Ultimate Guide To Excellent Communication7 mins - Introduction
One of the biggest reasons people leave a job is because they feel like their voice isn’t heard. Day in and day out, they find themselves feeling belittled, insignificant, ultimately lacking the motivation to keep doing their job. They’re expected to do their job, and the only time a manager will talk to them is when something needs to be done, or when there’s a complaint. This leads to many speculative thoughts that become the person’s reality. “The boss doesn’t care about what I do, so why should I?” “The only time they talk to me is when something is wrong, so every time they come around me, I’m nervous and I know that I messed up.” These and many other misconceptions happen and ultimately create a hostile work environment. All of this could have been avoided if steps in creating good communication were taken. This guide will not only break down what communication is in the business world but also why it’s important to have good communication in the workplace.
What is communication?
In a general explanation, communication is the practice of receiving and sending messages through both a nonverbal and verbal method. This includes anything from speaking person to person, sending an email out, reaching someone through social media, sending a text message, or something as subtle as body language. What is your body saying to someone when you enter the room? Communication is all the behaviors, signals, and signs we give and receive between one another.
For clarity, let’s break down the four major ways in which communication happens:
Verbal is the most recognizable and direct fashion of communication in the business world. Prior to today’s technological advances, we had to solely rely on person-to-person interactions; therefore, verbal communication has become an instrumental part of business. It’s not the end-all of communication however as there is the international business world. Communications happen in many different ways.
This method of communication goes back to body language. It’s more indirect. One example of this is when you may find yourself smiling without thinking about it. Something pleasing or pleasureful happens within your vicinity. Maybe you heard some good news, or a stranger just smiled, and it made you smile. Nonverbal communication helps us understand each other’s thoughts and feelings.
This is arguably the most sought-after style of communication in the Technological Age we live in. It’s easy to send a text message, shoot out an email, or to message a message over social media. It’s become the way we communicate with one another in instant ways. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of written communication is that it keeps a record behind. This important for certain situations, such as when someone’s seeking compensation for their services, or if there’s a conflict happening between two different parties. They can also help act as a reference for people who have just started a job. Long-distance jobs rely on this type of communication.
Visual learners will find this form of communication the most helpful. This includes using graphs, charts, sketches, drawings, photographs, and art (to name a few) to transfer information. You’ll see them pop up mostly in presentations and act as a teaching aid to add context to what someone is writing or saying. It also helps to break up the monotony that can come from a dialogue-heavy presentation.
How to develop better communication skills
Understanding communications skills are important for being successful in the business world, but so is learning how to develop these skills. To help aid you in this endeavor, let’s break down the ways in which you can better develop each of these four communication skills.
Speak with confidence: This is especially important when you’re in a leadership position and are presenting information to other people. Speaking with confidence not only makes those around you attentive to what you’re saying, but it makes them believe what you’re saying. It also makes what you’re saying come off as clear and easy to follow. They’ll understand what you’re saying.
Active listening: You want to be as good of a listener as you are a speaker. Listen intently to those around you. Active listening means that you’re engaged with what’s going on and what’s being said. It goes beyond being a passive listener. In some cases, it means engaging the presenter by asking questions that pertain to the subject or expanding on something that was said.
Don’t rely on filler words: One of the most natural things we do when speaking to other people is filling in the void between our thoughts and words with filler words. They come out in the form of “um,” “yeah,” and “so.” They work fine for natural speaking scenarios, but when presenting something in a business setting, many people expect there to be an ironed out, efficient way of presenting oneself, especially when you consider that when you’re taking a certain role in a job, you’re acting as the representative of that business. In some cases, you’re the first impression people have of a particular business.
Listen to your body and notice how emotions affect you physically: Through an eight hour day, it’s only natural that we’ll feel a full spectrum of emotions (energetic in the morning, a dip in the afternoon, anxious during the middle of our shift, relief as we clock out for the day). Take a moment to notice where you feel the emotion in your body. If you’re stressed do you feel it in your lower back? How does your body react to stress? Are you short with people, going so far as to avoid people? Consider that you’re performing every minute you’re a work. This doesn’t mean that you should feel anxious and hyperaware of each step you take, but to take into consideration how you feel as the day goes on.
Be mindful of your nonverbal communication: Mindfulness is a great thing to practice in general but being mindful with your nonverbal communications is especially helpful. If you’re feeling negative emotions, it will be helpful to you to try and communicate positive body language. It can help shift your mood.
Imitate nonverbal communications that are helpful: We all learn from each other. Perhaps one of your coworkers happens to have a certain mannerism to themselves that creates a calm, comfortable aura around them. Why not imitate this? Use these positive body language communications as ways to improve on your own communications. Imitation, after all, is a great form of flattery.
Keep it simple: Have you ever had the misfortune of opening an email that was supposed to explain something you’re supposed to be doing, and it’s just one tall wall of text that takes forever to decipher? This is problematic not only because it’s a pain to deal with, but also can literally cost company money if it’s a particularly important piece of information. This is why you want to keep all written communications short, sweet, and to the point. It saves the reader a headache and allows for better communication.
Don’t worry about tone: Tone is an important component of both nonverbal and verbal communications, but it doesn’t translate well into written communications. The most common example of this is if you’re trying to tell a joke or are being playful with sarcasm. Different audiences receive written communications in different ways. Jokes and sarcasm, in particular, can lead to negative messages received and lead to unnecessary conflicts.
Don’t rush your written communications and take a moment to read over them: There are times we’re pressed for time, but you should always find time to take a moment to read over an email or a text before you hit the send button. Take the following questions into consideration as you do it:
Are you using the best words to convey your message?
Are you saying it in the most concise and informative way?
Are grammar and spelling correct?
For more important or sensitive written communications, you’ll want to ask a trusted colleague to help you out. An extra pair of eyes can help you pick up on things you may have initially not picked up on.
Get feedback on your visuals: If you want to use visual aids in an upcoming presentation, you may want to ask others for some feedback. This is especially helpful if you have coworkers who are visual learners. You want to avoid having a visual that’s too busy or confuses your audience. It’ll also help to have an outsider’s opinion on if visual communications are really needed in your presentation.
Think of your audience: It’s important to consider who is your audience when using things like visual aids. Take for example if you are going to show a pie chart of information that isn’t common knowledge to your coworkers. Be sure that you have allotted yourself time to explain what the visual chart is displaying and what its significance is to the overall presentation.
The business world thrives on communication, whether it’s from coworker to coworker or worker to customer. Good communication is important for keeping a business going. Nowadays, a miscalculated social media tweet can see things like stocks and advertisement negatively in a matter of hours. There have been so many news clips recorded of how an accidental mis-Tweet upset a specific demographic who then spread the news and in turn forced advertisers and those will stock value in a company to react almost instantaneously. Consider what this guide tells you about communication and continue to let your methods of communication evolve.