The Power of Active Listening: How to Improve Your Communication Skills

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By awarenessofsuccess

Effective communication skills are important for success in personal and professional contexts. One of the main aspects of effective communication is active listening, which involves concentrating on, understanding, responding to, and remembering what the person is saying. It encourages openness, honesty, and success.

Communication in face-to-face conversations is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words, based on his groundbreaking study of body language. ~Albert Mehrabian

Paying attention to your conversation partner shows they are heard and trusted and makes their words matter. The benefits of active listening extend to the speaker and you. It reduces miscommunication, facilitates conflict resolution, and creates a positive atmosphere for sharing.

Role of Active Listening in Improving Communication Skills

Active listening improves communication by building understanding and deeper connections.

  • Active listening signals to the speaker that their thoughts, feelings, and opinions are valued.
  • People who actively listen can have productive conversations and understand each other better. This helps them solve problems together.
  • An active listener should listen carefully to what the other person is saying, ask clarifying questions, and provide appropriate feedback.
  • Active listening builds trust, confidence, and open communication for success.

Tips to Improve Communication Skills

Effective Communication

Here are some tips that can help you improve your communication skills:

1. Active Listening Techniques

Active listening needs practice. By following some techniques, one can become an active listener.

  • Eye Contact: Eye contact helps to maintain focus and encourages the speaker to share their thoughts. However, excessive eye contact can make the conversation feel weird. To avoid this, hold eye contact for four to five seconds before briefly looking away. 
  • Pay Attention to Body Language: Body language can convey a person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Facial expressions, gestures, posture, and eye contact can provide insights into a person’s thoughts and intentions. Crossed arms or a furrowed brow can indicate defensiveness, while open body posture and a genuine smile can signal receptiveness and positivity.
  • Avoid Interrupting: Allow the speaker to express their ideas fully without interruption, as it can disrupt the conversation and interfere with understanding. Interrupting can signal a lack of regard for the speaker’s thoughts and opinions. It can make them feel unheard and potentially lead to misunderstandings or conflict.
  • Use Non-verbal Cues: Nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, body language, eye contact, and tone of voice, are important in improving communication skills. They provide additional layers of emotion, clarity, and effectiveness of messages. A warm smile and attentive posture can convey openness and approachability.
  • Reflective Listening: Reflective listening goes beyond simply hearing what someone says. It involves understanding their perspective and emotions and reflecting those in a supportive manner. 

2. Verbal Communication Skills

Verbal communication skills involve the ability to express ideas, convey information, and engage in meaningful dialogue using spoken words.

  • Think Before Speaking: It is important to organize your thoughts in advance and aim for simplicity. This helps avoid mix-ups, pauses, and poor word choice. This reduces the risk of miscommunication and conflict. This practice creates clarity, precision, and intentionality in communication.
  • Use Appropriate Tone: To improve your tone in communication, use voice inflection to focus on important points and highlight things when needed. Change the pitch of your voice to express emotion, a statement, or a question. The tone should reflect the intended message and audience. It should reflect empathy, respect, and professionalism.
  • Speak Clearly and Concisely: Clear and concise speech makes sure the message is easily understood and leaves a lasting impact on the audience. Clear speech involves proper pronunciation. It maintains an appropriate pace and avoids unnecessary complexity. Use simple words and avoid confusing sentences or phrases. Use as few words as possible to illustrate your point without leaving room for misinterpretation.

3. Written Communication Skills

Written communication skills effectively convey information through written text by using appropriate language, tone, and style. It involves exchanging written messages between two or more people.

Here are some key components of written communication skills:

  • Use Proper Grammar and Spelling: Maintaining a professional and credible tone is important, which can be achieved through the use of proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. To verify accuracy and clarity, it is imperative to proofread and edit your written content thoroughly.
  • Stay on Topic: Staying on topic is important for effective written communication. Avoid irrelevant details and keep paragraphs and sentences short. Only include words that add value to the reader to maintain clarity and keep readers engaged. This makes sure that the message remains clear and impactful.
  • Make it Easy to Read: Avoid complex words and use brief, white space-filled emails, letters, and webpages. Break the content into paragraphs or sections for easy reading. You can use bullet points, headers, and short paragraphs to make your text readable. They can help to highlight important information and create a more visually appealing layout. This approach shows that your message is clear and easily understood.

Wrap Up

Active listening is a key part of effective communication skills. It allows people to understand others’ perspectives, build trust, and develop understanding. Sharpening active listening techniques can help build stronger relationships, improve understanding, and manage communication challenges properly.

Also Read: Breaking the Cycle of Procrastination: Tips for Getting Things Done

Good communication skills involve clarity, conciseness, and audience awareness so that the message resonates with the intended audience. Communication is about building bridges and creating understanding. Active listening, thoughtful expression, and empathetic engagement can help us change human interaction.


What is the purpose of active listening?

Active listening skills include understanding the speaker’s message and building a deeper connection between communicators. It builds trust, strengthens relationships, and helps in conflict resolution.

How can active listening enhance my communication skills?

You can pay complete attention to the person speaking, listen carefully without interrupting, and show interest in what they are saying. For example, responding in a way that shows you understand the other person’s experience.

How can I overcome public speaking anxiety and become a more confident communicator?

To overcome public speaking anxiety, prepare thoroughly by rehearsing multiple times, practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques to calm your nerves, visualizing yourself confidently, starting small by speaking in front of supportive audiences, and encouraging yourself.