Communicating well can improve your relationships and reduce confusion. Learning how to be a better communicator is a soft skill that’s important for everyone to master. There are several ways to become better at connecting with others.
How to Communicate Better at Work
Having good communication skills at work can lead to career success. Luckily, communication at work is a skill that can get better with practice. It can also build your own confidence and help fight imposter syndrome, which can leave you feeling as if you don’t belong at your job. Good communication means thinking about the messages you’re giving to others. It also requires understanding the messages you receive. Good communications become more important as you move through your career. That’s because the best leaders are also strong communicators.
It’s important people understand what you’re saying. That applies in one-on-one conversations, in small group meetings, or in larger presentations. One way to improve your verbal communication skills is to take some time to think before you speak. Even pausing for a few seconds can help make sure that you’re explaining the ideas that you want to get across.
If you’re speaking as part of a presentation, practice as much as you can ahead of time. One way to find areas of improvement is to record and listen to yourself speak.
Being able to understand what others say to you at work is as critical as making sure that they understand you. Everyone at work needs strong listening skills. That includes entry-level workers following directions from their bosses. It also includes workers who want to improve their leadership capabilities.
To improve your listening skills, turn off any electronic distractions during conversations. Think about what others are saying, and wait until they’re finished speaking. Then ask questions, as necessary.
Your words aren’t the only way that you communicate with coworkers. Non-verbal cues also send messages that shape the way that others perceive you. Fidgeting in a meeting, for example, could make you seem impatient or are nervous. Slouching could give the impression that you’re not interested.
You can also improve your body language using a strategy known as “mirroring.” In this approach, you’re mirroring the body language of others. If they’re sitting cross-legged and talking with their hands, you do the same. This can reinforce a feeling of connection.
Whether you’re communicating verbally or nonverbally, you want to be approachable. That’s key to building meaningful connections with them. This starts with simple body language cues, such as making eye contact and smiling at others. Ask others how they’re doing — and listen to their answers so that you can ask follow-up questions. Friendliness is also about your attitude toward others.
Work on approaching all conversations — even those that may involve conflict — with a positive attitude. Take time to start up conversations with those you don’t know well, including folks in different departments or who might be new to your team.
As more workers are multi-tasking in the office (and in their personal lives), our attention span has gotten shorter. That means that you need to communicate your message as succinctly and efficiently as possible, whether you’re doing so orally or in writing.
Boil it down to a few key points and use simple language to get the message across concisely. If you’re writing an email, consider using bullet points or bolding portions of text to draw a skimmer’s eye to the most important information.
Being respectful of others at work is a basic tenet of professionalism and can inspire others to treat you in the same manner. Behave kindly to everyone and be polite when asking for something from others.
Keep in mind that other people at work may have a different point of view than yours, and try to value those opinions and understand where your coworkers are coming from, even if you don’t agree with them.
Why Is Good Communication Important?
In today’s multigenerational workplace, strong communication skills are more important than ever. Effectively communicating with others can lead to a better working environment and improve teamwork between diverse workers, no matter what industry you’re in. Poor communication can have real business consequences as well. One study found that large companies lost an average of $62 million per year due to inadequate communication between employees. Since good communication skills create stronger relationships, they can have benefits outside of work as well. Building interpersonal skills is also better for mental health since they can lead to fewer misunderstandings and allow you to resolve conflicts more easily.
Even if you’re a diligent worker, if you can’t clearly communicate your idea to others, you may have trouble moving forward in your career. It can also have a negative impact on your personal life. While it might not happen overnight, improved communication skills can expand your job prospects and make you a more productive and well-liked member of your team.
Share your favorite tricks for improving communication skills in the comments below.