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Self-Esteem & Effective Communication Skills

By Van Thompson ; Updated June 13, 2017

Your communication style can alter the way people perceive you, either increasing or decreasing your opportunities for employment, romance and friends. People with high self-esteem tend to have better communication skills. People with low self-esteem may struggle with communication, making it difficult for them to develop strong relationships and further lowering their self-esteem.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication is the ability to clearly express your needs in a way that is neither excessively aggressive nor unduly conciliatory. Assertive people have better luck negotiating job terms, communicating needs to their partners and managing conflict. However, low self-esteem can undermine assertive communication, according to East Bay Counseling Choices. This can cause people who already struggle with their self-esteem to get fewer needs met, potentially lowering their self-esteem even more.

Friendliness and Extraversion

According to a 2001 study published in the "Journal of Research in Personality," extroverted people tend to have higher self-esteem. Extraversion can make it easier for people to approach strangers, talk in large groups and appear friendly. This can cause others to perceive extroverts more positively, potentially further boosting their self-esteem. People with low self-esteem may be anxious about talking to unfamiliar people and more uncomfortable in group settings.

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Body Language

According to a 2010 study published in "Obesity Facts," self-esteem can play a role in body language. The study found that obese women with low self-esteem were more likely to exhibit "closed" body language, providing less information to observers via their physical communication. Closed body language includes crossing your arms or "guarding" your body by hunching over to make yourself appear smaller and less assuming. People who struggle with low self-esteem may exhibit anxious or inappropriate body language that can alter how others perceive them. They may struggle with eye contact, fidget during conversation, or indulge in nervous habits such as nail-biting.

Internet Communication

Internet communication is an increasingly important part of work and social life. According to a 2005 study published in "CyberPsychology and Behavior," people with low self-esteem are more likely to misrepresent themselves online. Another study, published in the "Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication" in 2008, found that some people with low self-esteem use the Internet as a way to compensate. These people may try to become "popular" online, which means the Internet can help serve as an alternative communication channel for people who struggle with in-person communication.

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