Development of Communication Skills of College Students

Students throwing hats in the air

Communicating is what gets us through the most challenging times of our lives. It’s one of the most basic requirements of socializing in any social setting. It’s what helps us express our emotions, our motives, and goals. The formation of communication skills takes place over the years. However, missing out on important lessons in this regard can result in really messy problems later on.

College life brings you the first glimpses of the practical world. Conferences, workshops, internships, job interviews, local and global networking all seems Petty intimidating. However, earning yourself a name in this big platform called the ‘practical world’ isn’t an easy task. You have to gain command over your communication skills and overcome all sorts of fears and challenges.

School isn’t all about academic work and going solo, laying low in your achievements, either. You need a lot of nerve to make yourself heard, accepted, and validated. All of this requires you to improve your communicative techniques. Below, we have enlisted some helpful ways to become a communication mastermind.

Focus on Your Nonverbal Gestures

One of the main aspects of communication is learning how to express yourself even without using words. You must have heard the good old phrase ‘first impression is the last impression.’

Well, most of the time, your first impression doesn’t consist of an elaborate speech or a multimedia presentation. Instead, the first impression is delivered as soon as you make an appearance in front of those with who you’re communicating.

When you see world-class commentators, comedians, politicians, public speakers, debaters, diplomats, celebrities, you notice one common characteristic: they’re excellent in nonverbal communication. Good communication basically consists of giving context to what you’re saying.

The knowledge of when to add a smile, when to raise an eyebrow, when to use your hands is something that lends distinction to students. Whether you’re going for an interview at your dream company or you’re merely delivering your final presentation at the university, you have to be flawless with your nonverbal language.

Avoid Planning Out Everything

Another reason why you fail to communicate effectively is when you resolve to preparing a plan. You see, discussions and debates can’t always go according to what you might have planned in your head. Another cornerstone of effective communication requires you to be fluent in expressing your ideas.

Student behind a pile of books

Unfortunately, you cannot do this if you confine your ideas in a box. You’ll always face unexpected questions, criticism, and taunts. You will have to actually listen to the other side in order to process an appropriate response.

Since communication is a two-way affair, you can only control your channel and feedback. Having all your responses and opinions written on a piece of paper will never help you improve your skills. Be spontaneous, be fluid, and don’t go hard on your nerves.

Practice Open-Ended Questions

It can get quite awkward when you try to make conversation, but your question doesn’t quite stir up a response. The silence that follows can be deafening and uncomfortable. The solution to avoid this disaster is to know the art of asking and answering open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions are the ones that prompt people to think and, eventually, let their guard down. When you have direct access to somebody’s thoughts, it can be easy to pick cues for communication. This is useful in carrying the conversation forward without a stiff formality.

Instead of just asking questions that lead to a ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe,’ ask questions containing the five W’s and H. Similarly, you have to practice answering these questions as well. Open-ended conversations leave room for more thinking and spontaneous answering that can improve long-term communication channels.

Learn From the Multimedia

Living in the age of the media has made it even easier for us to learn communication tricks. Teachers often encourage students to watch movies, listen to music, read books, or listen to audio-books to see how effective communication takes place.

university scene

You can watch documentaries and read or listen to books that ignite the creative side of your mind. Luckily, there’s a variety of content that spreads across different disciplines and ideologies, so you’ll always find something to suit your interest.

You can use these means to figure out how different personalities possess a particular communication style. The tonal variations from somber to jolliness, the choice of language in different environments, the charisma, and the intimidation are all part of communication. If you can get the hang of these skills through such a diverse, colorful media, you’ll find yourself communicating much better.

Add an Element of Novelty

One of the most frightening barriers in the way of effective communication is a choking formality. Even if the talk is about something decent or serious, one can never maintain the tension for too long. You always need an anecdote, a bit of color in the conversation, in order to break the ice.

You might recall something hilarious or inspirational, or you may simply add a reference from a novel you read or a movie you saw. There are a lot of ways to avoid sounding like a toneless, automated machine voice. Adopting these skills will help you get closer to your listeners and get them to communicate with better energy.

Key Takeaways

College students are generally expected to learn to communicate on their own. While it’s not the professors’ responsibility to teach students how to communicate, students need to practice a lot on their own. This involves observing how others communicate and letting yourself open up with confidence and warmth.

About The Author

This blog is written by Annabelle Gratwick of Edusson. Eve is a blogger, an education expert, and has several years of experience in the field. Apart from her work at Annabelle, Eve also has numerous publications in academic journals to her name. She has created a large number of online scientific conferences for students.