How to improve communication skills and your chances of employment

Published on LinkedIn by Irena Lovrenčič Držanič Technical Associate (Institute of Media Communications - UM).

How to improve communication skills and your chances of employment

Communication is a fundamental process in everyone's life. It is a process that enables humans to give and receive information from others and is thus inevitable when we work with other people. Due to this, some even perceive communication to be as vital as breathing. But we usually do not know that we are bad at communication. Instead, we realize this when some negative consequences affect us, for example, when we inadvertently offend someone.

When we think of someone who excels at communication skills, we think of someone who can:

  • express their needs and demands for other people,
  • can be assertive instead of passive to others,
  • is a good listener.

Even if we might currently not be very good at these skills, there is room for improvement. As with all skills, practice is the way to become better at communication.

Tips to improve our communication skills

  • Be more efficient: This means you need to stay focused on the topic and keep it short and simple (KISS method). Also, avoid using filler words, such as uhm.
  • Add pauses: You can substitute filler words that only add redundancy with pauses. You will appear more confident and professional, while your listeners will be able to retain more information. However, be careful not to take too long pauses as this can be distracting as well.
  • Stay focused on the topic: Do not introduce multiple issues in several sentences as this can distract your listener. Instead, focus on one or two topics.
  • Listen and pay attention: Even though we might perceive talking to be the most important part of a conversion, the opposite is actually true. Listening enables us to understand the viewpoints of the other person and not only listen to reply to the question. It is also very important to try to remember names or at least the last names of people we talk to as this shows we paid attention to them.
  • Replace questions with statements: When you use questions in sentences, it makes you appear less confident in what you are saying as if you seek confirmation from the audience. Instead, use statements that provide information about yourself, your opinion, and are open-ended.
  • Become a storyteller: Boring stories will rarely attract many listeners unless the topic is highly relevant for them. Thus research how to use storytelling principles to become a better communicator.
  • Ask personal questions: When you ask others personal questions, it shows that you listen to them and are really invested in the conversation. However, be careful not to ask anything too personal that would be inappropriate for the situation.
  • Add humor: Humor will cool the tense atmosphere and make people more relaxed with us. Use it cautiously as some might not understand it, especially sarcasm.
  • Make eye contact: Eye contact makes the communication more personal and enables us to establish a connection with people. Be careful not to overdo it as this can be perceived fake.
  • Practice: Start practicing these tips with people you already know, family and friends. Later, when you are aware of mistakes that you used to make, try communicating with strangers on public transportation, on the street or in shops. Be open to trying new things, for example, give yourself the challenge to talk to one stranger each day.

You can also check these inspiring videos about the power of communication:


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