No matter how you say it, communicating is an art. As we try to get our voice heard by others, we are starting with a blank canvas.  We pick up our brush and paint a picture of what we want to be expressed and understood. Many people think that when they are painting, there is only one brush, but that isn’t the case. There are endless tools available to create a masterpiece, and each should be used appropriately. The art of communication is no different. There are many tools at your disposal to use in whatever way you choose. The more advanced you become at using these tools, the more advanced you’ll be at communicating.

The two main categories that these specific tools fall into are verbal and nonverbal. Here are the ways you can use each one to progress your communication ability:   

Verbal Communication

1. Your Words

We must always choose our words wisely. You are judged and known by the words you use. One thing still rings true, and that is that words have power. They have the power to build up lives, and they have the power to destroy them as well. When you speak, you must always be sure to choose your words carefully. Always try to avoid using words that will leave the other person losing respect for you. Slurs and slang are two examples of this. Use words of positivity. Speak words of uplifting and strength.  Use words with meaning and depth that will leave the listener feeling better than before you spoke.

2. Vocabulary

An extensive vocabulary will help you stand out amongst others. It enhances communication and captivates. Always know your audience. Skilled communicators use an expanded vocabulary with more educated groups and more basic vocabulary with less educated groups. Also, how you say things is equally as important as what you say.  Be aware of your tone. Are you speaking in a monotone pitch or do you change the timbre of your voice, giving it new life? Doing this will automatically help others follow what you’re saying and keep them intrigued. Changing the tone of your voice is an effective way to draw people into what you are saying. If an artist only used one color, the painting would not be that exciting.

3. Emotion  

The emotions you communicate while speaking are vital. Skilled communicators can show emotion without “getting emotional.” Emotions, if adequately controlled, are powerful communicators. 

4. Enunciation

Make sure when you are communicating that you are speaking clearly enough for people to understand what you are saying. Enunciation is a key to effective and successful communication. It is important to clearly pronounce words so that others can understand you. Make sure you practice enunciating your words clearly and precisely.

Nonverbal Communication

What you say impacts how you communicate and is as important as what you don’t say. Here are a few examples of nonverbal communication you should be using:

5. Your Hands

If you keep your hands down by your side, you will look like you are uncomfortable and unnatural. If you put them in your pockets, it will look like you don’t care about what you are saying. Use your hands to communicate! However, make sure you don’t get too distracted with your emotions to the point where people are only watching the show that is going on with your hands. An excellent way to practice this is to record yourself speaking and watch what your hands do.  

6. Your Eyes

The eyes are a potent communication tool. The eyes speak volumes and indeed are the window to the soul. If you are communicating with someone and constantly looking around the room or past them, they will think you don’t care about what they are saying. You will appear disinterested and bored. When you speak to someone, or they speak to you, look them straight in the eyes. Give them your full and undivided attention with your eyes. Listen to them with your eyes. Communicate with them that they are important and what they are saying matters to you.

7. Your Arms

The main thing people do is cross their arms when someone is speaking to them. Doing this makes you look like you are disinterested and bored. By closing yourself off it will appear that you don’t want to hear what the other person is saying. Open yourself up to the conversation. The other person will appreciate the gesture.

No matter if you are communicating verbally or nonverbally, what and how you communicate says a lot about you as a person and an artist of communication. Paint the picture you want the other person to see and make it something they will want to look at. Communication is the most important thing we have with others. Make your masterpiece appreciated.