Communication. The one skill you should improve.

Dr. Clara Herdeanu
3 min readMay 20, 2020

“Good words are worth much and cost little”

Even though the Welsh poet George Herbert gave this advice in the 17th century, it is still highly relevant in today’s 21st century. And it’s one more reason to improve your communication skills. Here’s what you can do about it.

1. Read, read, read…a lot!

If you haven’t started reading yet do it now! It will give you insights into bright minds and will broaden your horizon but it will also help you to become more eloquent by enlarging your vocabulary. Another side-effect: You’ll get in touch with new ideas that allow you to enter great discussions.

And you don’t have to read only scientific articles or management books — on the contrary: Read great fiction like Game of Thrones, classics like Lev Tolstoi, sci-fi authors like Douglas Adams, or even fairy tales. Just read! And in case you don’t know where to start — check out the famous reading lists by Bill Gates or Barack Obama.

2. The Sense of Style

Speaking of reading: Take a look at Steven Pinker’s famous book “The Sense of Style which shows you in an enjoyable way how writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right. He not only gives you useful background information but also offers practical advice.

3. Proof-reading and peer-review process

Always, always proof-read your writing! But you have to trick your brain to catch your errors. We usually aren’t able to find the typos in our own writing because we know it too well. Therefore, you should try to make your writing as unfamiliar as possible by changing the color, font, or by printing it out.

Better yet: Don’t be ashamed to ask a friend or colleague to review your writing — especially highly important texts. It doesn’t mean you’re not qualified. Every one of us just makes mistakes.

Asking a trusted friend to „monitor“ your oral communication can also help you to become more conscious about the way you speak, the words you use, and any eccentric habits you might have.

And in case you’re afraid of speaking to people: Even a successful man like Warren Buffet admitted that in his early years he was terrified of public speaking. He acknowledged his fears and did everything to change them — e.g. taking a public speaking course. Having professional support and receiving expert feedback will give your communications skills a boost.

4. Go beyond the limits of your language

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein so famously stated. Therefore, if you want to widen your horizon and your world, start learning a new language — or dive deep into your native tongue.

Nothing makes you learn your own language more than trying to explain to a foreigner why you use certain idioms or grammatical constructions in your native tongue. You have to reflect on the grammatical structures and choices of vocabulary which will help you to use your language more consciously.

5. Use on- and offline tools in a smart way

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to use smart tools — even though this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your own brainpower anymore. One great digital tool which can help you spot errors in written communication is the AI-powered online tool Grammarly.

Another fantastic tool is the classical thesaurus which will help you to improve your vocabulary by finding synonyms as well as antonyms — and the best part about it: You can either use a digital version like thesaurus.com or also the “classical” book version.

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Dr. Clara Herdeanu

Passionate about language & media — Sprache, Macht, Medien / PhD in linguistics / PR professional / Loving music / ScientistsForFuture /www.sprachrealitaet.de