Communication is the key to personal and professional success, and in the workplace, it boosts employee morale, productivity, and satisfaction. It is also vital to collaborative and harmonious teamwork and enhances the quality of employee-leader relationships.
1 – Listen actively
People like to be heard in full, so the next time you find yourself in a conversation, practice active listening.
This technique requires that you listen attentively to what is being said and respond in a way that reflects your attention and understanding.
Note that active listening is not hearing the words spoken but determining the overall meaning of the message that is being communicated.
You can let the person know you are listening to them with occasional nods, short comments, paraphrasing, or other subtle cues.
2 – Consider body language
Since around 55% of all communication is non-verbal, it is important to pay attention to both your own body language and the body language of the person you are communicating with.
For a message to be conveyed clearly and authentically, verbal communication must be aligned with non-verbal communication.
What do your eye contact, posture, tone of voice, and facial expressions say about your level of engagement and professionalism?
3 – Simplify and be specific
Adhere to the KISS principle wherever possible.
Prepare in advance, devote time to only the most salient points, and do not include any information that is off-topic or irrelevant.
4 – Maintain eye contact
Maintaining eye contact does not mean staring into the other person’s eyes indefinitely.
Aim for eye contact 80% of the time, or around 4 in every 5 seconds.
Compliment your eye contact with hand gestures to project more confidence.
5 – Avoid assumptions
Communication in the workplace is often hindered by leaders who make assumptions about subordinates.
If there are concerns over the performance or behavior of an employee, avoid jumping to conclusions about the cause.
Instead, create a non-confrontational environment where the employee feels safe to voice their concerns and a solution can be devised.
6 – Learn communication styles
Some teams prefer to use Slack, while others prefer email. Learn these communication styles and adapt the message to suit.
Forbes also found that Millennial employees detest talking on the phone, with around 68% preferring to communicate via text.
7 – Seek feedback
Routinely ask your manager or colleagues for an appraisal of your communication skills.
To start, ask them to rate a list of skills on a scale of 1 to 10. Then, pose the following questions:
- What is one thing I can do to communicate better?
- What is one thing I should stop doing?
- What is one communication skill I can work on to benefit the organization most?
8 – Remember the person on the other end
Remote work is probably here to stay, but it is still important to show up for the other person as if the interaction were face-to-face.
To that end, don’t rely on text-based communication or other forms where tone of voice, facial expressions, and other important cues are superfluous.
Zoom calls are a much better way to build a connection with the person and iron out any potential issues or miscommunications.
9 – Have a plan for small talk
Extroverts hate small talk, but it is nevertheless a non-negotiable part of effective communication in the workplace.
Develop the mindset that small talk is not an excruciating waste of time but instead a way to build rapport with an important client or extend your professional network. In terms of topic choice, stick to the FORD method (family, occupations, recreation, and dreams).
10 – Be ready for the answer
From time to time, you may receive an answer that is unexpected or different from the one you expected.
Always listen to the other person with an open mind, be cognizant of your non-verbal reaction, and never interrupt.
- Communication is the key to personal and professional success, and in the workplace, there are untold benefits for employees, teams, and organizations.
- Active listening and appropriate body language are two of the most effective ways to improve communication in the workplace.
- Other tips include maintaining eye contact without staring, seeking feedback on one’s communication abilities, and having a plan for inevitable small talk.
Read Next: Communication Cycle, Encoding, Communication Models, Organizational Structure.
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