Workplace communication skills are crucial for developing good peer-to-peer relationships at work. Organizations that foster good communication as part of their culture have more motivated and productive employees and a lower turnover rate.
In a recent survey on the most sought after soft-skills in employees, employers rated communication skills at the top.
Good communication skills become even more critical as you move up the hierarchy at an organization. Business leaders need to have excellent workplace communication skills for effective and efficient communication while leading their teams.
Communication skills are also key for entrepreneurs planning to start an online business because they need to communicate with different audiences like investors, clients, and employees.
Let's look at five strategies that would make you a more effective communicator at your workplace.
You can't be a good communicator without being a good listener. Active listening is one of the most crucial aspects of communication. Listening involves comprehending spoken or written communication and the emotions driving the conversation.
Active listening starts with maintaining eye contact with the speaker. It is the first sign that you care about what the speaker is saying. Ensure you give sufficient soft signals to the speaker that show you are interested in what they are saying.
Start by switching off your mobile devices [or at least putting them on silent mode]. Lean forward a bit towards the speaker [but maintain personal space]. A gentle smile is a signal of engagement and acts as an encouragement for the speaker to continue. Ask questions to seek clarification without interrupting the speaker. Let them finish the point they are making before asking your question.
At the end of the conversation, summarize the main points and then voice your opinion. These are some critical steps in developing your active listening skills.
Focus on clarity and brevity in all your communication, both verbal and written. If you take too long to get to the point, the listener will lose interest and tune out.
Simplify what you're trying to say and make it easy for people to comprehend what you're saying. Avoid using acronyms and buzz words. When in doubt, pretend you're talking to someone unfamiliar with your business.
Pro Tip: For both verbal and written communication, outline the points you want to make and rehearse what you're going to say for each topic.
Text messaging is rapidly replacing calls as the primary mode of communication. Mastering the art of communicating by text and email is key to becoming an effective communicator.
Here are some pointers to make your communication clear, effective, and efficient:
If you're communicating by text and have 2-3 points to discuss, don't send a "wall of text" single message. Send one message per point, plus one for the introduction.
Your body language is nonverbal communication. Facial expressions, body movement, posture, and hand gestures reinforce your verbal communication. Nonverbal communication affects your oral communication in three ways:
According to Salesforce's report on interpersonal contact, nonverbal communication accounts for 93% of all communication. Body language is just as important as speaking skills to a professional communicator, and it's a tool you can use to your advantage in your conversation.
When it comes to communication, it's important not to let your feelings get the best of you. Learn to relax when speaking to a person who makes you nervous. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly to relax your body and mind. Ask a question to give yourself some time to gain your composure and keep your feelings in check.
Using pauses can be a robust coping mechanism for remaining calm. While some may assume that taking a break is a drawback, it can help you handle the conversation more effectively.
Good communication skills in the workplace can reinforce your functional skills and make you productive and dependable. Communication skills are essential in building positive team dynamics and building loyal relationships with your peers.