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Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

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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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              More by this author

              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 July 20, 2021

              How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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              How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

              You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

              Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

              Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

              Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

              1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

              According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

              “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

              Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

              Warming up

              If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

              If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

              Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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              1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
              2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
              3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

              Stay hydrated

              Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

              To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

              Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

              Meditate

              Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

              Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

              Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

              Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

              2. Focus on your goal

              One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

              Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

              Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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              Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

              If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

              3. Convert negativity to positivity

              There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

              ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

              It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

              Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

              Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

              Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

              4. Understand your content

              Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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              However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

              “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

              Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

              Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

              One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

              5. Practice makes perfect

              Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

              In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

              Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

              6. Be authentic

              There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

              Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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              Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

              To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

              With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

              Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

              7. Post speech evaluation

              Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

              Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

              We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

              You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

              Improve your next speech

              As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

              Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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              • How did I do?
              • Are there any areas for improvement?
              • Did I sound or look stressed?
              • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
              • Was I saying “um” too often?
              • How was the flow of the speech?

              Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

              If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

              Reference

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