We have been communicating right from the time we were born. There is very little effort needed to express our message while communicating to people with whom we are most comfortable. At the most, a small misunderstanding or an argument can result due to miscommunication at home or in social settings. And so, we may wonder, “What is the big fuss about work place communication?” and “what is the need for Communication Training?” The simple answer to that question is – “The stakes are far too high!” Poor communication can impact productivity and morale of employees and even have legal implications. So here are a few tips that can help you improve your communication skills and help you communicate effectively at your workplace:
- Conceptualizing your Message with Clarity: Every time you have to communicate to a stakeholder or your colleagues, ask yourself if you are clear about the message you want to communicate. Remember, your message does not involve just words, it includes feelings and emotions surrounding the situation about which you are communicating. Proactively choose the emotion you want to convey through your message.
- Understand the Other’s Paradigm: The objective of effective communication, especially in a workplace, is to ensure that the receiver perceives the message the way you intend. So, if the onus is on the communicator, then it is imperative that the communicator understands the receiver’s world. The more you understand their paradigm, the easier it is to communicate the message in a fashion they understand.
- Recognize Barriers to Communication: In today’s globalized work scenario, there is a mélange of barriers that impedes effective communication. Top most on this list, is the cultural barrier. It is impossible to understand another’s culture totally but you can strive to understand the receiver’s world. Understand how your communication needs to be altered to get the desired result.
- Communication is a Partnership: Establishing trust and rapport positively impacts the effectiveness of communication as it permits the communicators to be relaxed and comfortable. While communicating observe closely the other person’s body language and mirror it by altering your own. When you are the listener, encourage the speaker with positive body language that expresses interest.
- Communicate Clearly, Concisely and Coherently: Avoid ambiguous words and phrases and ensure clear diction, enunciation and inflection. It is important to keep the message short, and simple. Resist the temptation to say or write more. Information overload is a sure recipe for miscommunication and confusion. Stick to the central theme of your message.
- Appropriate use of Tone and Body Language: Be sure your facial expressions, gestures and other non-verbal cues suggest the appropriate emotion that you want to convey. The most important aspect of the non-verbal cue is your tone of voice. Be aware of the pitch and rate of speech that can determine the emotions you convey through your voice. In written communication, choice of words determines the tone of the message. Be sensitive to how the reader may perceive your message.
- Conviction & Passion Persuades: Messages that require people to take action, especially when it is against what the listener believes in, are fuelled by the conviction and passion with which your message is communicated. Here, usage of appropriate metaphors can, not just add beauty to your speech but also be persuasive.
- Eliciting Feedback: Ensure your communication includes requests for feedback. Inquire to find out if you were able to get your message across authentically. Here, the objective of feedback is primarily to check their understanding of your message. If they did not understand you, you can alter your communication to establish complete comprehension.
- Effective Listening: Listening plays a more significant role in communication than spoken communication. Always listen with an open mind. You do not have to agree to what is being said but it is imperative to understand it. Understanding the message clearly helps you to make better decisions on whether to agree or disagree to the message. Active listening includes questioning, paraphrasing and summarizing the message. While listening to messages with high emotional content, practice reflective listening. This enhances the relationship as you display empathy when using reflective listening.
- Reflecting on the Feedback: Your success in business communication hinges on the whole-hearted attempts you make on establishing win-win outcomes. This is only possible when you reflect on the feedback you receive from the other person. Do not allow critical feedback and criticisms, which are just part and parcel of any working environment, to affect you negatively. Always look at the bigger picture. If you have to convey a critical feedback, ensure it addresses the issue and the person.
Regardless of how good your communication is, following these tips will surely enhance your ability to establish long-term and productive professional relationships at your workplace. Improve your communication effectiveness through appropriate communication skills training and reap the benefits for a life-time.