Communication is essential in the workplace and bad comms with your colleagues can cause problems. In fact, according to a study by The Economist, 44% of respondents said communication was a barrier that led to a delay or failure in completing a project, with varying methods to send and receive information being an underlying factor. In another study, 63.5% of respondents said they expect a response to an email or Instant Message (IM) within the hour, and 34.5% said within a few minutes.
In this blog post, we share three tips that’ll improve your communication skills and tell you exactly why they’ll help.
# 1 – It’s not what you say but how you say it
Ever said something and felt like you weren’t heard properly? As your reading this sentence, you’re probably already thinking of the scenarios where you felt ignored in a meeting, or as though no one was paying attention to what you said from across your desk. You might have wondered; did you say something wrong?
According to career coach Hallie Crawford “How well you communicate impacts efficiency, effectiveness, trust between employees, your brand, and how you come across as a professional.”
Body language and tone of voice are key elements that influence how others listen and respond to you. So, it’s not just about the words you’re using, in fact, during face to discussions, it depends on:
- 55% body language- this includes posture, gestures, facial expressions
- 38% tone of voice so things like speed, volume, projection
- 7% words – the actual language you use
So, next time you talk with a colleague, but feel they’re not paying attention, think about the message your body and voice are conveying. Try these tips to help your colleagues focus on what you’re saying:
- Uncross your arms and legs, smile and keep your posture open when facing your co-workers or the person you’re speaking to
- Use silence as a means for emphasis and speak at a rate that allows others to easily understand you
- Always listen attentively to what they’re saying, and respond with their name if required
# 2 Listen, listen, and listen!
Listening is a precious gift, but it’s not many of us can say we’re gifted with! However, it’s an essential skill required in the workplace, and possibly the most difficult to master.
If you manage to listen better and take on board what your co-workers are saying, it’ll help build mutual trust and respect, and make you a better team player.
Here’s how you can be a better listener:
- Take notes
- Evaluate what has been said
- Listen for things that haven’t been mentioned
- Concentrate and pay attention to what the other person is saying
Summarise what you heard
By implementing these tactics during conversations, you’ll benefit from being able to listen and relay messages correctly, and it’ll improve your long-term listening skills. Check out the below video to see what listening skills you can learn, that can also be applied outside of the workplace.
# 3 Be frugal with your words
Did you know the average employee spends around two and a half hours a day sending and replying to emails? That’s a lot of time spent typing and not an efficient way to spend your day. Especially when you have a deadline to meet or report to complete.
However, email is one of the most important communication mediums we all rely on to communicate with those inside and outside of our organisation. An ideal way to reduce the time spent writing emails, is to reduce the number of words your writing!
Next time you send a message to a colleague, consider if you need to send the email in the first place.
For example, most offices use IM software such as Microsoft Teams, Skye for Business, and lots more across the organisation. So, if your employer is using IM, you could send a quick message, rather than typing a long email, or just have a face to face discussion.
If your matter requires an email, try concise language, avoiding jargon, to get your message across in a succinct manner. Being frugal with your words will help you save time and communicate better.
Check out our 10 tips for writing emails where you’ll find lots of pointers on how to write better emails.
If you’ve got some tips that have helped you communicate better, do share them with us via @WaxDigital on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!