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Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

Experiencing inefficiency at work and in the personal life is the worst feeling that one can face, especially when it is self created.

There comes a phase in majority of us lives when every time we listen to or meet great orators or managers, we tend to feel a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach followed by self consoling thoughts saying that those people were probably just born with the ability or their parents probably had the same glorious skills which passed on to them as well.

Being a perfect communicator comes with time and experience after being in a series of difficult situations. Everyone of us, no matter which geographical area we belong to, more often than not, face similar issues in our career that tend to shape us as either a good communicator or a bad one.

Lacks of communication skills is one of the most misunderstood terms. It is rarely about the language proficiency or how much you fumble when you talk. It is more about how we voice out and react to an unfavorable situation that stands in front of us.

Knowing how to react in a situation helps gives us the confidence that ultimately shapes us as good communicators and even leaders.

In this article, we will be looking at the different situations that we come across everyday, which helps define us as good communicators or bad ones. Along with every situation, we have mentioned a link to the course/website you can visit to better the situation at hand and come out as an expert communicator.

Let’s begin:

1. If you are finding yourself fumbling in a language, try Duolingo.

A number of times what happens is that you lose practice in talking in language A because people around you – at home or at office – talk in language B and so when the time comes to talk in language B, you fumble because of lack of practice.

Nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to voice out what is in your head in so many words from your mouth. So, what is the solution? How do you overcome this brushing up your language issue?

Enroll in a language course on Duolingo.

    I know what you are thinking, why enroll in a course which teaches you a language from scratch? Right? I’ll tell you why.

    Because you have forgotten a language, you have over time lost track of the confidence in your speaking skills. So, enrolling in a course to learn the language from scratch will help you get the confidence back that will come from knowing that you know everything about the language that you’d need to get by in your day.

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    2. If you are unable to let go of bad incidents and it is killing your confidence, try Coursera’s EQ course.

    How many times has it happened with you that after an argument or a disagreement with someone, you were not able to talk to them as confidently as you used to earlier and it shows in your speech, tone, and simply in how you talk to them, even act in front of them?

    It is the doing of your low emotional intelligence quotient. Emotional Intelligence is that part of the personality that deals with making people aware and bringing them in control of their emotions and then channel them in a way that they are able to handle the interpersonal relations more empathetically, ultimately helping you get over and not fret over little things.  

    The solution? Coursera course on Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence. The course teaches you about hope, compassion, and mindfulness that helps in combating stress and build better relationships in the workplace.

      3. If your skills are making you hide in the crowd, upgrade your job skills at Udemy.

      No matter what job profile you are in, there is one given thing – the amount of skill set that you have to do Job A will always be inversely proportional with the skills that the job requires to ultimately help reach the organization’s goal.

      And the moment a new member who has an advanced skill set as compared to you joins your team, or the moment your boss realizes that the skill set it would take to head the job towards better profitability is one that you are missing as of now, it would affect your confidence and ultimately your communication skill.

      Another way to look at this lack of skill set issue is that in the absence of one, you will have nothing to talk about to your management team in your next tete-a-tete.

      So, what should you do? You should upgrade your skill set. There are websites like Udemy that will help you upgrade your job skill to another level.

        4. If email and Skype etiquettes are killing your confidence, use these online tools.

        If being an expert communicator is Mt. Everest, becoming a good orator is base camp one and perfecting your written communication skill is another mountain to climb altogether.

        When we talk about communication in a workplace, the instances where your oral communication skills are tested would be a lot less than the instances where you will have to write proper, concise emails or messages through the official communication mode.

        Even though it might sound a lot less important than perfecting your oral communication skills, wait till you write long unexplanatory subject lines or even worse, 3 words’ mystery subject lines in the assumption that the receiver will be enticed into opening your mail – Both being major blunders.

        So what should be done?

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        No website can teach you to write. But there are websites that can teach you how to write better and error proof.

        Here’s a list of tools to help you with that – 7 Online Tools that Improve Your Business Writing

        5. If giving PowerPoint presentations in meetings is stressing you out, sign up for Udemy’s presentation course.

        A time comes in every employee’s corporate life when they are made to stand at the center point of a room and deliver a presentation to their in-house team or their clients. If it still hasn’t happened to you yet, give it time. It will.

        It is not uncommon for worst case scenarios to run over your mind before the very minute you are going to take center position and deliver the presentation. There are so many things that can go wrong – you might fumble, you might pronounce something wrong, someone might ask you a question you have no answer of, or the audience might yawn because the presentation was that boring.

        The possibility of things going wrong are numerous. But the fact remains that with the right amount of practice, you might not face any of the presentation delivery challenges.

        In a busy office day, it is common for people to get the feeling that they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything they want and deliver a mesmerizing powerpoint presentation.

        Udemy’s course titled – PowerPoint Presentations: Deliver a Non-Boring Presentation, is just for the busy office goers. The course offers practical steps for the presenters to draft, memorize, and deliver PowerPoint presentations that don’t bore the audiences.

        6. When you have an angry customer on phone and you are going speechless, try Lynda’s course about dealing with customers.

        Everyone of you who have been in sales or is a Doctor or a Lawyer basically anyone who has ever dealt with an angry/unhappy customer whose issues have not been addressed, would relate to this.

        There are so many unfavorable situations that can come up when you are in a business where you are made to deal with a client or vendor or with someone who can have an impact on your business while not being present in-house.

        The situation leading to disagreement or frustrations can either be your doing or it might result from something purely circumstantial. Either of which way it emerges, the end result of both – Angry Customer – is something that you have to deal with, tactfully.

        You will have to prepare yourself in a way that you don’t end up saying or acting in a certain way to make the customer even angrier.

        While following a proactive approach and role playing the different situations that can emerge can help you greatly, there is a course, being offered by Lynda.com that can help you with preparing for the situation more easily.

        Lynda.com, a sister concern of LinkedIn has come up with a Course on Dealing with Difficult Customers, to help you get some perspective into what can be done in situations like these.

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          7. When you are avoiding situations and letting the conflicts foster, try Communicaid.

          Whether you are working as part of a diverse team or whether everyone in your team share the similar skillset as you, conflicts are bound to emerge.

          No matter how much we as part of a team, try to ignore the situations there will be times where disagreements between two people or within a team would rise to a level that it converts into a conflict.

          There is one thing to be clear of when it comes to conflicts – they will happen, no matter how badly you try to prevent them. What is in your control is to manage them in a way that they don’t get out of hand and affect productivity.

          Here’s a course on Managing Conflict by Communicaid, which will come in handy the next time you are finding yourself staring at a conflict.

            8. If you face difficulty with cracking deals in your favor, try Impact Factory’s course.

            In your career, there will be a number of instances where you will have to reach at an agreement with people that favors you. The discussion can be between your in-house teams or with your vendors or even your clients at times.

            The ideal scenario where both you and the other person in the picture get the best out of the deal is generally rare. More often than not, you both will mutually have to come to a point where you are able to arrive at a position whether none of you are compromising.

            Arriving at a situation where you get your fair share while the person in front of you is not at loss too with just your words is a lot more difficult than what it reads in the books.

            Practicing good negotiation skill is the one capability that comes in handy on not just the professional front but also in your everyday life. Once you master the negotiation centric communication, you will find yourself conversing with a lot more confidence in the office space.

            To help you in this department, enroll in the Negotiation Course by Impact Factory. The course structure is designed to teach the necessary skills that would prepare you to negotiate in a way that is best suited for achieving your goal.

            9. If you have difficulty holding a productive meeting, try Udemy’s productive meetings course.

            Holding meetings is an art. Not everyone can organize a meeting and then get the team to respond the way they want to.

            There are a number of factors that affect the outcome of a meeting – the time and place of the meeting, the agenda, the participants, etc. And as someone who is handling the meeting, even a single ounce of disinterest is enough to shake the confidence and bring an increase in the probability of making a mistake on the communication front.

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            What helps in a situation like this is a course that would teach you the exact steps that guarantees happening of a productive meeting.

            A course that would help you with exactly this is Udemy’s Meeting Management: How to Lead & Master Productive MeetingsThe course is structured around giving you insights into how to transform a boring meeting into a productive one.

              10. If what you are communicating through your body posture is not in sync with your words, take Alison’s communication course.

              Any talk on communication will be incomplete without a mention of non-verbal communication or your body language. The saying that action speaks louder than words holds true on so many fronts, especially in a competitive environment like an office space.

              There’s a lot that people perceive about you and what you perceive about people from the way they sit, stand, smile, shake hands, and even look at you.

              While on one hand you shouldn’t be overly friendly to allow people to not take you seriously, you shouldn’t keep a firm tone as well so that you come across as a stubborn, my way or the highway colleague.

              A number of times, we fall prey to the classic ‘this is not what I meant’ swirl and more often than not is the doing of how our body acts when we are having a dialogue – something that when not checked can affect the interpersonal relationships in a way that you cannot even imagine.

              The solution of this lack of syncness between what you say and what your body language portrays is something that needs to be corrected as early in your career as possible.

              There are a number of courses related to perfecting the nonverbal communication skills available on the internet, the one that is performing well in terms of best result is Alison.com course on Communication Skills – Perception and Nonverbal Communication.

              The bottom line

              Have a look at the course structure and see if it is aligned with what you are hoping to achieve.

              When it comes to bettering your communication skills, never put your concentrated focus on learning how to speak a language more fluently, instead learn how to tackle different situations. It is your preparation to tackle different situations that will give you the confidence when the time comes and better your communication automatically.

              When it comes to situations where you need to showcase your communication skills, chances are they won’t be restricted to these ten, there will a lot more. But, as you are starting on this journey of being a good communicator, these ten situations are the perfect starting points for you to get confidence and ultimately become a better communicator

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Tripti Rai

              Tripti works in a mobile app development agency and shares about work and productivity tips related to technology.

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              Last Updated on August 12, 2020

              When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

              When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

              Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

              In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

              How to Listen to Your Gut

              The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

              Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

              1. Tune Into Your Body

              Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

              However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

              Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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              Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

              In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

              2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

              Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

              There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

              3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

              Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

              As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

              This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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              4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

              As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

              Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

              5. Challenge Your Assumptions

              When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

              In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

              A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

              6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

              Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

              There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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              Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

              Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

              Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

              We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

              The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

              We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

              7. Trust Yourself

              It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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              Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

              If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

              The Bottom Line

              The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

              Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

              More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

              Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
              [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
              [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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