Good Communication Skills Will Help You Find Success
Have you ever noticed how the people that communicate well with their colleagues tend to have more success at work? We have all been around people that we did not communicate well with. We have known people that talk at or down to you or dominate conversations.
We want to avoid these pitfalls and making ourselves more effective and productive. Let’s take a look at some of the keys to communicating effectively in the workplace.
Effective leaders are often good communicators. Leadership exists at all levels of an organization. Leadership can eventually lead to more responsibilities and higher-level positions down the road. Maybe leadership is your end goal. Maybe you just want to be more effective in the workplace. Understanding and fine-tuning your communication skills can take your performance to new levels.
Listening – It is simple advice, but is often hard to do. Especially when you are at work, trying so hard to do things right, get noticed, and maybe even get ahead. Whether you are the new person or the subject matter expert, one of the most effective things you can do when someone comes to you with a problem is to listen. Hear that person out. Avoid interrupting unless absolutely necessary or some clarification is needed. Not only will you be able to absorb more of the information the other person is communicating, but you can help build your own credibility as a leader.
Ask Questions – Spend two-thirds of your time listening and one-third of your time asking the right questions. If you do this, you are probably setting yourself up for success. When done properly, asking questions is often perceived as a safe method of communicating with other people. That’s because by asking a question you are collaborating with them. This often means asking for their help, input or advice.
Provide Feedback and Seek Clarification – One of the most effective communication tools for ensuring you are on the same page with the person you are talking to is to repeat back what you are hearing. This is not about being a parrot. Often, one person says something they think is very clear. Then, the other person hears or perceives it completely different.
By checking with the other person by saying something like, “What I’m hearing you say is…,” may help avoid any miscommunication. It also shows that you were engaged in the conversation and want to genuinely understand the other person’s point of view.
Electronic Communication – Our communication methods have changed dramatically over the last few. With the rise of electronic communication, it is not only about the tone of your voice or body language. We have to be aware of our email and text message etiquette, as well.
Using ALL CAPS! to emphasize a point in an email or text is going to can come across differently depending on the audience and the topic being discussed.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid replying to emails while angry. It is tempting upon receipt of an email that gets you hot under the collar to quickly fire off a reply. The better strategy is to take a few deep breaths and maybe a walk around the office.
If it is something that can be left until after lunch or the following day, that may be even better. Sending angry emails is a bad idea. It can have long-term consequences between co-workers and team members. Be as aware of your email communication etiquette. Use the same rules as how you would like to be approached by someone in-person.
Simplicity and Repetition – Another key to effective communication is to extract complex information into small, easily-understood pieces. This takes practice and expertise.
In most cases, we are only able to explain things well to other people if we know the topic really well ourselves. Do not hesitate to practice your pitch or presentation. Avoid saying in a paragraph what you can get across in a sentence or two.
Another secret effective communicators use is to repeat their talking points. This does two things:
- It emphasizes the key points
- It helps us, as listeners, remember those points
This is not just useful in sales pitches or motivational speeches. Too often in business, presentations get bogged down in the details. There is a large amount of information being thrown at all of us on a daily basis. Being in a presentation that is easy to understand with a memorable take-away is a good use of our time.
Focus – Another important piece to effectively communicating in the workplace is to minimize distractions. Set aside time to meet with someone in-person if needed. Your time and their time will be best used if you are able to focus on that conversation. This will help with not getting distracted by email or phone calls.
We have a large amount of distractions we deal with on a daily basis. You may make the other person’s day by devoting even a small amount of undivided attention to them.
High performers and good leaders tend to also be good communicators.
Communicating in the workplace is complex and there are always going to be minefields to navigate. Being aware of effective practices can always help take your communication to a higher level.