Applying the Communication Skills Together

The previous chapters have covered the key communication skills needed to be an effective communicator, especially in English-language business settings. Developing the five skills (Speak Up Without Hesitation, Jump In & Tell Me More, Disagree Smoothly, Proactive Participation, and Control the Conversation) takes dedicated practice. However, the payoff makes it worth the effort: skilled communicators have increased confidence, stronger relationships, higher visibility, and greater influence at work!

From Five To One: Creating a Global Skill

Ultimately, the goal is to combine all of these individual skills into one cohesive global skill: the ability to communicate with impact. Just like riding a bicycle requires integrating the skills of balancing, pedaling, braking, steering, and being aware of your surroundings, masterful communication means fluidly bringing together all five skills.

The good news is that you can practice applying these skills in your native language at work, at home with family, and in other everyday situations. Developing the communication “DNA” simply requires continuous practice across all the component skills.

It’s worth reiterating that improving your communication abilities is about much more than just language fluency. As one past participant commented, “I am now convinced that the problem is not language, but communication.” The techniques and mindset shifts covered in this book are relevant for everyone, regardless of their English level.

Leverage Support to Go Farther

Don’t go alone on this learning journey. Get support from your colleagues, both those who share your native language, and those who do not. For non-native speaking coworkers, you are showing trust in them by asking for their help, which can deepen your relationship.

Use the mindset of “nemawashi.” This means quietly laying the groundwork for an initiative by getting buy-in from stakeholders. Let them know you are working on becoming a more confident, proactive communicator. See if they are open to you pausing to confirm your understanding during conversations and meetings. Reassure them that you would appreciate the same courtesy if the language situation was reversed.

When first practicing the skills, start with easier one-on-one scenarios before moving into larger group settings. Observe how others apply the skills, as many of the techniques like speaking slowly and structuring points are universal across languages and cultures.

Learning is Easy, Internalizing is Hard

While the skills and concepts may seem straightforward, internalizing them into natural habits takes time and effort. Learning about a skill like Speak Up No Hesitation is relatively easy. But truly internalizing that skill—making it a seamless part of how you communicate without having to think about it—is challenging.

You have to keep practicing and implementing the techniques repeatedly for them to become second nature. Practice is required to keep and continuously improve each skill.

This process of taking a skill from conscious learning to unconscious mastery can be frustrating at times. Backsliding is normal: using old habits in certain situations can be automatic! The key is having patience, expecting gradual progress, and giving yourself grace through the journey of internalization. With commitment, these vital communication capabilities will become authentic parts of how you engage.

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Impact Your Business & Your Career

The benefits of improving communication skills are both individual and organizational. On a personal level, speaking up more will increase your visibility and enable you to develop stronger relationships. As you gain skills in engaging discussions, you’ll project more confidence and have a greater ability to influence decisions that impact your work.

When you can promote ideas persuasively and facilitate productive meetings, you demonstrate leadership qualities that create better team dynamics and atmosphere. This raises your level of corporate influence and prioritizes your team’s initiatives.

Ultimately, teams and organizations with stronger communicators make better decisions, operate more efficiently, provide better customer experiences, and avoid costs and missed revenue opportunities stemming from communication mishaps and misunderstandings.

As the examples, data, and feedback from past participants illustrate, the challenges of being perceived as too quiet or too aggressive in communication style can have very real business consequences. By meeting in the middle, you can strike the right balance of confidence, clarity and considerateness that makes you maximally effective.

The path to communicating with impact requires ongoing practice across a range of scenarios and settings. But armed with the right techniques and mindset, you have everything needed to develop this vital comprehensive skill. The investment will pay dividends for yourself and your organization.

Ready to learn more? Check out our email course on the 4 levels of Business Communication. 

If you’ve read this far, please contact me! I would appreciate your feedback and to learn how I can help you more!

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