We've listed some of the most important communication skills in the workplace, in bite-size chunks!
These skills will go a long way to helping you build successful relationships with your colleagues, gain trust and to perform above and beyond your work objectives:
We are more likely to do things for people that we like and respect. Being friendly with people will naturally gain colleague trust and respect and ensure more positive relationships.
Effective communicators take the time to show an interest in their colleagues and to initiate conversations. 'Oiling' their relationships and networks is a great communication skills which ensures they are able to draw on the good will of others within the workplace. The trust they have built through being friendly ensures they are more likely to have people who are willing to collaborate, help or support them when needed.
If you work in a large work environment, then even a simple greeting and smile every day goes a long way to positioning you as someone who is open and friendly.
One of the biggest barriers to effective communication is the failure to listen and empathise. In a world of diverse personalities, characters and opinions, it’s essential to take a step back and avoid the belief that ‘our way’ is the ‘right way’.
Individuals with strong communication skills take the time to actively listen to what their colleagues are saying. Those with the most effective communication skills are likely, in any dialogue, to speak only 20% of the time. By giving their colleagues more speaking space, they create a fantastic opportunity to fully appreciate what is being said - without pushing their opinions, interrupting or short circuiting their colleague. This ensures that they leave the dialogue with a more detailed understanding, which in turn, enables better decision making and promotes know how.
Dedicate yourself to listening as much as possible as this will position you as someone who is genuinely interested and invested in supporting others, respectful of others’ opinions and willing to accommodate or compromise where necessary.
Avoid being the person who talks over colleagues, anticipates and finishes their sentences or pushes opinions without understanding the full picture or being willing to compromise.
When delivering messages, or, requesting information, individuals with strong communication skills communicate their message clearly and concisely. They think carefully about their message before crafting it, keep to the point and articulate it in such a way that the recipient is clear about what is needed.
Adding unnecessary information, waffling, or producing dubious messages only serves to confuse or to detract from the core message. A poorly crafted message also makes it less likely that needs will be met – meaning wasted time, energies and irritation along the way!
The same message can differ incredibly depending on tone and emphasis. Take for example the simple statement ‘I took the dog for a walk’. Depending on where the emphasis is placed, the meaning of this statement changes. For example ‘I took the dog for a walk’, suggests that some concern has been raised in respect to who took the dog for a walk. ‘I took the dog for a walk’, suggests that clarity was needed over which animal was taken for a walk – and so on!
A good communicator is skilled at moderating tone, intonation and emphasis to deliver their message in the best way. If they are endeavouring to engage people when delivering a presentation, for example, they may well vary their pitch and tone when speaking to drive greater interest in what is being said.
When speaking, be aware of the way in which you speak. Avoid monotone and consider the way in which your voice may be perceived. Consider the use of vocal diversity to engage people and retain interest. Avoid using a high pitched voice as high tones are suggestive of nerves or discomfort - something that an effective communicator will moderate.
Good communicators maximise what they need within the workplace by understanding the way conversation flows.
Typically they may gather more information and drive their understanding by asking lots of open questions and focusing on ‘what if’ type probes. By doing this, not only do they demonstrate an interest in what their colleague has to say (which also builds rapport and trust), but they also maximise their understanding and get the most benefit from their conversation.
When speaking to colleagues, try to focus on open questions where possible and use other techniques such as the use of 'what ifs' to inject greater flow into your conversations.
Whether you're in Yeovil, Bridport, Crewkerne, Bournemouth, Poole or Bath, our qualified Communication Skills trainers have the skills and expertise to deliver impactful training courses to you and your colleagues. We deliver our courses across Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
Contact us for more details.