3 Key Communications Resolutions for 2024

If improving your communication skills is on your list of resolutions for 2024 (and there is always room for improvement!) we can help you get that resolution off to a great start. Here are three practices you can easily work into your daily routine that will change how people perceive you and improve results in all your communication situations.

These exercises are simple, but powerful IF you do them regularly. So you may want to put reminders in your phone, or write them on index cards or sticky notes and post them where you’ll see them several times a day. It’s not time-consuming – you just need to take a minute or two to become aware of and shift your automatic behaviors, so having several reminders through the day works best.

The three key exercises are:

1) Posture

Pay attention to how your body is positioned, whether you are standing in front of an audience, or sitting on the phone at your desk, because your posture affects not only your appearance, but also your psychological state. (Here’s an article that explains how to develop the habit.)

The posture you want if you are standing is a balanced position – feet about shoulder-width apart, weight balanced between both feet and slightly forward. Hands should be loose by your side if you aren’t gesturing. If you are sitting, lean toward your listener and keep your hands on the table.

Check and correct your posture whenever you think of it. Soon, you’ll find that good posture has become automatic!

2) Pausing

Pausing when you speak is like adding punctuation and paragraph breaks to the written word. It makes what you are saying much easier to understand.

Don’t be afraid to pause, take a breath and give people a chance to absorb what you just said. In fact, if you want to emphasize a certain point, make sure you pause before and after to create anticipation and then let people consider what you just said.

Stay aware of how often you pause and breathe when you are speaking.

3) Listening

The gift of your full attention will be noticed and is the most important part of listening. Don’t think of what you are going to say next while the other person is speaking. Remember, you can pause when the other person is done to think about your reply!

Also, be aware of the other person’s body language and tone of voice – that can tell you as much about what they are saying as their words. You can also reflect back what you heard to the person to make sure you understand what was just said: “So you are suggesting that we consolidate these two divisions by this summer, is that right?”

It’s easy to get impatient with others and drive the conversation in the direction you want, but you’ll get more cooperation and a better understanding of the situation if you have the patience and awareness to listen.

If this seems like too much to focus on every day, then try rotating through these three key points – pay attention to your posture one day, your pauses the next, and listening on the third. If you practice daily, you’ll see results before the year is even half over.

Of course, one of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to see yourself on camera, and get feedback from highly-trained professionals. If you are serious about improving your communication skills this year, we offer our flagship program “Present with Confidence” as an in-house program for your team.

If you or your team have a lot of virtual meetings, our Virtual Power Skills program helps participants develop delivery skills that project confidence, credibility, and engage the listener in the virtual environment.