The way you communicate can make or break your career. When you communicate well, you work better with your colleagues, have less misunderstandings, and even have better workplace relationships. The projects and meetings you work on will be more successful. Since it’s such an important part of the workplace, it’s essential to constantly work on improving your communication. Try implementing these eight techniques.
Everyone has had the experience of talking to someone and then realizing the person you’re communicating with isn’t listening. It’s frustrating because it wastes your time and energy. When you truly listen, you understand better what your boss, client, coworker, or customer wants and needs. Most of us have the tendency to interrupt, or listen only with the intention of deciding what to say next. Instead, try to listen and understand what the other person is saying.
Want to know how to get better at communicating? Ask for feedback. When you get honest feedback from your coworkers or boss, use it to improve your communication. Others can help you pick up on things you’re doing or not doing, and improve. When asked to give feedback to a colleague, keep it constructive.
Everyone has their own preferred way to communicate with others. Maybe you have a coworker who won’t answer your emails. Try stopping by their desk for a chat after lunch. Others might prefer a text or a phone call to chatting in person. Consider preferences and don’t be afraid to switch from your preferred style of communication to accommodate someone else.
When you communicate, it’s not just your mouth that’s doing the talking. The people around you draw cues from the way you move your body during communication. When presenting, or even during a team meeting, stand tall (don’t slouch), move around your space when applicable, maintain appropriate eye contact, and avoid folding your arms.
Even if you’re good at presenting in an engaging and thoughtful way, your audience will grow tired of listening. Improve learning and participation by involving your group in a discussion. Ask questions and allow your audience to answer.
In the modern workplace written communication is essential. From emails to tweets, you’re probably writing things down constantly. Before you hit send, double check your grammar, spelling, and tone. Nothing makes your work look more unprofessional than obvious mistakes in your writing.
In your personal life, colorful stories and language won’t usually affect your success. But, being too casual in your work communication makes you look unprofessional and can even make your coworkers uncomfortable.
If you think your audience understands everything you share, you might be wrong. One study found that presenters overestimate by double how much their audience members are understanding. When presenting new ideas, over-communicate in order to really drive home your point.
You can get better at communicating in your workplace. As you practice, you’ll improve and your work will improve.