How to Communicate Effectively

Communication, one of the greatest skills out there. You can literally have 0 qualifications but still talk your way into a job, or land a date with someone that’s way out of your league. All with effective communication skills.

But, none of us are born with amazing communication skills. We sort of pick it up from our surroundings. For example, your parents pushing you to join the toastmasters club at a young age might have given you the boost and improved your communication skills. Or you hung out with a lot of shy friends so you naturally became like them. There are so many reasons for why your communication levels developed to the point they are at now, but that doesn’t matter. Because the beauty of such a skill is that you can work on developing it and mastering it all by committing to doing so.

So, without much more nonsense, here are some actual practical advice that helped me improve my communication skills that might help you:

1. Let the Talkers Talk

Everyone’s got people in life who just love to talk, whether it’s about themselves or about the most random stuff possible, there are people who just love to ramble. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. What I’ve come to understand over the years is that people who love to talk often complain about others not listening to them. Well, it’s actually true, because they have so much to talk about, there are very few people, if any, who are willing to listen to them.

I myself used to be a great talker. I’d keep rambling about all the things I read about or the YouTube videos that I watched or my future business plans to my mother, while she did try to listen, most of the time she had other matters to attend to, and my constant complaint used to be that she simply wouldn’t listen. Since then I’ve changed quite a bit, I don’t talk nearly as much anymore, but, I’ve understood that I can be the listened that the old talker in me needed and wanted for.

By simply letting the talkers in your life talk, and responding to the things they say, you will become important and valuable to them. Because everyone likes to be heard, and when the person hearing is you, that’s some strong communication skill right there.

2. It’s Not About Throwing The Question Back At Them

A lot of us have the habit of thinking that a good conversation is where we throw back the questions that we were asked. You meet someone and they ask you how you were, you say good, and then ask them the same thing. That’s boring. What we should instead be doing is answering their questions seriously, maybe giving them a tad bit more insight into our day, like I just got back from the gym and can’t wait to take a shower, then ask them the same question, this lets them know that you intend to actually talk to them instead of nodding them a ‘how are you’ and being on your way.

You’ve spawned the possibility for an entire conversation this way. Since you’ve shared a portion of your life with them, they’ll feel more comfortable letting you now. Maybe they’ll say something like ‘I just went to get my favorite brand of juice and it’s out of stock’. Then you reply ‘well, what’s your favorite brand of juice?’ And so on. There ya go boss, you’ve learned to turn a nod into a conversation. It’s not that hard.

It does go without saying, but I’m still saying. Read the room, sometimes you shouldn’t be trying to start a conversation if the other person seems to be in a hurry or clearly preoccupied with something else, or just not in the mood. Use your intuition, don’t irritate others, that’s just not good person behavior and won’t make you any more attractive or effective at communicating. Also, it’s important to be mindful of what information is shared and not overshare personal details that could make the other person uncomfortable.

3. Care About Them

I should probably make this first, but I’m gonna keep it in third place because it’s only for my most dedicated readers. HEHE.

Even if you don’t understand or practice any of the others tips, just internalize this. Care, About. Others. That will supercharge your communication. Because effective communication is about the people involved in the conversation. Like I’ve said before, people like to be heard, speaking from personal experience. And it’s also not just about being heard, only for what you’ve said to go out the listener’s other ear. What really matters is being heard and understood.

You see someone for who they are when you actually listen to them, when you pay attention to what they’re telling you and engage with them on their level. Why did they do the things that they said they did? Why are they interested in the things they’re interested in? Care about the other person regardless of who they are. They can be a random stranger on the street, but that doesn’t matter. Because they’re not your enemy.

We’ve gotten to the point where we walk down the street pretending that the strangers just don’t exist. We don’t acknowledge each others existence. So bring in that main character energy, wish the people you see repeatedly good morning, buy the regular at the coffee shop a coffee on you, buy the kids you see some candy, maybe not that one. But if you see a cute baby in a stroller, tell the baby’s parent their child is cute, ask their name.

Why hold back on any of this? What do we stand to lose? Why not care about everyone else? They’ll feel a little less alone in this increasingly lonely world, they’ll feel like their existence matters. And you’ll feel good having made a smile on someone’s face.

4. Read and Write

Become literate first. I’m assuming you’ve got that part down.

Next, actually read. And write. Start journaling. This is some really practical advice, and I’m not going to lie to you, it will take time to make a difference in your life, but over time you will really really appreciate how much it does to you.

When you read, you get so much more to relate to, so much more to talk about, so much more understanding of what the other person’s talking about. It literally broadens your world. There’s not much fun in telling someone about the job you’re doing and having to stop every few sentence and explain things. But what if that wasn’t a problem because they already had a general understanding of what you’re talking about, along with the knowledge to piece together a further understanding of what you’re saying?

You can be that listener. You can be that conversationalist who understands the things being told and also articulate the things you wish to tell. Reading improves your vocabulary, not because you learn new words, but because the new words become normalized to you.

All of us know rarely used words. We’ve all gone through 5th grade English class. But the difference between a person who’s got a better vocabulary and one who doesn’t is that the one whose vocabulary is well developed has read enough to come across such words quite a lot. It becomes a daily word, no longer a special word. So read, your vocabulary will improve tremendously, added bonus, you can say more with fewer words, because a lot of the things we’re trying to explain has some crafty one words for it.

Furthermore, writing helps you organize your thoughts. Over time with a practice like journaling, you’ll learn to identify your own errors in thinking, the tangents that you go into. The fallacies that you play yourself into. The principles that define you. You come to understand yourself on a personal level. Because a thought in your head is fleeting, but when it’s captured, there is no denying its existence anymore.

5. Don’t Debate, Discuss

Nobody wins in a debate. Nobody. It’s already well known that all opposing parties leave more convinced of their own stances regardless of how many points that exist to say otherwise.

People can be so unbelievably wrong but still defend themselves. This is because when you accuse their world view of being wrong, they’re not being open to correction and criticism, they’ll be defending themselves. At that point you’re threatening them.

So don’t debate. It’s not worth it. Instead, give the other person more time to flesh out their points, even if you think or know that you’re right. Because when they keep speaking, they’ll talk themselves into holes that you can later exploit to prove your point, you’ll also be putting them at ease because they feel like they were given a genuine opportunity to present their points.

Your primary objective in any situation that could lead to a debate should be to discuss and negotiate for your side, but don’t argue for your side.

6. Speak to the Individual, Not the Group

This is a nice tip that I’ve come to appreciate for public speaking,. Pick one, two , or three people from the group you’re speaking to and continuously move between them when delivering your speech or points. This makes it easier to speak because most of us are well versed in talking to a single person. Just imagine yourself having a conversation with these individuals.

Furthermore, the person you pick will know you’re looking at them and therefore will straighten up and make an effort to pay attention. That could server as more motivation for you to continue, because now you feel heard.

I’d say, generally, pick more than one person, because it can quickly weird the listener out if you’re only addressing them.


So that’s it. It’s all practice, start caring about others, be invested in them for their sake and yours, not just so you get something out of it.

Even if you’ve set down this path to serve yourself, understand that the effective in effective communication comes from all parties involved valuing and understanding and being understood and valued. So genuinely care, it’s very very much visible if you don’t.