Communication Tips in the Workplace
Are you a good communicator?
At work, at home, in social settings, with friends or colleagues, your ability to communicate defines who you are to those around you. Are you shy, outgoing, a trivia fanatic, a news junkie, a sports enthusiast, the guy who loves to hear the sound of his own voice, or the gal that never seems to get to the point? We all have people in our lives that we can put into these buckets. And we all think we know which bucket people would put us into. But how do you know for sure? Are you a good communicator?
Good communication is not something that you judge; it is something that you aspire to achieve. Here are six communication tips for the workplace to improve your communication skills:
1) Create an environment where people feel comfortable.
Social awkwardness is a reality for everyone; so make an effort, no matter how uncomfortable you are, to help ease the tension around you. This activity will make you feel comfortable too, really, it takes the pressure off of you, makes others feel comfortable, and gives you confidence to move forward with a positive dialog. You can do this by being first to approach others, shaking hands, asking how their day is going, sharing a tasteful personal story, or by making an upbeat and positive joke about yourself. By doing this you are setting the stage for an open and comfortable dialog for all parties. No, you won’t lose face as the room’s clown, you will however, be appreciated as the leader of the group.
2) Listen to what others are saying; not the voice in your head.
You don’t want to be that guy that spends time thinking of what he will say next instead of listing to what is being said now. Nobody will want to hang out with you, or work with you, for that matter. Instead, be curious about others. Try to understand what they are saying. In order to understand them accurately, ask questions related to what they said.
3) Express your thoughts in the form of a response.
When you actively listen to others, you can phrase your comments in reference to the current conversation. Show that you are paying attention to others and they will pay attention to what you have to say too. You would be amazed how interesting a conversation can become when you actually allow dialog to build from one thought to the next.
4) Engage others with YOUR perspective, not THE perspective.
Keep an open mind. You may have a great philosophy, or idea that you want to share, but make sure you communicate it as your opinion, not an absolute fact. If you come across as always being right, others may stop paying attention to you because they don’t feel you are interested in their point of view.
5) Never repeat your point of view in the same conversation.
You want to get your ideas across, but if the other person does not understand or agree, repeating what you just said is not going to convince them. You should always refresh and rephrase your thoughts to present them a different way. Maybe you were not clear the first time, or the second. It is your responsibility to communicate so that you can be understood. If the person you are speaking with does not understand you, that is because you have not figured out the best way to communicate your message…OR…your message is not as good as you think it is.
6) Invite others to add value to your ideas.
Make an effort to include ideas from other people in your conversation and help them communicate it to the group. If you have an idea that you want to discuss, have it be the starting point of the discussion, but anticipate that the topic will evolve. Your role is to facilitate the process of communicating in the workplace and having others adding value to what you started. If you keep this mindset, people will gravitate to you, your ideas and your perspective.
In the end, getting your point across is a two way process that probably requires you to step out of your comfort zone. By making a conscious effort to incorporate these six ways to improve your communication skills in both your work and personal discussions, you will see a marked improvement in your ability to communicate effectively. Remember, this is an ongoing effort…good luck!
Written by Lisa Woods, President Lisa Woods Consulting & Founder of ManagingAmericans.com
Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, and dynamic business leader with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth. Throughout her career, Lisa has been influential in integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and developing employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors.
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