Tips for improving communication skills include being an engaged listener, eliminating distractions and asserting yourself. Engaged listening involves asking questions and reflecting back, summing up what the speaker said to ensure you have the correct idea and information, paying attention to tone and body language and setting aside personal judgement. It helps to affirm interest by giving a nod, occasional "uh huh" or "that's interesting." Listening with the right ear helps with language processing and emotional understanding in the brain.
Eliminate distractions by putting away your phone and turning off the television. Keep internal distractions and stress in check by cultivating your ability to remain calm and relaxed. Leave a pause before giving a response or in the middle of a complex idea if time to reflect is needed. Be sure to speak clearly and give a summary after sharing a complex idea.
Improve assertiveness by valuing your self, emotions, thoughts and opinions, and be sure to express them. Cultivate the knowledge that people do disagree and that it's alright; it is important that respect be maintained amongst conversing parties. Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes if you are having a disagreement, and attempt to get to the root of their point of view without negative escalating emotions.