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10 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills (And Why You Should)

communication skills

Good communication skills are crucial to success. Not only will improving them help with your studies while you’re in Australia, but good communication is also important when applying for jobs, making new friends, improving your confidence and making sure you enjoy your time as an international student. If you’re looking to advance your communication skills during your time in Australia, here are ten easy ways to do so.

Actively listen

When it comes to verbal communication and conversation, listening is one of the most important skills you can master. Make sure you pay attention to the person you’re speaking to and maintain eye contact. In other words, show that you’re eager to hear what they have to say. In addition, listening to native speakers will help you pick up on verbal cues, Australian slang and other idioms that are all unique to Australian-English.

Find a part-time job

Finding a job can be an excellent tool for improving your communication skills, as you’ll be in constant communication with a wide range of people – from your boss and your colleagues to customers and other members of the public. As well as your conversational skills, a part-time job lets you practise professional communication skills, both in-person and via email.

Join a club or association

Spending time with your fellow students shouldn’t be confined to the classroom. You should explore the club and association options at your educational institution – that way, you can practise your conversational skills while participating in an activity you enjoy.

Understand non-verbal cues

Body language and non-verbal cues are forms of communication, whether they’re conscious or not. For example, if someone is standing with their arms folded, they may be disengaged or frustrated. On the other hand, if someone is maintaining eye contact, they’re interested and engaged. Noticing and understanding these cues will help you gauge how the person you’re speaking to is feeling, and you can communicate accordingly.

Use technology

From audiobooks to apps, there are plenty of excellent, free resources out there to help you develop your communication skills. Language apps, such as Duolingo or LingQ, allow you to practise your English language skills, while audiobooks from services like Audible can improve your listening skills. A handy tip for audiobooks is to choose something that you have already read in your native language and listen to it again in English. That way, you can follow the plot, even if the language is tough at times.

Find professional help

In Australia, there are plenty of tutors and services that can provide one-on-one assistance with both written and verbal communication. Your tutor will tailor your learning to your current skill level and needs. Local community centres, libraries and your educational institution will usually provide workshops to develop your conversational skills, while dedicated services, such as Melbourne-based Write Squad, can help you improve your written skills, particularly when it comes to academic writing.

Join a language school

There are numerous language schools across Australia that allow you to improve your communication skills in a formal setting. You can fit your extra-curricular education around your other studies, or take more intensive courses over the holidays to continue to develop your skills outside of term.

Be confident

Improving your communication skills is all about being confident. That is, having the courage to approach new people and engage in conversation in a language you may not be used to. Be positive and friendly, and people will want to speak to you in return.

Go to the movies…

… and watch TV that is not in your native language. This is a fun way of improving your listening skills and getting a better understanding of how fluent English speakers communicate, including their language use and pacing.

Ask for feedback

The best way to track your improvement is to ask your peers for feedback. There are services that will check your written language, and if you have a tutor or attend a language school, you will be given regular comments on your development. But, always know that you can ask your friends for feedback on your communication skills too.