How to improve communication at work
Being able to communicate what you’re thinking and feeling clearly and with impact is a skill that can really take you places at work, and in life generally.
The way you communicate with others is something that’s been developed over years of schooling and watching those around you, but it’s not always something we really put effort into…it just sort of happens.
So, here’s our challenge to you. Check out our top 5 tips for improving your communication style and put them into practice for two weeks – we bet you’ll notice a difference in the way people react to you, treat you and how they behave when they’re around you.
Tip 1 - Body language can speak louder than words
Picture this. Someone at work is approaching you. Their arms are crossed, they’re avoiding eye contact, and their brow is furrowed. What kind of news do you expect them to delivery to you? Not good, right? And, what if it was good news? Would you believe them based on the way they looked? Hmmm.
Positive, open, thoughtful body language is almost as powerful as the words that come out of your mouth.
Tip 2 – Location, location, location
How you communicate with someone is just as important as where you do it. Imagine delivering some feedback to a work mate when others are in earshot. They’re not going to take it well and will probably only remember that they felt embarrassed or put on the spot in front of others.
Think carefully about the most appropriate place and time to communicate with someone.
Tip 3 – Hey, are you listening?
Communicating is a two-way street. If you’re waiting until it’s your turn to speak instead of really listening to what the other person is saying – then you’ve probably already lost them.
Remember to be present and in the moment when having a conversation with someone. It’s sounds so simple but is the single most important factor in a successful communication.
Tip 4 – No, an email or text just won’t do
In a world full of smart phones, actually talking to someone is pretty easy to avoid. The problem with texting, emailing and messaging is that all non-verbal cues like body language and eye contact go missing.
Don’t get us wrong…shooting a quick text or jumping on your favourite messaging app is quick and convenient. But when you need communicate something important, sad, difficult or confronting it’s time to “suck it up” and pick up the phone – or even better – make it face to face. You’ll be glad you did.
Tip 5 – Fools rush in
Thinking before you speak or return an email can sometimes save you a whole lot of angst. Nobody’s perfect…and that means you might be on the receiving end of some poor communication. A totally normal reaction is to become sad, angry, upset or frustrated. Before you smash out that reply or storm over to them if a head full of steam, take a moment. Get perspective on the topic – is it really THAT bad? You’re in control of the way you feel. If it helps, type out what you’d really like to say…go to town…then delete it.
Going into any communication with a rational mind will always end better.
Interested in more tips for communicating better in the workplace? Check out our Confident Communicator short course.