Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. – Jim Rohn
Communication is the ability to effectively and efficiency convey information to others. Good verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills help facilitate the sharing of information between people.
Workplace communication is essential no matter where you work. The ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and staff is important and individuals who work in the digital age must know how to efficiently convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email, and social media.
If you want to stand out in your workplace environment it’s important to engage in these six communication skills.
1. Active listening is critical to being a good communicator. Begin by paying close attention to what the other person is saying. Ask questions to clarify the message being shared and rephrase what the person says to ensure that you are interpreting their message correctly.
2. Pay attention to nonverbal signals. These signals convey how a person is interpreting your message and how they are really feeling.
3. Use clear, direct messaging. Share your message in as few words as possible whether you’re speaking to someone in person, on the phone, or via email.
4. Be friendly and genuine. Express appreciation to co-workers, reduce cynicism and create a positive work environment by using a friendly tone in face-to-face conversations and through written emails.
5. Be flexible. Open-mindedness begins when people enter a conversation with an open mind. Understanding the other person’s point of view even when you disagree creates honest, productive conversations.
6. Share constructive feedback and sincere praise. This will empower co-workers and lead to increased team productivity. Feedback is an important part of communication.
While effective communication may not change your salary directly, workplace language is extremely important when it comes to building trust and positive relationships with your work team. Here are a few key words and phrases that may be weakening your communication with business colleagues.
Using qualifiers. “I’m not an expert but…” The use of qualifiers sends a message that you lack confidence in your opinion or abilities. You may not even realize that there is a confidence gap when it comes to workplace interactions and conversations.
Saying “I’m sorry.” Apologize only for things that are your fault or for situations which you are truly sorry for. Owning personal actions is important and empowering however, don’t take blame for things that aren’t your fault or are out of your control.
Not acknowledging your effort. Don’t downplay your time, expertise or effort. It’s important to communicate to coworkers the effort it took to complete assignments and projects. When you respond to an email with, “no problem,” when it was a problem or tell a supervisor that a task wasn’t a big deal you discredit yourself by sharing misleading messages. Take credit for your hard work and talents.
Inserting the word “just” in conversations. The word “just” can make you sound apologetic or defensive about the message you’re sharing.
When using the above phrases do so with intention. Don’t allow these words to become subconscious coping mechanisms. Some phrases are overused and may discredit personal contributions, curtail effort and sabotage self-esteem.
It’s important to reflect confidence and warmth in the workplace. Displaying non-aggression, empathy and humility is not a bad approach; it can work to your advantage. Use direct, clear communication and speak in a way that is beneficial for your team. It may require changing your mind set; positive results begin with a positive attitude. When it comes to workplace language it’s important to be intentional with your choice of words, confident in yourself and embrace opportunities to understand what motivates the people around you.