Communication skills include things such as making a conversation, being able to connect and establish trust, and using positive and welcoming body language.
If you’re a language coach or tutor, you will be able to build trusting and productive relationships with your students.
If you’re an interpreter, your work will help make conversations between people flow.
If you’re working in publishing or trying to promote your own language products, you will be able to communicate their value more accurately and establish business partnerships more easily.
How to develop your communication skills
Put yourself in another person’s shoes. If you’re trying to master the art of presenting (for example, if you’re a teacher or lecturer, or if you’re trying to sell your new language app!), try to understand what your audience wants to hear first. What are they interested in? What are they worried about? What are they motivated by? Put yourself in their shoes and you’ll be more likely to establish a connection and communicate effectively.
Practise being patient and fully present. Being a good communicator is not just about speaking clearly – it’s also about giving the other person time and space to express their own thoughts. For example, if you’re running a language workshop with company employees, don’t move on to your next point straight away. Instead, give people a chance to ask questions. And wait for questions for longer than two seconds – sometimes, groups need a bit more time to gather their thoughts and there might be some shy people out there who need a bit more time or encouragement before they speak out.
Learn to reach out before somebody else does. This is a great tip which applies both to professionals who work in languages, and language learners themselves. Rather than waiting for somebody else to take the first step, do it yourself. Smile instead of waiting for the other person to smile first. Ask somebody how their day has been before they ask you. Go up to somebody at a networking event instead of waiting to be approached. You will develop your communication skills by increasing your confidence and stepping outside your comfort zone.