Effective communication is the key to success in a professional environment. It not only helps to establish healthy working relationships but can also have a positive impact on productivity and give everyone the chance to reach their potential. But it’s not just about other people – if you’re able to communicate effectively with your colleagues you’re likely to have a better day-to-day experience in the workplace and be able rise faster through the ranks too.
Focus on face-to-face conversations
It’s easy for misunderstandings to arise if you’re only communicating via email or messaging so make time for face-to-face interaction. This kind of communication also builds credibility and trust and will give you more opportunity to understand someone based on non-verbal cues, as well as what they’re actually saying. It’s particularly important in a situation where there is conflict or disagreement.
Give constructive feedback
Especially if you’re in a managerial role being able to give constructive feedback will be crucial to the progress of others. Criticism, blame and shaming don’t work in this context – use positive reinforcement and focus on solutions and next steps.
Be a good listener
If you’re only listening so that you can find a gap in the conversation to speak then you’re not communicating effectively. Listening is an art – when someone is speaking listen fully, turn your body towards them, don’t interrupt, don’t pick up your phone half way through. Ask questions and make sure you’ve completely understood what’s been said to you.
Understand the value of being concise
Complex, lengthy explanations and instructions can be confusing, frustrating and ineffective. Whether you’re communicating verbally or in writing, keep it concise and direct.
Learn how to build trust
It’s always much easier to ensure effective communication if the person you’re communicating with already trusts you. This is something you can build over time through consistent behaviour, acting with integrity and ensuring that your communications are always transparent, short and easy to understand.
Establish some affinity
Getting to know people in the workplace can make it easier to communicate more effectively. For example, spending time together outside work or discussing shared interests may create an affinity that encourages better interactions. It’s important to remember that there is a personal and professional line that shouldn’t be crossed as this may make the other person uncomfortable.
Be observant about communication preferences
Some people will respond quickly to an email but may take hours to respond to a text. Others will be more receptive to a message via social media. It’s often worth looking at the communication preferences your colleagues have and speaking to them via the channels that they prefer if you want to ensure your communication is effective.
Focus on relevance
Communication is at its most effective when you can identify straight away why it is relevant to the person you’re reaching out to. How does it fit with their wants and needs and what are the benefits of engaging and responding for them?
Effective communication is a crucial part of getting ahead in the workplace – without it, career progression can be tough.