Employers, teachers and professors have complained for years that there has been a sharp decrease in the ability of Americans to communicate effectively. Writing skills for students have fallen through the floor, and college writing centers are staffed with the very students who would once have been told by their professors to make use of the writing center themselves.
Written communication is not the only method of communication that has suffered in recent years. Both oral and presentation skills have declined as well. Plenty of college graduates truly believe that the only real way to give a presentation is to put together a text-heavy PowerPoint and read the bullet points to their audience. Basic conversation skills have also suffered. Many people have no idea how to actually hold a conversation with a stranger. As such, daily interactions with coworkers can be painfully awkward, and dates are not much better. Everyone has experienced the terrifying moment on a date when they suddenly have no idea what to say to the person sitting across from them. Those moments of drawn out silence, however, last longer and longer anymore. People give one word answers to even the people they claim to want to get to know.
Communication skills seem to be a dying art, but why is that? Why has it become an unusual talent to be able to hold a simple conversation with a stranger? Part of the reason is that there are a variety of common habits that can negatively impact a person’s communication skill. Here are five ways you are hurting your ability to communicate.