Effective communication is an essential element of a successful workplace. You will probably need to communicate with lots of different people at work including your colleagues, team, customers, and suppliers and you will be using many communication methods including in person, meetings, online video calls, phone calls, email and social media.
How is your communication in the workplace? Here are some communication strategies to consider:
Use the most appropriate form of communication. You may send an email when a meeting would be better or you may send a potential new supplier a text when it would be much more professional to phone them and follow up by email. Consider using the most appropriate form of communication for each interaction.
Give people your time. You may cancel a project meeting because you are busy or you may be answering your emails without reading them properly. Give people your time and all your communication and relationships at work will improve.
Consider the other person's perspective and find common ground. It is very easy to communicate from your own perspective and find that the communication is not going well. Try considering the other person's perspective and be interested in them.
Really listen. You may think you are listening, but you may be continually interrupting, listening for a gap for you to speak, making assumptions about what the other person is saying or in your own world and not listening at all. Try really listening in all your communication and the people who you are communicating with will feel valued and understood and will be more likely to be open with you.
Ask open questions. You may have been trying to make a sale by explaining all about the service you offer without asking the customer what they are looking for and then wondered why they did not buy from you. Try showing a real interest in others and asking open questions (starting with for example How? and What?) to have a more productive communication.
Be clear and concise. You may have struggled to understand what another person is trying to communicate to you because they are rambling and struggling to get their message across or providing lots of irrelevant information. Try and be as clear and concise as possible in your communication so that you will be understood.
Consider your environment. You will have overheard private conversations in an open plan workplace, looked over someone's shoulder and seen their emails or listened to a work phone call in a public place. Spend time considering where the best place to communicate is.
Be polite and respectful. Bad manners, rude and inconsiderate behaviour will negatively impact communication. Be polite and respectful to others. Even small things like saying hello, please and thank you and showing an interest in others can go a long way.
Consider your body language. Other people will pick up on your body language and if it is incongruent with what you are saying they will notice it. Consider your body language and by developing your awareness of the signs and signals of body language, you can more easily understand other people and more effectively communicate with them.
How to find out more?
If you want to explore communication further, you can take one of our communication online courses on Learn Formula and CPD Formula ‘Communication for life’ or ‘Communication for business owners, directors & managers’. We also include communication in our ‘Soft skills for life & work’ course.