In the workplace today, soft skills are just as important as technical skills. If you can’t communicate with your coworkers, managers, stakeholders, and team, then you can’t succeed. Communication skills are even more critical when employees work remotely because it is easy to miscommunicate and misread tone when you’re not seeing someone face to face. Promoting good communication in the workplace is important from an HR perspective as well. A workplace with effective communication is 50% more likely to have a reduced turnover rate. In any industry and job, knowing how to communicate with others effectively is a valuable skill that will improve your career. Try these tips and tricks to improve communication in the workplace.
Learn to Listen
Communicating well takes two people. With verbal communication, when one is talking, the other must be listening. Listening is a skill that takes practice. How often are you only half-listening to the radio or a TV show, and you miss something important that was said? When you’re having a conversation with someone, especially in the workplace, you need to actively engage in listening. When you’re communicating with someone, limit your distractions. Indeed suggests that if you’re able to see the person’s face, focus on their facial expressions as well as what they’re saying. Watching facial expressions are important; in fact, they lead right into our next tip.
Read Non-Verbal Cues
When you’re communicating with someone in person, or over the video, try to read their non-verbal cues when you can. If they’re playing with their phone, they may be distracted or busy and not listening. Someone that constantly fidgets or touches their face may be feeling anxious about the conversation, and you may be able to put them at ease. Be aware of your own body language when you’re communicating with others. Make eye contact, maintain a relaxed and friendly facial expression, and keep your hands still. These steps will make you appear confident, friendly, and engaged with the other person. Use other non-verbal cues, like nodding in agreement, to reinforce what you’re saying.
Part of communicating effectively understands each other. If you don’t understand what someone has said – ask them questions to clarify. Asking a follow-up question can also demonstrate that you’re actively listening to someone during a conversation or a presentation. You can also reframe and restate what the other person has said to bring clarity to the conversation and reaffirm their ideas. By actively listening, asking questions, and restating ideas, you can reduce miscommunication and reduce conflict.
Use the Right Tools
There are endless apps to keep us all connected throughout the workday. Choose the apps and programs that work best for you and your team. We list several tools that work well for remote teams to keep them connected and bonded. When deciding on connectivity tools, choose a tool that allows for instant communication and tools that allow for long term back-and-forth.
Tailor Your Communication
Tailor your communication to both the recipient and the method of delivery. If you’re writing an email, be concise and direct. For communication that is sent outside of your organization, ensure that you’re writing in your brand voice and adhering to brand guidelines. Change how you communicate based on who you’re communicating with. If you’re presenting to a large group of diverse people, keep your speech and written presentation general and easy to understand. A presentation for stakeholders may require a more technical vocabulary in both written and verbal communication.
You can understand how to best communicate with your team by getting to know them on an individual level. Have your team take our assessment and then view your team together in our Team Room. You’ll see how diverse your team is and gain valuable insight into how to best communicate both individually and as a group.