Say What? 6 Ways to Improve Your Workplace Communication Skills
George Bernard Shaw once said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Lack of communication in the workplace causes problems such as frustration, misunderstandings, poor performance, and employee turnover. Most problems, including work-related problems, can be traced back to a breakdown in communication.
How managers communicate with employees and how employees communicate with each other is a crucial part of a productive work environment. Just like typing, writing, time management, organization, etc., communication is a skill that must be learned and practiced. So, what can you do to improve your communication skills with your manager and coworkers?
Take time to organize your thoughts and make what you want to say as concise as possible. Your manager and your coworkers do not want to sift through a bunch of words to uncover what it is you are really talking about or what it is that you want them to do.
- Be Aware of Your Body Language
Be aware of the message you are giving with your body language. Body language includes facial expressions, posture, eye movement, and your position in relation to the person with whom you are speaking.
Observe how everyone interacts with one another. Every company, or department, has its own workplace culture; their way of doing things. This does not mean that your way is wrong, just observe their way of interacting and then figure out how to bring in your own interpersonal style.
Being put on the spot is always an uncomfortable situation; take your time to consider your response. It is okay to say “Let me think about that and I will get back with you.” Once you have thought out your response, you will be able to communicate more effectively.
A vital part of effective communication is listening. Remember, hearing and listening are two very different things. Too many times, we get caught up in trying to get our point across that we hear what the other person is saying but we don’t listen to what they are saying. Make sure you listen to your manager and coworkers, not just hear them.
Communication doesn’t have to be cold and matter-of-fact. Get to know the people you work with and let them know that you care about them as individuals. Don’t shut yourself in your office or keep your head down at your desk. Make communicating with other employees a part of your daily routine; then when you do have to discuss an important or touchy subject it won’t be as difficult.
Effective communication is essential for a productive work environment. So the next time you communicate with your boss or a coworker, remember to be clear, be concise, be aware of your body language, don’t overreact, listen, and be personal.
What communication issues have you encountered at work? Do you have any additional workplace communication tips? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comment box below.