When you are at work or in a workplace, how do you meet the needs of others, identify ways in which improvement can be made, or determine how a specific job needs to be done? All of these answers can be achieved with successful communication skills in the workplace.
Communication skills are essential no matter where or who you are. However, successful communication within a workplace can determine whether a business, company, or individual is successful or not. If communication should break down, things such as efficiency, requirements, and morale can easily fail. To stress its importance, we are going to go over some of the most basic communication skills that you should be using in the workplace, how to communicate those skills clearly, and how you can help improve employee communication.
Effective Communication Skills for the Workplace
Listening: Sure it helps to be a great talker, but being a good listener is essential for proper communication. In the workplace, you need to be able to listen to another person’s needs so that you can help them meet their goals and standards. Listening will help you become aware of what others are thinking. If you want to show someone that you are truly listening to their words, consider taking notes or asking them follow up questions to their statements.
Empathy: In the workplace, you are going to be working as a team with other people, so it is important to be open to others’ thoughts and opinion no matter how much you may or may not agree with them. If you are having trouble understanding someone else’s point of view, consider putting yourself in their shoes and see why they might have acted the way they did. Also, asking questions is a good way to improve workplace communication.
Patience: Patience can be tricky, and when you are dealing with other people, it can be easy to feel frustrated or overwhelmed if you cannot seem to get your point across. In the workplace, it is important to practice patience with yourself and with others. For instance, make sure that you are patient with your boss, coworkers, or employees so that you can really hear what other people are saying. Not everyone is going to be able to understand you either right off the bat, so be methodical and take your time when explaining things that need to be done a certain way.
Clarity: When you are dealing with people in the workplace, it is not efficient or polite to beat around the bush or prolong things. No matter if you are talking to your coworkers, a secretary, or your boss, it is important to be direct and to the point with them. If you spend too long getting your point across, they are less likely to listen to you or take your credibility for things down the road. A great way to practice communicating clearly is to practice before hand. For instance, consider making an outline or jotting down some notes that detail the points you hope to get across. Go as far as to create support evidence to and reference the points if you need to. Being clear in the workplace is going to ensure that things get done in a timely manner and in the way that they should.
Positive Attitude: There are going to be some days where you dread going to work – we all have them (and it does not mean you hate your job). The key here is to always keep a positive attitude no matter how tired, angry, bitter, or exhausted you might feel. You should never mix your outside feelings with work, because this can create misunderstandings or conflicts. If you have any problems or issues at work, talk them out with the people who are involved and find ways that you can overcome them. If you suppress and challenges you are facing, they will only grow larger and burden you.
Be Honest and Open: If you are feeling overly pressured at work or experiencing certain challenges concerning your job, it is important to speak with a manager or someone in the human resources department as soon as possible to help you alleviate your problems.
Self-Improvement: It is true that you cannot necessarily communicate self improvement, but the two still go hand in hand. Communication requires time and practice both verbally and in written form. As such, it is helpful to always work on the skills that you need for communication, because they are going to help you improve as a person overall. If you are aware of the essential communication skills needed in the workplace, you can make a conscious effort to listen, practice patience, clarify, and remain positive during your daily work routine.
How to Improve Communication in the Workplace
- Employee Training Programs: Not all employees at a workplace are going to be social and interactive right off bat. A great way to get everyone feeling social and comfortable with communicating amongst each other is to set up some employee training programs. These programs can teach employees how to practice effective communication skills that will help them increase their effectiveness in what they do. For instance, consider: listening skills, encoding, communication fundamentals, and online communication in your training program.
- Model: Sometimes the best type of learning is through example. Modeling good and effective communication skills for new employees can be a useful way to leverage the social learning theory. Especially with small business, owners and managers can have a large impact on their employees if they work alongside with them or communicate face to face on a regular basis. This can help them model their own behavior after the communication style of their bosses or managers. If you are in a large company, pair your newer employees up with older ones who already practice effective communication skills so that they can learn from each other.
- Promote: As mentioned above, if you are a large business owner, it can be helpful to promote certain individuals with strong communication skills into more supervisory positions. This will help you set the bar for newer employees or those who are working on their own communication skills.
- Performance Appraisals: A good way to get your employees excited and invested in sharpening their communication skills is to include communication skills and efficiency in performance reports or appraisals. This is a way to help motivate employees to achieve their goals. If communication seems to be an issue, set goals for employees and give them an incentive to reach those goals by offering rewards or setting up a reward program for employees who are to meet communication goals.
- Team Building Exercises: Team building exercises are fun, and they are not just a way to kill time at summer camp. Team building exercises for workplace employees can help strengthen office dynamics and communication. Have your in-office teams engage in out of the office exercises that force them to work cohesively to strengthen their communication with each other.