We communicate on a daily bases. Our lives are a web of shared information and the knots become thicker with each passing week. But do we tend enough to the strength of these threads? While your personal life is something, well, personal, perhaps we can help you improve your communication skills in the workplace. So you won’t put a wall where you need to build bridges.
Have it in writing
Unless your company is located on five floors, you probably sit close enough to most of your colleagues. In such circumstances, it is logical when the needed person is located at the nearby desk to just attract his attention and address your request. And there is nothing wrong with that. But let’s not forget that everyone has a job to do. However small it may be, sometimes an additional task gets lost in the flow. Always send an email that clearly and accurately describes the request/application/information you want to deliver. At worst, it’ll serve you as a guarantee if the chain of communication breaks somewhere along the way.
This task may prove equally difficult for both office employees and remote workers. Effective teams are often compared to a machine, but if the parts of a mechanism are set too far apart, there would be no traction between them. Organize weekly meetings to keep you on the same page. Let everyone tell about the progress they made in the past week and what their plans for the upcoming one are. This will help you monitor your work and be ahead of the deadlines. Regular meetings are also crucial to the employees’ loyalty. It’s hard to be professionally involved with someone you only see as a series of emails in your computer.
Read the body language
Contrary to popular belief, people are not maps that need deciphering. It would be more accurate to compare them with pictures – some people like them, others don’t, but in either case you need to read it properly in order for your opinion to carry any weight. Learn to be observant during conversations. Has the other person wrapped his arms around himself? Speak in a softer tone. Is he leaning at you from across the table? Cheer him with a smile. Body language can tell you when you need to change your approach in order to get the most out of every communication.
Give measured feedback
It has become a trend to give feedback. But it is important to always strive to keep good manners in check. When you want to point out to someone that he has not fulfilled his task, start with a praise for a job well done on another project (if such is nowhere to be found, that takes us to a completely different kind of conversation). Show him that failures are not the only thing on your focus. Don’t just point out his mistakes – offer a solution. Engage with the problem so that he sees you as an ally, not a judge. But the most important thing is to know when your words would lead to improvement of a process. Remember – feedback is means to an end, not one by itself.
Seek communication outside working hours
Do not become a stranger the moment you step out of the office. We understand that you spend eight hours a day with your colleagues and you long for a bit of private time. One we do not require you to sacrifice in the name of the team. Instead, try to combine professional and personal contacts where possible. You have stumbled upon an interesting concert which will be held next week? Forward it to your colleagues. You want to go for a beer but your friends are busy? Invite people from your department. It’ll be refreshing to get to know them in a situation where you don’t count the minutes until lunch break.
To communicate better with others is a skill with numerous applications. Moreover, it is directly related to the human factor’s quality that provides ground for every successful business.