Human beings are social creatures, and most of us long for close relationships with other people. Relationships require a lot of work and a lot of communication, but it can still be hard to understand what the other person is thinking.
Possibly the most important aspect to a great work relationship is to learn how to communicate effectively with other people; having the right type of effective communication skill will help you in all areas of your life; that could be in your work, with your partner or spouse, with your friends, or anyone that you have to communicate with and have to get a point across to.
An effective communication skill makes it so much easier to be understood and listened to, leaving you feeling much calmer and more appreciated, thus eliminating a lot of tension that people have in their lives.
As an expert working in a communication agency for over a decade, I teach my clients effective communication skills. I will list few of them that will help you in your day-to-day communication.
Being a good listener is one of the best ways to be a good communicator. No one likes communicating with someone who only cares about putting in her two cents, and does not take the time to listen to the other person. If you’re not a good listener, it’s going to be hard to comprehend what you’re being asked to do.
Take the time to practice active listening. A good point to remember is that is impossible to speak and listen at the same time, so you need to make sure there is plenty of time when you are not speaking, so that you can hear what the other person has to say.
Active listening involves paying close attention to what the other person is saying, asking clarifying questions, and rephrasing what the person says to ensure understanding (“So, what you’re saying is…”). Through active listening, you can better understand what the other person is trying to say, and can respond appropriately.
This is an effective communication skill for avoiding and defusing tensions and disputes. If people feel that you respect their point of view and have listened to it, then to the vast majority of people it won’t matter whether they still disagree with you or not: they will be polite about it. There is no need to worry about differences of opinion; these are healthy so long as people remain calm and state their opinion politely.
Respect is a really effective communication tool for allowing you to do that because it emphasises the other person’s right to have a different viewpoint to your own. There doesn’t have to be a right and a wrong in everything.
It is important to be confident in all of your interactions with others. Confidence ensures your co-workers that you believe in and will follow through with what you are saying. Showing confidence can be as simple as making eye contact or using a firm but friendly tone (avoid making statements sound like questions). Of course, be careful not to sound arrogant or aggressive. Be sure you are always listening to and empathising with the other person.
- Body language
It may surprise you that more of your message is conveyed through body language than by verbal communication. Make sure that your body language says that you are open and willing to listen, and watch out for what the other person’s body language is saying to you. Reading body language is a really effective communication skill.
In the workplace, you are going to be working as a team with other people, so it is important to be open to others’ thoughts and opinion no matter how much you may or may not agree with them. If you are having trouble understanding someone else’s point of view, consider putting yourself in their shoes and see why they might have acted the way they did. Also, asking questions is a good way to improve workplace communication.
Being able to appropriately give and receive feedback is an important communication skill. Managers and supervisors should continuously look for ways to provide employees with constructive feedback, be it through email, phone calls, or weekly status updates. Giving feedback involves giving praise as well – something as simple as saying “good job” or “thanks for taking care of that” to an employee can greatly increase motivation.
Similarly, you should be able to accept, and even encourage, feedback from others. Listen to the feedback you are given, ask clarifying questions if you are unsure of the issue, and make efforts to implement the feedback.
Lastly, too many conversations are thrown off course by an over-emotional response. That wrecks effective communication and can be avoided by taking a deep breath, stepping back and thinking before you speak.
One effective communication skill that is often over-looked is the acknowledgment of gender differences in communication. It may sound stereotypical, but men often communicate on a factual level, women on an emotional level. It can lead to misunderstandings.
You can submarine your career and work relationships by the actions you take and the behaviours you exhibit at work. No matter your education, your experience, or your title, if you can’t play well with others, you will never accomplish your work mission. Therefore, I believe if you regularly carry out these six actions, you will play well with others and build effective interpersonal work relationships. Co-workers will value you as a colleague. Bosses will believe that you play on the right team—with them.
You’ll accomplish your work goals, and you may even experience fun, recognition, and personal motivation. And, hey, work can’t get any better than that.