Communication is an essential part of any relationship. Whether you’re talking to your significant other, coworkers, or friends, we’ve all had moments where our communication style needs a tune-up. There are many ways to improve your communication skills and make them more effective for you and for those around you, but these seven skills will help you get started.

Put your eye on the ball

When you communicate, your eye should be focused on the ball. When you’re in a conversation with someone, keep your eye on the ball by focusing your attention on what they are saying and not what you want them to think or do. This is easier said than done, but it’s a skill that’s worth practicing.

Think about your audience

The first step in improving your communication skills is to think about your audience. What do they want? What are their expectations? Knowing the answers will help you avoid making any mistakes and adjust your style to make sure you’re on the same page as them.

In a conversation, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that people have different communication styles. For example, some people like to talk about feelings while others like to clarify information. There are many different ways that people communicate, so it’s important to understand what your audience wants from you before talking and responding.

Ask for clarity

One of the best ways to improve your effective communication skills is by learning how to ask for clarity. When you’re communicating with someone, it’s easy to assume that they understand what you’re trying to say, but sometimes they really don’t. This can make conversations frustrating and create a lot of tension. So, how do you know when someone needs more clarity? You may want to try asking questions like “Can you tell me more about that?” or “What did I mean?”

Listen with intent

Listening with intent is all about being present in the conversation and really taking in what your counterpart is saying. Some people might be inclined to take part in a conversation, but they’re not really listening. They’re only thinking about their next thought. When you listen with intent, you give your counterpart your undivided attention and are fully focused on the conversation. It’s important to ask questions to make sure that you understand what they’re trying to say.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s not about ignoring your own feelings for someone else; it’s about understanding how they feel. When you learn to empathize, you’ll be able to establish trust with others by putting yourself in their shoes and giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Offer empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand how someone else is feeling. It’s not necessarily about trying to figure out what someone else wants or needs, but rather understanding that they are human and their feelings matter. It’s important in relationships because it lets the other person know that you’re listening and care about them.

If your partner tells you they’re stressed, try giving them a hug or letting them talk for a little bit without interrupting. If you’re friends, share something personal and let them know you’re there for them if they need anything at all. You can offer empathy by simply saying “I see where you’re coming from” or “I hear what you’re saying.”

Practice, practice, practice

The first and most important step to improving your communication skills is practice. It’s cliché, but it’s true. If you want to improve your communication skills, don’t just think about it or talk about it, actually do the work.

Start with a journaling exercise where you set a timer for 15 minutes and reflect on what you’ve been doing well and what you need to improve. Then, take some time to brainstorm specific things that will help you perfect these 7 skills.