How to improve communication skills in the workplace discusses six tips you can use today to be a better communicator at work. The video discusses these tips in details. However, if you prefer to read, the summary is below.
Communication is a conversation or interaction between you and someone else, or between you and a group of people. To have effective communication, it's important that people listen and understand what you mean. It's equally essential that you listen and understand what they mean. Here are six tips on how to improve your communication skills in the workplace.
1. Be Clear With Your Message.
It's not another person's job to infer what you mean. It's not the other person's job to figure out what you're trying to say. You must be clear with your message. State your opinions clearly. Express your likes or dislikes clearly. You can't just wish that'd people know what you mean. You can't just hope that they get what you mean. It is your responsibility to ensure your message is received and interpreted as you intended.
2. Listen Actively
It is essential you listen actively to what the other person is saying all the time. Don't get caught up in your own world, thinking of the next thing you need to say without listening to the others.
You want to pick up on the nonverbal cues that the other person is giving through their intonation, expressions, and body language. Listen actively so you can understand what the other person is trying to communicate.
3. Use Body Language To Communicate.
When you are communicating with other people, you don't want them to think you're a closed up and unwelcoming. You want them to know you are interested in what they have to say.
You want to show that you are listening to them. It's important to show your interest because people can't read minds, they can only see what you do. When communicating in the workplace, you need to show that other people's opinion is as important as yours.
You wouldn't want to chat with someone that seems not to have time for you, neither would you like it if they looked distracted while you are speaking to them. Therefore, when interacting with other people give them your full attention. Suspend your writing, except you need to take a quick note.
Observe the body language of the others too.
For example, if you're in a presentation and you notice people are beginning to scratch their heads or look like they have a question, that may be a good time to pause to find out what they are thinking. You need to find out what they are not saying.
Sometimes, it may be an indication that you're going too far. Maybe you're giving an opinion on something, and the person you speaking with isn't receiving it well. It may be a good idea to back off, and regroup before you resume speaking.
So watching the body language of the other person gives you a clue on what your next steps should be. It is an important key when thinking of how to improve communication skills in the workplace.
4. Control Your Emotions.
It is easy to get emotional when someone says something to you that feels like a personal jab. However, it's important to demonstrate your professionalism and to maintain your cool at such times. You may need to correct some misperceptions, but you need to do it calmly. Don't let your emotions get the upper hand so that you don't lose control and ruin your personal reputation.
For example, someone says something to you that is distasteful, and you go into a fit of rage, saying things you would regret later. If you allow your emotions to take charge, especially those emotions that are negative, you end up causing more harm than good.
It's equally important to control your excitement as well. Depending on the group, you don't want to be overly excited. You want to give a comparable emotional response to the group or to the person that you're speaking to.
5. Learn background information
Learn everything about the people you work with that would help you connect and communicate with them better. Find out about their perspective on business issues that connects you. The information you learn would help you when preparing for your meetings and presentations.
Be conscious of the emotions that they've recently gone through. For example, have they gone through a recent loss or they have actually gone through a recent success? If they've gone through any recent loss, obviously they may be more apprehensive and critical of your work. When you know some of these emotions that they've gone through, you will be better prepared to interact with them.
Let me give an example.
You want to present the need for your organization to invest in new software. If they had a bad experience with another software before, of course when you present your own ideas, they will be more cynical. They will bring up every reason why it may not work. If you know about the previous loss ahead of time, you can get all the facts to counter the criticism. You would understand that they're coming from an angle of loss, and you would be better prepared to convince them.
6. Speak The Language Of Your Audience.
This is a vital key. Speak in the way that would resonate with the other person, or with the other group you're trying to persuade. Find out the things that generally gets them excited. Learn the phrases that resonate with them.
If you're talking to someone that you know is into financial planning or into accounting, they talk profits and income. If you are talking with an HR professional, they about employee retention, job satisfaction, and onboarding costs. Look for the things that would make them perk their ears up when they hear you speak and you will get their attention.
Don't just go to someone and say "Hey, I got an idea". Instead, give them a little more specific details that will get them interested to hear from you. "Hey, I got an idea that would decrease the cost of onboarding. I will send you an email to set up a time when we can discuss it in details. Is that okay with you?" Of course, an HR professional would be eager to listen to you.
So when you speaking with people, find out those things that resonate with them. Don't just come up with an idea that sounds good to you but make sure it sounds good and has a benefit to the person you're speaking to.