Work is something that most of us can’t avoid. Some people hate it and some people love it. Whichever of the two categories you fall into, you will, no doubt, have to communicate with your co-workers at some point in time. Communication with your co-workers and clients is a critical skill, and it may have never been taught to you in school or at home. In this article, I am going to show you how to be awesome at communicating at work.
It seems strange, but the biggest key to workplace communication, and communication in general, is to listen to people. Not just hear them, but to truly pay attention to what they are saying, listen to them, understand what they are saying.
Most of us truly are terrible listeners. We will interrupt a person while they are speaking, think we already know what the person is going to say, or prepare our response before the they are finished speaking. It is impossible to know what someone really means if you never let them complete a sentence.
Watch For Body Language
A person’s body language can tell you almost as much as their words. If you are a manager and are speaking with one of your employees about a project deadline while they are wringing their hands and avoiding eye contact, they are probably very nervous about meeting that deadline.
Only Promise To Do Things If You Can Really Do Them
The workplace is filled with “yes-men”, and it can work to your advantage if you can back it up. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to please everyone all the time. If you are not able to complete a project in the time promised, don’t commit to it. You will lose your credibility, and credibility in the workplace is critical.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Open-ended questions are the key to getting the information you need. They begin with who, what, when, where, why, and how. Yes or no questions are very limiting. Open-ended questions will lead to you not only getting more information right away, but could lead to other questions that you may not have thought of originally.
Consider Communication Preferences
Not everyone likes to communicate in the same way. Some people prefer email, while others may prefer phone calls, texts, or face-to-face communication. Try to use your target audience’s communication preference whenever possible. If you calling someone, but find they respond quicker to emails, switch to email as the primary method of communication.
Keep Your Criticism Constructive
If you are in a position to give criticism, make sure that the person to whom you are giving the criticism understands what you are trying to convey. Do not get too emotional with your criticism and try to use positive reinforcement whenever possible.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
You may become close friends with your co-workers, but make sure that you keep your language and emails on a professional level. Cursing, inappropriate emails and phone calls can make people uncomfortable.
Communication at work is great. It is the key to productivity. But keep the after hours phone calls, emails, and texts to a minimum. Most people don’t have a problem cutting the cord once they leave the office, but with modern technology, it is easy to get sucked into checking your email or messages after hours.
Increasing your workplace communication skills is critical. Whether you are a manager or a regular employee, you will need to effectively communicate on a daily basis.
If you follow these steps, you will be awesome at communicating at work.