Five Vital Communication Skills in the Workplace
Listening is as important as the words you bring to your conversations. Good listening enables us to demonstrate that we are paying attention to the other person, we are able to see the world through their eyes. This is critical to maintaining productive relationships in the workplace. Sometimes people come into conversations only thinking about their personal contributions; i.e. their words. Consequently, the other part or the conversation gets lost. Often times, it is more important what you hear, learn and understand than what you say.
Active listening requires paying attention to what the other person is saying, asking questions related to the topic, making sure you understood what the other person says. Often times you will find your responses more appropriate if you take the time to carefully listen and pay attention to the conversation.
2. Nonverbal Communication
You are probably familiar with the phrase; “It is not what you said but how you said it”. Facial expressions, body language, eye contact, hand gestures and voice tone, all have an effect on how your message will be received and it could be a positive or a negative impact.
Nonverbal Communication is critical in the workplace and can put people at ease and build trust, or they can offend, confuse, and undermine what you're trying to convey. A relaxed, open stance and a friendly tone will make you appear more approachable and help people feel more comfortable speaking candidly with you.
Friendliness is important in any type of communication, face-to-face, written or electronic. Through a friendly tone, a smile or a nice gesture, your coworkers will feel more comfortable speaking to you openly, and honestly. People want to be seen as individuals and when you communicate that you will earn their attention and respect. Personalized emails are a great way to practice; a “Have a great weekend!” at the end of your email, can go a long way.
Let's face it, you won't always see eye to eye with everyone at work. Handling a disagreement can be difficult or easy depending on how everyone reacts. Fortunately, you can only control your own behavior. First of all, try to put yourself in the other person's shoes. It’s vital to understand and respect their point of view. Use phrases like ‘I understand what you are saying’ to help them understand that you’re listening and you respect their opinions. If your coworkers or employees understand that you empathize with their problems, they will more gladly work with you on a resolution of the disagreement.
In a respectful work environment, there is less stress, conflict, and problems. People will be more comfortable communicating with you if you convey your respect for them and their ideas. Showing respect for your coworkers will determine also the respect they show to you. Using a person’s name, making eye contact, and actively listening to a person while they speak, makes them feel appreciated. If you’re on the phone with this person, avoid distractions – stay off Social media, try and get to a quiet area, and stay focused on the conversation. Convey respect via email by editing your message for grammatical and spelling errors.
The bottom line is this; good communication is essential, and not only in the workplace, but in life. It facilitates relationships with others, increases work performance and guarantees a more pleasant work environment with better results. Practice these basic tips and you will notice positive changes not only at work but also in your daily life.