We are human beings. We thrive off of the energy of interacting with others. In many aspects of life, communication is key. Take a moment to think about how many times miscommunication negatively impacted your day, whether with your friends, children, family, or at work. Proper communication ensures everyone is on the same page and allows things to flow a little easier.
The ability to communicate in a professional manner can take you a long way in your career as well as your personal life. How you communicate with your colleagues needs careful consideration to ensure clarity and professionalism. For instance, are you using the right medium to communicate? How quickly should you follow up?
Tips for Developing your Communication Skills
- Listen: Communication in the workplace, and in life in general, isn’t simply you doing the talking. A great deal of communication involves you listening to other people. One misstep people make is that when someone else is talking, they tend to only be thinking about what they want to say when it’s their turn to talk again, and therefore they are not fully listening to what is being said to them. That’s when key information is missed.
- Pay Attention to What You Are Saying Without Saying It: Communication isn’t just about talking. A great deal of it is not done verbally. We communicate so much just with the expression on our faces, the gestures we make, and the way that we stand or sit. When interacting with others, always put your best self forward. Make direct eye contact, stand tall or sit up straight, and give firm handshakes.
- Know Your Audience: Have you ever taken notice as to what communication method provides you with the best response? For instance, does your boss not respond to your emails, but gives instant feedback when you stop by her office? Or maybe you have a colleague that takes forever to look at the drafts you email them. Have you considered printing the materials and giving him a hard copy to look at? Figure out how your coworkers like to receive information, you’ll find things move along more smoothly.
- Remember The Message Sent Isn’t Always The Message Received: Everyone conceptualizes things differently, and not everything comes across how we intend. Many difficult situations can arise from making incorrect assumptions, especially in an email or a text message. In these situations, we often find ourselves interpreting a negative tone of voice where there is none. Take a step back, and ask for clarification if you need it.
- Get to the Point: Everyone is busy. Sometimes background information is needed; other times, it isn’t. Make sure you are concise and clear in what your expectations are in your messaging, and you will see a quick turnaround in the results. In addition to being direct, keep tips 3 and 4 in mind with this one. Some people may appreciate a little small talk or respond better with a change in tone.
By mastering these five simple communication strategies you can ensure that you are a key communicator in your office!