He stutters, mumbles, and starts but hardly gets going. His conversation is low and indecisive. His name is Charlie Kaufman and he is a character from the 2003 film ‘Adaptation’. He is brilliant but you would never know it by the way he talks. His success is heavily dependant on his writing ability—and, for that, he is extremely respected.
Being a screenplay author for some of the most critically acclaimed films does not save him in the real world, however. His life sputters along as fractured as the way he talks. His enormous talent does not translate into personal success.
He can’t express himself in conversation. He can’t sell his personality in social circles to any impressionable degree. Meeting women is completely daunting; his awkwardness tramples any possibility of developing rapport, and he makes an uncomfortable situation worse, not better.
Like Kaufman, most people who have writing abilities that go far beyond their verbal communication skills find that their writing abilities, alone, are not good enough to propel them to the forefront of their career. The simple truth of the matter is that we often need to demonstrate healthy verbal skills before we can boast a gift with the quill.
Good verbal communication skills are necessary for everyday life—whether business or social, formal or informal—and we are dependant on these skills to convey what we think.
These skills also tell listeners how we carry ourselves, what we think about ourselves. So it is very important to sharpen our verbal communication skills, as they can be the difference between landing a job promotion or being overlooked.
Skilled verbal communication is crucial in professional situations because it is the basis for relationships. Being able to move with confidence through small talk into deeper conversation can lead to new ideas, deals and sales.
These honed verbal skills can separate you from the competition. And, the best part is that they can be honed. It just takes practice. Use every opportunity that comes along to boost your skills, following the three interpersonal communication tips that puts miscommunication in its place, and the tips included below.
Verbal Communication Tips
Here are five tips which young professionals can follow to bolster their gift of gab:
- Get an internship where you can hear more seasoned employees converse, argue, discuss, relate, and talk to customers and superiors in the field that you are preparing to enter.
- Talk to your professor in class or manager in meetings. The discussion is a good way to develop clarity of mind in arguments and rebuttals. The prof and manager will take you seriously, and the open format can quicken your debating abilities.
- Get a part-time sales job. Working with strangers can help you lose your shyness and build confidence.
- Talk with family members and relatives who are older. These discussions help to build interactive skills with those in positions of seniority and will later be applicable to job interviews and talks with the boss.
- Speak with facts, not just opinions. Facts give more weight and confidence to your words.
Novices are not the only ones who can benefit by improving their verbal communication skills. From the entry level worker to the CEO, good verbal communication skills require constant development.
Here are some simple techniques that can flesh out any skill set:
- A good business introduction includes first and last names.
- At a business meeting, introduce yourself to everybody; sit by someone you don’t know.
- When introducing two people, use first and last names and tell an interesting fact about each person.
- No matter what the nature of the gathering, be prepared to talk about current events, books, movies, and music.
- Find topics of conversation in at least one daily news source.
- Build relationships and trust first.
- Listen and be attentive. Listen more than talk. Do not interrupt.
- Smile and make good eye contact.
- Be aware of social graces. Don’t be pushy. Pace yourself.
- Use the five open-ended questions to continue small-talk situations: who, what, where, when, and why.
Good verbal communication skills woo and invite people into the conversation. They exhibit your personality rather than inhibit it.
Because your spoken words are so often the first glimpse of who you are (besides visual appearance), it is important in social and professional situations to make the right impression on others around you.
By practicing verbal communication skills, and by following the tips that strengthen them, you will find your confidence growing. Then you can flex your inner Charlie Kaufman writing abilities, producing a well-rounded talent and knock down communication barriers. And you won’t have to agonize over the idea of simple conversation with your cubicle buddy.