Whatever the type of industry you work in, the ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and staff is essential. As a worker in this modern age, you must know how to communicate via phone, email, and social media. Most of us spend the majority of our day communicating with people at work, but we rarely stop and think about whether or not we’re actually good at communication. When it comes to the workplace, success is not only dependent on how hard you could work but how sometimes on how well you can communicate with others. Good communication could bring you more success than you think.
Here are ten communication skills you should know about workplace success;
1. Understand Non-verbal Communication
Body language, eye contact, hand gestures and tone all have an effect on how your message is received. A relaxed, open stance and a friendly tone will make you appear more approachable and help people feel more comfortable speaking candidly with you.
Also, pay attention to other people’s non-verbal signals while you are talking. Often, non-verbal signals convey how a person is really feeling. For example, if the person is not looking you in the eye, he or she might be uncomfortable or hiding the truth.
2. Be a Good Listener
The better you listen, the better you are at communication. Before you respond, make sure you’ve heard and digested what someone is saying. Don’t just wait for their mouth to stop moving to make your point.
Listening during a conversation can be as important if not more important than the words you bring to your interactions. Oftentimes people come into a conversation only thinking of their contribution, about what they plan to say. In formulating those words, the other half of the conversation – the part you should be listening to, gets lost.
Active listening involves paying attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the other person says to make sure you understood. You may find that your responses become more appropriate for having listening more carefully.
A good communicator should enter into any conversation with a flexible, open mind. Be open to listening to and understanding the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting your message across. By being willing to enter into a dialogue, even with people with whom you disagree, you will be able to have more honest, productive conversations.
Through a friendly tone, a personal question, or simply a smile, your co-workers will feel more comfortable speaking to you openly, and honestly. This can be important in both face-to-face communication and written communication. Personalizing your messages in email, even, may help the recipients become more receptive to the rest of the text – a simple “Have a great weekend!” can go a long way.
5. Match the message to the medium
If you’re better via email, don’t try to have that important progress update in your boss’s office before you’ve had your coffee or settled down well. If it’s a sticky situation that requires a nuanced approach, don’t just send a flat-toned email when you could finesse the situation with a well-managed in-person conversation. Figure out what it is you have to get across, then choose the medium that suits that message best. People will appreciate your thoughtful means of communication and will be more likely to respond positively to you.
6. Make meetings matter more
So many meetings leave us feeling we could have better spent that time. Demand better! Set an agenda, keep to the scheduled time, don’t invite unnecessary people. Make sure every meeting is productive enough to justify every attendee taking the time and resources from their workload.
Exuding confidence can be as simple as maintaining eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone. Be cognizant of inflection – be careful your statements do not come out sounding like questions. Naturally, it’s important to be confident without seeming arrogant or aggressive.
8. Clarity and Concision
Good verbal communication means saying just enough – don’t talk too much or too little. Try to convey your message in as few words as possible. Say what you want clearly and directly, whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email. If you ramble on, your listener will either tune you out or will be unsure of exactly what you want.
People will be more comfortable communicating with you if you convey your respect for them and their ideas. Using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening to a person speaks makes them feel appreciated. If you’re on the phone with this person, avoid distractions – stay off Facebook, try to get a quiet area, and stay focused on the conversation. Convey respect via email by editing your message for grammatical and spelling errors.
10. Keep it positive
No matter how stressed you are, or how fraught the conversation, try to stay positive. Put your team first. And never make it personal—keep your focus on the professional. Earn a reputation and respect.
Good communication skills are essential regardless of where you work. Start learning now and you’ll be in for a much easier and more enjoyable career.