
Become a good listener
The best thing you can do to improve your communication skills is learning to listen. Pay attention to what others are saying, let them put their point across without interrupting them, show interest in what is being said, and set aside your judgments. This will help you become an engaged listener, which is a key quality of a good communicator. If people think you are interested in their thoughts and opinions, they will be willing to listen to your ideas in turn.
Learn articulation – be brief but specific
Nobody likes listening to long speeches or reading long mails when the same message could have been implied through few words. Try to keep your communications short and crisp, be clear about the point that you are trying to make, and avoid beating around the bush. People lose interest easily when any form of verbal or written communications lacks clarity and brevity. Follow this advice while writing your next assignment at school or during your upcoming presentation in the office, and see the difference!
Tailor your message to your audience
This is another very important communication hack that best communicators use. If you are addressing a room full of students, include stories/anecdotes that will be relevant to them. For example, if you are talking to students about the importance of community service, you might want to throw in short stories about some famous person from their generation, or add references to the latest movies or TV shows. This will get them interested in your speech, and your message will be conveyed to the audience with much better impact.
Improve your body language
While communicating face to face with people, it is important to watch your non-verbal signs along with the words that you say. Use your body language to bring attention to your words. For example, pounding your fists to emphasize your point, or using air quotes to highlight something. Also, try to maintain a steady stance as you communicate, as moving too much is a sign of anxiety and under-confidence. Make eye contact with your audience from time to time, which also reflects your confidence and keeps them involved in the conversation.
You can communicate the best only when you believe in whatever you are saying. Value your opinions, know your needs and wants, offer constructive criticism, and always receive feedback positively.
Communication is a two-way street. If you want others to be interested in whatever you write or say, you need to prompt them to express their thoughts and opinions too. This will ensure engaging and fruitful communication.
Learn new skills
Join a club of your choice at college, volunteer for presentations, and explore new opportunities around you and develop on them. Stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging with new people will help further sharpen your proficiency.
Do not be afraid
In order to be a good communicator, you need to convey your thoughts with confidence and assertiveness. So, do not be afraid of expressing yourself; you will only get better with each mistake.
Effective communication skills are the ability to express yourself clearly and concisely, in a way that things are understood and done. A student with good communication skills can read other people’s behavior, compromise to reach an agreement, avoid and resolve conflict, and adapt to new and different situations. Good communication skills will help you at each stage and age of your life—within the classroom walls, and beyond.
(The author is a Partner and Lead Counselor at ReachIvy.com.)
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