How to perfect your workplace communication skills
We’ve spoken about the key role communication can play in maintaining lasting business relationships, but it’s equally as important to foster effective communication within the office environment itself. Poor communication, or a lack thereof, can result in misunderstandings, frustration and ultimately, poor performance by employees, and this can lead to high turnover rates.
A productive work space is heavily dependent on how people interact with one another and communicate, therefore measures need to be taken to prevent breakdowns in both of these vital areas. Brush up on your communication skills by remembering these tips the next time you need to convey information to your colleagues.
Keep things short and sweet
This isn’t always easy to do, but trying to keep all communication concise and to the point is key. Take the time to organise your thoughts and formulate communication that is clear and concise – the last thing people want is to sift through reams and reams of information to get to what you’re really trying to say.
Actions speak louder than words
When it comes to communication, this doesn’t only include the written and verbal kind, but also body language. Your physical reactions to situations and people can be very telling, so it’s important to be aware of the messages that your body is sending out to those around you. Everything from your facial expressions, to your position in relation to those you’re engaging with as well as your posture, can say a lot. Physical responses can be powerful so be sure yours are telling the story you’re wanting to tell.
Digital etiquette is a real thing
We live in a digital age and therefore nowadays, most of our forms of communication are done through digital portals. Whilst it may be the most common, it is also notorious for being responsible for the most communication disasters. That’s why before sending any written communication, make sure that it has a professional tone and is free of any grammatical or spelling errors. Another helpful tip is to avoid responding immediately, especially when you’re feeling upset or angry – rather step away for a bit, cool down and give yourself time to think about your response before sending it.
Don’t be hasty
This definitely leads on from the previous point: it’s better to avoid knee-jerk reactions. When emotions are running high, we can very often behave irrationally, so to prevent yourself from doing anything you’ll regret, push the pause button. You’ll be able to communicate more effectively after you’ve had time to consider the scenario and react accordingly, with a level head.
Don’t forget to listen
There’s nothing worse than feeling like the person you’re talking to isn’t listening to anything you’re actually saying. There is a difference between hearing and listening, and when it comes to effective communication, the latter is more important. Instead of focussing on the point you’re trying to make, rather give your full attention to the person speaking and try and really listen to the words. When you properly listen, you digest and internalise things better, leading you to make and deliver more informed decisions and thoughtful responses.
Everyone has their own way of communicating, particularly in the workspace. Different departments are bound to have their own “culture”, so in order to feel like you’re communicating effectively with them, take some time to observe. This will give you some insight into how things get done and hopefully make it easier for you to interact positively with people.
Extra tip: It can also be worthwhile teaching the fundamentals of good communication to all employees through specialised programmes. Not everyone has communication skills naturally, and therefore training can really benefit them.
There are certain vital elements required in order for a productive work environment to exist, and effective communication is one of them. The power of successful communication should not be underestimated and in fact, should be prioritised in all work spaces across all industries.
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