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is there any way i can improve my communication skills?

i am in 9th grade and its high time i have good speaking skills. i know that's it is extremely important for job interviews and basically leading a successful life. i don't know what to do to improve, i am scared for some reason to "speak up" as i have been told. any tips??
I may also have social anxiety so acting upon these tips are hard.

Thank you comment icon Hi Aaru, I would recommend you to take an acting class. Acting classes can significantly enhance communication skills in several ways: 1. Body Language. 2. Voice Projection and Tone. 3. Emotional Expression. 4. Listening Skills. 5. Improvisation 6. Confidence and Presence I have taken acting classes in the past and they have helped me massively. Please let me know if you have something else when it comes to communication skills. E.g. Presentations or social media, etc. For any type of communication though acting classes can help. Faye Kolila

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Kate Sowinski’s Answer

Hi Aaru,

Thank you for posing this question. As you stated, communication is a skillset that you will leverage throughout your whole life and it is great that you are already thinking about this in 9th grade (I most certainly did not have that mindset back then).

Many a times, we're fearful to speak up out of concern that we'll say the wrong thing or come off as unintelligent. As Mauricio stated, practice will help you become more confident. What I'd recommend is joining clubs or participating in volunteer events that excite you. Naturally, we love to talk about people and/or things that are most familiar to us. These opportunities can provide you with a great first step in speaking in front of others.

Second, if you are preparing a presentation for a more formal presentation, I highly recommend practicing in front of family or friends in advance. For example, you may not realize that you say filler words like 'um' when you are trying to think of your next thought (I used to do this very early on my career). Having 'friendly' faces provide you with that type of insight will make your brain more cognizant of that feedback and ultimately make your communication delivery even more effective.

Lastly, when it comes to the career world, many leaders see effective communication as being able to deliver your points succinctly. People want to know what they should know or learn from what you're saying. If it takes you several minutes to make your point, people will become disengaged and lose interest.

Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Aaru
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Cora’s Answer

Aaru, that's a terrific question! I've been honing and applying both of these skills since my student days.

Let's talk about communication skills first. I started my career in a communications role and have since transitioned into HR and other positions. I can confidently say that communication skills have been the most valuable asset I've acquired. Here's a bit of advice for you: always start by asking yourself these questions: 1) why am I communicating with this person and what do I hope to achieve? 2) what's in it for them? Why should they listen and what will they gain? 3) what's the best way to reach them? 4) how can I simplify my message so that I can express it in 30 seconds or less? A common mistake people often make is trying to say too much or share excessive details, focusing too much on their own perspective. Instead, try to step into the shoes of the 'receiver' and allow them to ask questions to learn more.

Now, let's discuss feedback skills. It can be tough when we care, right? But consider feedback as a gift, a chance for you to learn and develop. Pose questions that will make the feedback more tangible and actionable. For instance: 'what have you noticed that I do well and should keep doing?' 'how can I improve further?' 'what should I change to perform better or communicate more effectively?'

I hope you find this advice helpful! Enjoy the journey of practicing and mastering these skills!
Best wishes,
Cora
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Shiya’s Answer

Hi there! That's an excellent question! It's crucial to keep in mind that practice truly makes perfect. Consider rehearsing in front of your closest friend, family members, or someone you trust to provide honest feedback. It's key to maintain your focus, as it's easy to feel overwhelmed or anxious before public speaking or an interview. Remember, honing your communication skills is a journey that lasts a lifetime. So, with each opportunity, dare yourself to venture just a bit more outside your comfort zone. Rest assured, it will definitely become easier with time!
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Maria’s Answer

Keep practicing because that's the key to perfection. Speak out boldly and carry yourself with confidence. It's crucial to deliver your responses with self-assuredness. Also, make sure you understand who your audience is. Talk to them as if they're your close friends or family. This approach will help you feel more at ease and relaxed. Seize every opportunity to express your thoughts. If there isn't one, create it. Let your voice ring out loud and clear.

Never forget, consistent practice paves the way to perfection.
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Cassie’s Answer

Excellent inquiry! As a fellow introvert who has had challenges with public speaking, I can share some strategies that have worked for me:

1. Thoroughly prepare yourself. Make sure you understand your topic completely. This will give you the confidence that you know your subject matter well.
2. Practice your speech in front of a mirror, speaking out loud, and then try it out with family or friends.
3. Keep a cue card handy with a few key points. These brief reminders can help you stay on course if you're feeling nervous or lost.
4. Embrace every chance to speak in public, even if it feels daunting. The best way to improve is through experience.
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Diane’s Answer

Here's a piece of wisdom I once gleaned from a communication guru that has been a game-changer for me, especially as someone who used to quake at the thought of public speaking. Before you step up to deliver a formal speech, jot down three to five key points you want to get across on a notecard. If you find yourself straying from the main topic, just glance down at your notecard and latch onto the next bullet point. This simple trick has helped me stay focused, avoid unnecessary detail, and effectively deliver my message.

Another valuable tip is to consistently put yourself in situations where you need to articulate your thoughts. A fantastic way to hone this skill is by participating in a podcast. Even if you feel you're not quite ready, recording yourself can be a powerful tool for self-improvement. It allows you to identify areas where you need to improve, and it also boosts your confidence, reminding you that your words hold weight and significance.
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Lisa’s Answer

Hi Aura,

That's a fantastic question, and I'm sure many others are seeking the same advice. You're absolutely right about the importance of developing strong speaking skills, not only for job interviews but also for success in various aspects of life.

Firstly, I want to commend you on your insightful input. Preparation and practice are indeed key components of effective communication. Confidence often comes from being well-prepared and having rehearsed what you want to say.

Building on your suggestions, I'd like to emphasise the value of personal stories and experiences. Just as you might recount those stories to your friends, reflecting on past achievements or challenges can provide rich material for interviews. Think about three instances in school where you excelled or overcame obstacles. Did you lead a project or collaborate with a team? What was your role, and what were the outcomes? Reflecting on these experiences and framing them as stories can help you articulate your abilities and demonstrate your skills to potential employers.

Additionally, don't hesitate to leverage resources available to you. Public speaking clubs, online tutorials, or books on effective communication can offer valuable insights and techniques for improvement. Recording yourself speaking and seeking feedback from others can also help identify areas for growth and refinement.

It's normal to feel nervous about speaking up, but remember that with practice and perseverance, you can overcome these challenges. Start small, perhaps by speaking up in smaller group settings, and gradually work your way up to more formal settings.

Finally, I want to encourage you to believe in your ability to improve your speaking skills. Everyone starts somewhere, and by taking small steps and practising regularly, you'll undoubtedly see progress. Good luck on your journey to becoming a confident and effective communicator!
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Nikki’s Answer

Hi Aaru,

What a great question.

As an introvert myself, I often found it hard to speak up and also found public speaking/presentations stressful.

For presentations and interviews I like to prepare lots - it gives me the confidence that I have something valuable to say and have already thought about how to say it in the best way.

I also like to summarise or reiterate the question the interviewer has asked before I answer it. this helps me to check that I am answering the right question.
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Anthony’s Answer

Keep practicing! Sometimes, the fear of practicing can be overwhelming. It may seem tough, but remember, it's usually not as scary as it feels. Every great communicator started just like you, confronting their fears to improve. So, don't worry, you've got this! Good luck!
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Farhan’s Answer

Hi Aaru,

In my opinion, one of the most effective ways to improve your public speaking skills is Toastmasters. It's an international organization with clubs all over the world, so hopefully you can find a club near you. There is also a kid's version of Toastmasters called Gavel Club.

Use this link to find a club:
https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Aaru
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Tamara’s Answer

Excellent inquiry!

Even after many years in my career, I still grapple with a sense of nervousness before speaking publicly. Here are a couple of steps I suggest you take next:

- As several individuals have pointed out - rehearse. I understand that watching ourselves on video can be tough, but it's an effective method to identify your strong points and areas needing improvement. My advice is to focus on enhancing both your strengths and areas for growth. Once you feel at ease, record your speech again until you're assured of your presentation skills.

- Consider joining a group like Toastmasters or a similar one that fosters public speaking and creativity. Any club that introduces a "fun" element can help alleviate some of the stress related to the subject matter. If you can confidently present on a light-hearted topic that you're not entirely comfortable with, you'll feel even more self-assured speaking on a topic you're familiar with!

Always remember to treat yourself with kindness and understand that this can be a lifelong journey that most individuals encounter. Wishing you all the best!
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Roseline’s Answer

My advise is for you to keep practicing.
Thank you comment icon Hi Roseline! What suggestions or tips do you have for Aaru to practice communication skills? Sharyn Grose, Admin
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Mauricio’s Answer

Hey Aaru! Totally get where you're coming from. Improving communication skills is key, especially for things like job interviews and just rockin' life in general. Don't worry, I've got some tips to help you out!

First off, practice makes perfect. Start by speaking up more in class or joining clubs where you have to talk to people. The more you do it, the easier it gets, promise!

Another thing is to listen carefully when others are speaking. It helps you understand different communication styles and pick up some cool tricks along the way.

Also, don't be afraid to make mistakes. It's all part of the learning process. Just keep trying, and you'll get better every time.

If you're feeling nervous, try practicing in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member. They can give you feedback and boost your confidence.

And lastly, be yourself! Authenticity goes a long way in communication. So don't stress about trying to be someone you're not.

You got this! Just keep practicing and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Before you know it, you'll be a communication pro!

May the force be with you!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! Aaru
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Robert’s Answer

Dive into the world of books! Embrace the joy of reading, and let it become a part of your daily routine. Choose books that pique your interest, those that draw you in with their captivating stories. These tales are filled with characters who view the world differently than you do, offering you a chance to step into their shoes. This understanding of diverse perspectives can significantly improve your communication skills.

Moreover, focus on reading materials that are relevant to your field. There's nothing more empowering than enriching your vocabulary and skills with up-to-date knowledge about your industry. So, don't hold back! Embark on your reading adventure now!
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LIlian’s Answer

Hello Aaru! It's great to see you working on your presentation skills. One helpful tip is to get used to the sound of your own voice. Try practicing this before you dive into your presentations. Remember, while skills are indeed valuable, they only contribute to about 10% of your success. The real game-changer? Practice! So keep at it, and you'll surely ace your presentations!
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Linda’s Answer

Communication is a skill indeed, if you master the art it's Magic and yet it is the one thing we do badly on a global scale. In the olded days when I was in college I took some communication classes which I really enjoyed and many of those skill I still use in these modern times lol. Definitely study with these classes , also #1 huge vocabulary so you always have the correct language when expressing yourself as 95% of disagreement are rooted in misunderstanding. Look people in the eyes and listen, using your ears also a big step in being a great communicator.
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