Communication Is Key: 6 Ways To Buffer Up Your Communication Skills
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So you’re applying to be an intern, huh? And you don’t want to just be some ordinary everyday intern, do you? No, not you. You want to be the best intern that you can be. But … how exactly should you go about achieving this “best intern” status?
Brushing up on your communication skills of course!
1) Visit a thesaurus:
The key with this is to use it sparingly but still pack a punch. You don’t want to try to make yourself someone that you’re not, because keeping up with a total change to professional jargon would be exhausting, but possibly consider “smartening” up a few words from your everyday vocab.
As you do this, you want to practice and make sure you are using the word correctly. Once you’ve got it down, you’d be surprised at how many people you can sort of catch off guard with a word, causing them to listen more closely to you.
Again, you want this to be natural, but spicing up your language will definitely be a plus in the communication skills department.
2) Practice talking in the mirror:
This is especially great if you are more on the shy side like me. Practicing in the mirror allows you to see which words you tend to gravitate to, and will let you see yourself when you are in a calm environment. Do you tend to say “um” a lot? (Many people fall prey to this). If so, practice taking it out of your speech and things like that.
Once you feel more comfortable, you could practice speaking more professionally with a few friends and see how the conversation flows.
3) Watch your body language:
Communication is not simply about your voice, but how you are portraying yourself as well. You want to have an open and inviting stature when you speak (so don’t cross your arms) and also make sure to make eye contact. Eye contact is something that makes a lot of people nervous, especially if the conversation goes on for a long time, so this would be another good thing to practice on a few friends.
What I do if I feel like the eye contact is starting to get too intense is I dart my eyes to their mouth for a second, and then look back up. It seems more polite than looking at random things in the room, and helps you to still concentrate on what the person is saying.
4) Repeat back the things they say:
According to this article on lifehacker, one of the best ways to show interest in what a person is saying to you is to repeat back to them the last few words that they just said. “Wow, that’s so amazing that you’ll be traveling to Brazil with your family!” Instead of “wow, that’s cool.”
It’s easy for people to drift off in conversations, so doing this will help you stay focused, and show the other person that you are actually paying attention, and not simply nodding along to what they are saying.
5) Say what you think:
Yes, you are an intern, and therefore want to please your higher ups in hopes of getting an actual job in the company, but they most likely aren’t interested in hiring some robot that simply agrees with everything that they say. It is completely fine to have opposing opinions if you can present your ideas in a way that is not defensive or aggressive, rather that will engage a conversation about the different ways of looking at a certain topic.
If you hate conflict like me, this might sound like a horrible idea at first, but if both parties possess the ability to stay calm and learn from the different ways of thinking, it can actually be quite fun (nerd alert).
Six plus three indeed equals nine, but so does five plus four. Showing that you are capable of unique thinking that is your own, as well as seeing it from their point of view will make you a better asset for them to possibly keep on to work for them.
6) Don’t talk too fast:
When we get nervous, we tend to talk faster, probably as a way to get the conversation over and done with. If you know that you do this, you really want to work on taking a breath and slowing down so people will be able to understand you. You will come across as very nervous and unsure of yourself, as said in this wikihow article, if you are speaking a mile a minute.
Going at a slower speed will show you know what you are talking about, and can help you bring the punch with what you are saying because everyone will be able to follow along.
These are just a few ideas for how you can brush up your communication skills. Practice makes perfect, so if you aren’t a big talker get out there and practice on random people. Communication skills are key for not just your internship or job, but for everyday life situations as well, so you definitely won’t be wasting your time by improving your speech and how it is presented.
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